My name is Gordon Atkinson. Until February of 2010 I was the pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio, which is where I was when this picture was taken. I have resigned from that position after 17 years so that I can give more of myself to writing. Unfortunately, writing doesn’t pay the bills. I also design and manage Drupal websites for Jethro Management, a company in Australia.
I started Real Live Preacher as an anonymous blog back in December of 2002. My only goal was to write honestly and well. I try to stay focused on those two simple goals, though I dropped the anonymity in 2004. I've written hundreds of essays since I began, but without a doubt, "The Preacher's Story" is the one thing that continues to get the biggest reaction. I'm a little embarrassed by that because I wrote it quickly, and I think it's a bit rough. I spun it out in four evenings back when I first started and before I was taking my writing as seriously as I do now.
But that's the one that people like. That and the raccoon stories, another collection I wrote with almost no effort. Go figure.
So who is Real Live Preacher? Well I am rlp, in a way. That is to say, I've tried to write honestly about myself. Still, when you choose what to reveal about yourself, you necessarily choose what not to reveal, so Real Live Preacher will never be more than a caricature of me.
Sometimes I think Real Live Preacher is who I would be if I was more courageous. Sometimes I think he is the person I am slowly becoming. Who knows?
In October of 2004, Eerdmans published a collection of my essays in a book called, appropriately, "RealLivePreacher.com." Having a book published was wonderful, a lot of work, and no big deal. Somehow it was all of those. Still, there it is, a record of my first 18 months writing in this forum.
In 2009 I published Turtles All the Way Down, another collection of essays. This one was published by Consafo, a publisher that uses a new paradigm for publishing, based on social media community cooperation.
I'm honored to write regularly for The Christian Century, The High Calling, and occasionally for The Wittenburg Door, which is a thrill for me since I've been a fan of that magazine since the early 80s.