Gordon Atkinson is the pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, a liturgical Baptist community in San Antonio, Texas. He is also the no-longer-anonymous writer of Real Live Preacher, the "Mr. Rogers of the blogging neighborhood," he says. His honesty and fresh perspective attracted thousands of readers. Real Live Preacher has received more than 800,000 visits in the two years of its existence, and is almost always among the top ten most-popular blogs hosted by Salon.com. A real, live preacher with an M. Div., Atkinson is also a web designer, and author of RealLivePreacher.com, published by Eerdmans. Being nearly as internet savvy as Atkinson, we "spoke" with him over instant messenging software about blogging, corresponding with readers, and lessons learned in the "virtual" world.
How did you get started blogging?
In the fall of 2002, I discovered weblogs and was very excited about the idea that I could write without worrying about how people would receive my words. I think considering the full impact of everything you write and say is very tiring for pastors. I launched Real Live Preacher with only a month or two of experience in reading blogs. I started Real Live Preacher not as a ministry or an attempt to do anything other than write, and write as honestly as I could.
Does blogging have any spiritual aspects for you?
Everything is spiritual for me. I wasn't expecting to find that I could have such love for people who stand outside the church. If I had to guess what Real Live Preacher means to the people who read my writing, I would say that many of them long for a spiritual connection, perhaps with the church, but are so outside the Christian subculture that they cannot get connected. For them, I am such a connection. For me, the ...1
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