The Rev. Gordon Atkinson had few specific goals when he started planning his 13-week sabbatical from his duties at Covenant Baptist Church near San Antonio.
“I knew that I didn’t want to be in charge of anything,” said Atkinson, long known as the “Real, Live, Preacher” to those who read his intensely personal online journal (reallivepreacher.com).
“Preachers talk and talk and I wanted to get away from that. I didn’t want to be a worship tourist, but I thought it would be refreshing to worship in some places where I was the person in the room who knew the least about what was going on.”
It helps to know that Atkinson leads an unusual Baptist flock, a “contemplative Christian community” that holds spiritual retreats based on the writings of St. Francis of Assisi and men’s fellowship meetings over beer and pizza. Covenant’s belief statement stresses that the “fullness of the gospel cannot be contained in any one church.”
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