This archive has essays from the original Real Live Preacher blog, which is no longer online. The dates you see are not correct. These were all written between December 2002 and sometime in the summer of 2010. When I left the ministry in 2020, and later fell even farther away from churchy things, I simply didn’t have the voice of Real Live Preacher anymore. I killed that voice when I left that world.

I am flattered to find that on occasion someone remembers something I wrote and would like to read it again. Click here to submit a request for me to bring back one of the RLP essays or stories. Over time this will become a nice archive of the original material.

Gordon

The preacher is tired tonight

December 2002 I get up way before daylight and head for church. I open up the joint. I putter around and straighten hymnals. I make ready. I preach the sermon 3 or 4 times. I talk to myself. I talk to God out loud. I light candles and pray. Sometimes I throw a nerf football…

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Just to Sit and Cry and Not be Bothered

Things are pretty quiet in the mountain town of Creede, Colorado. You will not find fast food or fast living there. If you want someone to package your entertainment and provide it with instructions, you should probably go elsewhere. Nothing is franchised in Creede, not the stores or even the churches. It’s the mountain way.…

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Superball Spirituality

Things have been unpredictable around here. Charlie died, as you know. My friend Tom called to tell me his life is falling apart, and I found a Superball at church. It has a chunk gouged out of it so it bounces funny. They do say these things come in threes. Perhaps I should explain about…

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The Coin and the Question

Saul was dressed in an expensive, imported robe. He was obviously a wealthy man. His hair gleamed and was heavy with Persian oil. His beard was trimmed short in a manner that was trendy among local Romans. He wore expensive jewelry, including a number of rings. One of them bore the mark of King Herod…

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Where is the man?

A Real Live Preacher Dramatized Version of the story from John’s gospel commonly known as “The Woman Caught in Adultery.” It’s been many years since I wrote one of these. Let me take a moment to explain them. I took the original text, then grappled with interpretive issues. I would create a dramatic account that…

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Talk to the hand

People like the idea of getting to the bottom of things. It suits our human desire for stability. We don’t like floundering in high water or high ideals without some purchase we can feel with our feet or hands or minds. Worldviews and paintings should be hung on strong nails sunk deep into the meat…

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How to find a church

I keep getting emails from people who say, “Your church sounds nice. I wish I could find one like that.” Let me guess. You’re looking for a cool church, filled with authentic Christians who aren’t judgmental, but also have convictions, and are hip and classic in just the right mixture. A church where people forgive…

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Even the rich woman

A Dramatized Version of a Bible Story No one hated rich people more than Judas. Seriously, he hated them. Judas said the problems our people were having could be traced back to all sorts of abuses by the establishment and the powerful people who were in charge of things. He hated the professional priests and…

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Forget the Angles

I have a preacher friend who lives in an old farmhouse that he is restoring himself. He’s one of those “do everything” guys. Gardening, carpentry, repair work, he does it all. Robert is not a bullshit, pantywaist, white-collar preacher with soft theology and a degree in marketing. His faith and knowledge are deep and wide.…

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James, John, & Crazy Joe

It happened in one of those quiet moments when nothing much was going on. Peter whistled while he mended a net. Bartholomew picked at his sandal. The other guys were talking in small groups. Jesus was sitting apart, looking north up the Jordan River. He was wondering about the man who used to live in…

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The richest man in town

Delivered as a sermon at Sage Chapel, Cornell University, April 9th, 2006 Jesus of Nazareth was in town, and the word spread quickly. Whispers moved through the marketplace and were carried on the winds of gossip and rumor. The exciting young rabbi from Galilee was in Judea, and not only in Judea but in their…

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Crocodile Hunter

When I first came to know Jonah and Robert, I was very eager to please. They were my first real wheelchair friends. When I was with them my personality took on a quality not unlike that of the Crocodile Hunter on TV. Every request was met with a boisterous “Absolutely.” I hovered over them with…

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The Smallest Person in All the World

This story originally appeared at RealLivePreacher.com in two parts. Part One: The Rabbi, the Woman, and the Cities The Rabbi (Twenty Years Before) Jesus, son of Joseph, what would you do if you met the smallest person in the world? The smallest, Rabbi? Yes, the person who matters the least. The person with absolutely no…

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