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The inspiring leaders highlighted here share an engaged contemplative lifestyle, and each with a unique twist on the faith filled mystic tradition. While they uphold mysticism, all are involved in the issues of the world and their faith communities. They believe in the power of prayer and inspire many.
By sharing these messages, my hope is that you, too, are inspired.
-Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr.


Marjorie J. Thompson is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church USA. She received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Swarthmore College, and her Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary. Following a post-graduate pastoral internship, she became a Research Fellow at Yale Divinity School where she studied Christian spirituality with Henri Nouwen and did independent research in ecumenical traditions of prayer.

Marjorie has served as adjunct faculty for several seminaries, including McCormick, Auburn, Wesley, and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has taught in The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation, and directed the foundational program for Stillpoint.

In 1996, Marjorie joined The Upper Room as Director of the Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership, now called Pathways for Congregational Spirituality, and has served as chief architect of Companions in Christ.

June 6, 2022

Points of Departure

When we realize that grace lies at the center of life, we start to see in a new way. Turning to face God instead of self is the beginning of Good News, the beginning of personal and relational transformation. Scripture calls this turning “repentance.” Facing toward God’s tenaciously faithful love frees us to start being real. In the light of God’s grace and mercy, we find the courage to look honestly at who we are.

Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life


Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), a descendant of two important Hasidic dynasties, was born in Warsaw, educated in Poland, taught in Germany, London and United States, and was considered by many to be a prophet’s prophet. He aimed, through his writing and teaching, to challenge modern people to be open to a renewed spiritual dimension and to engage the issues of the day with faith and moral fortitude. His timely writings liberated many and inspired a generation of faith and social leaders whose impact is felt today in the 21st century. His active role in the historic civil rights movement and peace movement of the 20th century created a unique and vital coalition for transformative social change agents.

June 6, 2022

An Ontological Necessity

The problem is not how to revitalize prayer; the problem is how to revitalize ourselves. Let us begin to cultivate these thoughts and virtues without which our worship becomes, of necessity, a prayer for the dead – for ideas which are dead to our hearts.

Quest for God: Studies in Prayer and Symbolism


Barbara A. Holmes is a spiritual teacher, activist and scholar who stresses African American spirituality, mysticism, cosmology and culture. She has served as President Emerita of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and served as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Memphis Theological Seminary. Prior to accepting the call to the ministry, she worked as an early childhood educator, a professional actor, and a corporate lawyer in Georgia, Florida and Texas. A gifted and profound speaker and lecturer, she says, “My life is committed to the struggle for justice, the healing of the human spirit, and the art of relevant radical creativity.

June 6, 2022

Collective Trauma

Where do you turn when everything that you know and rely upon is shattered or withdrawn? What do you do when there is no reasonable hope of human help because everyone in your community is in the same situation, while others, who are not being subjected to harm, are looking the other way? This is the testimony of those subject to racial wounding in their everyday lives.

– Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village