Skip to content
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.

April 11, 2022

Of Conscience and Consciousness

Self-examination and confession do not call us to self-hatred or self-condemnation; they open the door of our heart to cleansing, renewal, and peace.

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.

April 11, 2022

Spiritual Delicacy

My intention is not to offer blueprints, to prescribe new rules – except one: Prayer must have life. It must not be a drudgery, something done in a rut, something to get over with. It must not be fiction, it must not be flattened to a ceremony, to an act of mere respect for tradition.

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.

April 11, 2022

Collective Trauma

When we talk about collective wounds today, we no longer refer to single or sequential catastrophic or geographic events that wound a community (i.e., slavery, genocide, etc.). To be wounded, we don’t have to be located in the same place at the same time. We can view crises on social media or television at different times and locations, and people of different ethnicities can still experience the collective trauma and wounding of people trapped in racist systems.

– Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village