Rev. Robert Thompson
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Bob Thompson graduated from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Graduate Theological Union) and was ordained an American Baptist minister in 1973. He served American Baptist Churches in Kansas, Ohio, and for 30 years, as Senior Minister of the Lake Street Church in Evanston, Illinois. He retired in November of 2010. He is an author, teacher and inspirational leader. He is married to Judy Langford.
During the 1980’s Thompson became an activist pastor focusing on issues such as homelessness, racial reconciliation and advocacy for LGBT rights. In the 1990’s he became disillusioned with the spiritual constraints of mainline American Protestantism and embarked on an exploration of several Eastern spiritual traditions and the Christian mystics. While continuing his spiritually promiscuous ways, he remains loyal to a quote by Thomas Merton, “There is in all things…a hidden wholeness”. Merton’s vision, also reflected in the “garment of mutuality” as expressed by Martin Luther King Jr., prompted Thompson to understand his activism in a new light—not an expression of religious ideology but rather a manifestation of unity consciousness. This vision led him to embark on a course of interfaith engagement while serving the Lake Street Church. From 1999-2004 he assumed the role of Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
He is recognized as Minister Emeritus of the Lake Street Church and Chair Emeritus of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Over the years he has contributed articles to periodicals including The Christian Century, The Chicago Tribune (op-ed), Sound Vision (a Muslim outlet), and others. He is the author of "A Voluptuous God: A Christian Heretic Speaks" (CopperHouse, 2007), and a contributor to the book for preachers, "Feasting On the Word", Westminster John Knox Press. Along with his spouse, Judy Langford, Bob Thompson moved to Atlanta in March of 2011.