Robert V. Thompson

Bob at a Book Signing
Bob at a Book Signing

Bob Thompson is a heretic. Which is unusual, for a minister. Especially a minister of a Baptist church. But Lake Street Church is not your everyday Baptist church. Rooted in the Baptist/Protestant tradition, Lake Street Church goes a step further—some even say that Lake Street Church has marched off the Protestant map. The people of Lake Street Church are spiritually hungry, intellectually engaged, politically enraged (in many cases), and always asking important questions. And Thompson is constantly provoking this diverse spiritual community to go deeper–to awaken to the truth of the Divine that lives in all of us.

Thompson’s provocative style informs the essays in his new book, A Voluptuous God: A Christian Heretic Speaks (Copperhouse Books), published in the fall of 2007. Using humor and a light and accessible tone, Thompson challenges religious orthodoxy in a non-confrontational way that encourages us to live our humanity joyfully, thankfully, and fully from our hearts.

Hippie Bob
Bob in Berkeley

Thompson is the son of an Evangelical Baptist minister. A native of California, his interest in seminary increased after he was issued a low draft lottery number. Consequently, he enrolled in the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (a member of the Graduate Theological Union) in Berkeley, California in 1970. He was ordained “by the skin of his teeth,” following a gut-wrenching interrogation about his ordination thesis…a ponytailed hippie in blue jeans facing a panel of starched faced men in suits.

Although his motives for attending seminary were less than pure, after more than 30 years he admits that he feels called into the pastoral ministry. How this came to be, he claims, is one among many of God’s little jokes that have become an enduring part of his life.

Bob and the Dalai Lama
Bob in Dharamsala

His ministry has long been characterized by a strong commitment to the prophetic vision of peace and justice. Since the early 1990s, he has cultivated an appreciation for the mystical traditions of the East and West. He believes that the Christian mystical tradition, virtually forgotten or ignored by the vast majority of Christians in the West, offers tremendous promise for spiritual renewal.

Believing that the diverse religions of the world are all rooted in the same spiritual ground, Rev. Thompson is committed to the interfaith movement as a vehicle of reconciliation, not only between religions, but as a new way to work for peace. He served for six years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, nearly four of which he was Chairman of the Board.

Rev. Thompson is the beneficiary of immeasurable support from his spouse, Judy Langford. Between them they have four grown children, all of whom are unique and wonderful adults, each making important and personal contributions to the life we all share.

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