Meet the Core Faculty of the Center for Action and Contemplation

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The teachers at the Living School open Christianity up to a broader and more inclusive theological vision. They draw upon contemplative wisdom present in the Christian contemplative tradition, a lineage of individuals who experienced God as permeating all reality. Contemplative practices of self-emptying (kenosis) are central to this path and are the means by which we open ourselves to personally experience God’s grace and to express God’s radical compassion for suffering, particularly for the socially marginalized.

The two-year Living School program is a unique opportunity to study directly with CAC’s core faculty. Please note that in the event one or more of our faculty are unable to teach, the Living School may include other qualified teachers.


Richard Rohr in Napa Valley, CA Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province and the Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard serves as Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. An internationally recognized author and spiritual teacher, Richard teaches primarily on Incarnational Mysticism, non-dual consciousness and contemplation. He is the author of numerous books, including The Naked Now, Everything BelongsBreathing Under Water, Falling UpwardImmortal Diamond, The Divine Dance, and The Universal Christ. Learn more about Richard here.


Dr. James Finley is a contemplative teacher and writer and a retired clinical psychologist. He has led retreats throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s busy world. Early in his life, James lived as a cloistered monk at the Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director. He currently lives with his wife in Santa Monica, California. James is the author of Merton’s Palace of NowhereThe Contemplative Heart, and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God. Learn more about James at


Barbara Holmes Dr. Barbara Holmes received a Doctor of Philosophy in Religion (Ethics) from Vanderbilt and also holds degrees in divinity, sociology, theater arts, education, and law. She is a spiritual teacher and writer focused on African American spirituality, mysticism, cosmology, and culture. Barbara says, “My life is committed to the struggle for justice, the healing of the human spirit, and the art of relevant and radical creativity.” She has worked with homeless missions, HIV/AIDS support groups, and international ministries in Kenya and Japan. Barbara’s most recent publications include Race and the Cosmos, Dreaming, Liberation and the Cosmos: Conversations with the Elders and Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church. Learn more about Barbara at


Brian McLaren Brian McLaren advocates and works toward “a new kind of Christianity”—just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. Brian began his career as a college English teacher and then served as a pastor for twenty-four years. He now writes, speaks, and engages in contemplative activism, focused on caring for the planet, seeking justice for the poor, and working for peace. Brian’s books include A Generous Orthodoxy; Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?; We Make the Road by Walking; and The Great Spiritual Migration. He is married to Grace and they live in Southwest Florida, where they enjoy visits from their four adult children and five grandchildren. Learn more about Brian at


Speaking and Meeting Requests

We are not currently accepting requests for Richard, Jim, Cynthia, Barbara, or Brian.

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