Richard Thieme

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Richard Thieme
Richard Thieme, 2004
Other namesRichard F. Thieme
Occupation(s)Ex-Episcopal priest, commentator on technology and culture

Richard Thieme (born 1944), is a former priest who became a commentator on technology and culture, founding the consulting firm ThiemeWorks.[1][2] He is the author of the syndicated column "Islands in the Clickstream", which in 2004 was turned into a book of the same name. In 2010 he published a book of short stories, Mind Games, and in 2012 he contributed to the peer-reviewed academic work, UFOs and Government, a Historical Inquiry.


Early life and academic career[edit]

Thieme was born in Chicago, with one of his parents Christian and one Jewish, and one older brother, Art.[3][4] Raised Jewish, Thieme was confirmed as a young man in a Reform synagogue,[5] and attended Lake View High School, graduating in 1961. As a teenager he began writing science fiction, with his first story, "Pleasant Journey", published by Joseph Campbell in Analog science fiction magazine in 1963, when Thieme was 19.[6] Thieme studied English literature at Northwestern University,[3] graduating Phi Beta Kappa and receiving his B.A. in 1965, and also marrying and starting a family.[7] In 1967, he earned an M.A. in English at the University of Chicago. For the next five years he taught literature at the University of Illinois - Chicago Circle campus, after which he moved to England for two years. There, at age 30, he converted to the Anglican church.[5]

Episcopal priest[edit]

When Thieme and his wife returned to the United States in the 1970s, they moved to Evanston, Illinois, where Thieme attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary to earn his Masters of Divinity degree, and he became an Episcopal priest.[8][9] His wife Anne was ordained in May 1978, the first woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in Utah.[10] The Thiemes were co-rectors at St. James Episcopal Church in Midvale, Utah, but divorced in 1981. Richard remained as rector in the parish until 1984,[11] then transferred to become rector at the Holy Innocents church in Hawaii (1984–1987),[5] and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Milwaukee (1987–1993).[12] He married his second (and current) wife Shirley in 1983, merging their respective families to have a total of seven children.[3]

Technology commentator and author[edit]

In the early 1980s Thieme became acquainted with computers, at first interested in how they could apply to spirituality and religious organizations.[13][14] While still in the priesthood, he began writing about technology and culture, including the spiritual dimension of technology, for example in his essay "Computer applications for spirituality, the transformation of religious experience."[15] In 1993 Thieme left the priesthood to pursue a full-time career of professional speaking and writing,[3] founding his own company, LifeWorks (changed in 1996 to ThiemeWorks),[16] and working with clients such as Arthur Andersen, Allstate Insurance, General Electric, the National Security Agency, Microsoft, and the United States Department of the Treasury.[17][18]

In the mid-1990s, Thieme started writing a monthly online column, "Islands in the Clickstream". It began as emails and then grew into a mailing list, website, and syndicated column. Thieme gained a reputation as an "online pundit of hacker culture."[19]

In 2010, Thieme published Mind Games, which collected the various works of fiction he'd published in different locations into one place. In 2012, he contributed to the non-fiction book UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry, which examines the government's treatment of UFO reports, going back to World War II.[20][21] The book was praised by the magazine Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries for good sourcing, and recommended as "a useful resource for the study of a controversial topic".[22]


Nonfiction books
  • Islands in the Clickstream. Rockland, Mass.: Syngress. 2004. ISBN 1-931836-22-1.
  • (contributor) Michael Swords and Robert Powell (2012). UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry. Richard Thieme, Clas Svahn, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Bill Chalker, Barry Greenwood, Jan Aldrich, and Steve Purcell. Anomalist Books, LLC. ISBN 978-1933665580.


  1. ^ Bauer, Mick (December 27, 2004). "Interview with Richard Thieme". Linux Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "Stakes are higher for hackers in post-Sept. 11 world". USA Today. Reuters. August 12, 2000. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Steininger, Judy (October 2004). "Techno-Philosopher" (PDF). M Magazine. pp. 24–25.
  4. ^ Islands, p. ix
  5. ^ a b c Murphy, Mary Beth (August 29, 1987). "St. Paul's new rector feels at home in city". Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  6. ^ "Bibliography: Pleasant Journey". Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  7. ^ Bradbury, Danny (2004). "Documentation dearth undermines open source security". Infosecurity Today. Vol. 1, no. 5. p. 6.
  8. ^ "Richard Thieme". 2004. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  9. ^ Switalski, Danielle (May 20, 2013). "Fox Point's Richard Thieme discusses UFO research book at North Shore library". Whitefish Bay Now. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  10. ^ Christiansen, Joyce (November 3, 1979). "St. Paul's rector is retiring after 23 years service". Deseret News. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Christiansen, Joyce (June 27, 1981). "Bishop celebrates 10th anniversary at diocesan meet". Deseret News. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  12. ^ Kendall, Peter (1994). "On the Money - An investor's greatest asset: to know, or own, oneself". Milwaukee Business Journal.
  13. ^ "Online church offers different approaches". Billings Gazette. June 25, 2004.
  14. ^ Heinen, Tom (July 10, 2004). "Meet your avatars online - electronic church is an experiment in high-tech religion". Kansas City Star.
  15. ^ Fidlin, Dave (September 30, 2004). "Growing with technology: Author aims to inspire acceptance of the digital world". North Shore Herald. p. 16–17.
  16. ^ Kendall, Peter (October 28, 1995). "The watch isn't broken, it's just wound very tight". Milwaukee Business Journal. p. 13.
  17. ^ Garreau, Joel (July 23, 2001). "Science's mything links: As the boundaries of reality expand, our thinking seems to be going over the edge". Washington Post. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  18. ^ Kindler, Lynn (October 17, 2012). "BTR's Hope42Day interviews keynote speaker Richard Thieme" (audio). Blog Talk Radio. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  19. ^ Accinelli, Laura (July 24, 1997). "Hacking ain't what it used to be". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  20. ^ Wandsneider, Gregg (July 6, 2013). "The outer limits - former priest to speak about UFO book". The Freeman.
  21. ^ Loohauis-Bennett, Jackie (November 29, 2012). "UFOs get historical, scientific treatment". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  22. ^ Fritze, R. (February 2013). "Reviews: UFOs and government: a historical inquiry". Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. 50 (6). Although these nine authors are part of the UFO community, they are not advocates of fringe theories. Their narrative is firmly based on the available sources.... A useful resource for the study of a controversial topic... Recommended, all levels/libraries.

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