Raymond J. Lawrence is a Virginian by birth, who began his working life as a newspaper boy, then batboy for a professional baseball team, the Portsmouth Cubs. While in seminary he was ordained a Methodist minister and served rural churches in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Subsequently, he joined the Episcopal Church, was ordained priest, and served congregations in Newport News, Virginia, and Knoxville, Tennessee. He holds an M.Div. from Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Richmond; an S.T.M. from the School of Theology, University of the South; and a D.Min. from New York Theological Seminary. He did two years of post-graduate studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and at Mansfield College, Oxford University in England. He completed two years of clinical training in residencies at St. Luke's Episcopal-Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston, and at Central State Hospital, in Milledgeville. His life's work has been principally in the field of clinical pastoral care and counseling and pastoral psychotherapy. He was certified clinical supervisor by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, in 1970, and held leadership positions with that organization. In 1988, he began publishing the ACPE Underground Report, which later morphed into Contra Mundum.
In 1990, with colleagues, he founded the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and has functioned as General Secretary since. His last position was for 15 years as Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. He has published widely in the fields of social ethics, sexuality, and religion. His articles have appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, The Journal of Religion and Health, the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, The Christian Century, and others. His opinions have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and a number of other newspapers. He has written six books: The Poisoning of Eros: Sexual Values in Conflict, (Augustine Moore Press, 1989), Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom (Praeger Press, 2007), Nine Clinical Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling (2015) and Recovery of Soul: A History and Memoir of the Clinical Pastoral Movement (CPSP Press, 2017), Bursting the Bubble: The Tortured Life and Untimely Death of David Vetter (Augustine Moore Press, 2019) Nine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy (CPSP Press, 2020). He is an amateur mycologist and founder of the Texas Mycological Society.