Fall 2022 Program: Exploring “The Wisdom Way of Knowing” — Book by Cynthia Bourgeault


A new spiritual paradigm is breaking through today that recognizes the Wisdom Way of Knowing as the root system from which the variety of our many faiths grow.

In the author’s words: “The purpose of this book is to try to get back to the original containers. I want to introduce you to the Wisdom tradition itself…as its own clear vision of human purpose and the practical technologies for getting there…to show you how to use the teachings of Wisdom to transform your own life.”

We hope you’ll read the book and join us in our sessions to rediscover some of the missing pieces that somehow fell out of our western cultural world view and that are crucially needed as we grapple with the questions of our meaning and accountability in a fragile and over-stressed world.

10 Thursdays: September 8th to November 10th
via Zoom from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.


Sept. 8 Introduction Heather Ruce
Sept. 15 1 – The Wisdom Way of Knowing Matthew Wright
Sept. 22 2 – How the Christian West Lost Its Wisdom Jim Clarke
Sept. 29 3 – Three-Centered Knowing Mary Ann Evans
Oct. 6 4 – Wisdom and Human Purpose Steve Jacobsen
Oct. 13 5 – Transformation: The Human Alchemy Tim Burnette
Oct. 20 6 – Freedom and Surrender: The Anthropology of Wisdom John Draper
Oct. 27 7 –  Seeing With The Eye of The Heart Faye Cox
Nov. 3 8 –  The Tools of Wisdom Susan Latimer
Nov. 10 9 – Epilogue and Summary Patricia McClure

Word and Life meets as a Zoom community for the 10 week series. The fee for the series is $65. You can join by signing up and paying below, and we will send you the weekly reminder and link plus all the resource information that enriches each session. Please click on the link below and follow the sign-up instructions.

To register with credit card, click the blue button below:

To register by mailing a check, CLICK HERE

To request a full or partial scholarship, CLICK HERE.

The heart of the series unfolds from Cynthia Bourgeault’s writing. The Wisdom Way of Knowing is the source book around which our Fall series has been designed.  But we also  recommend two of her other books as companions to the theme: Mystical Hope: Trusting In The Mercy of God and The Corner of Fourth and Nondual,  two small but highly significant books, powered by a working knowledge of transformative concept and practice.  All available from Amazon and your local bookstore.

Series Back Story

Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern day mystic and internationally known writer and teacher who offers a clear and concise introduction to Wisdom teachings as they manifest across a variety of faith traditions. 

“Drawing on resources as diverse as Sufism, Benedictine Monasticism, the Gurdjieff Work, and the string theory of modern physics, Cynthia Bourgeault has crafted her own unique version of the Wisdom way in this very accessible book, nicely balanced between concept and practice.”
— Gerald May (senior fellow – Shalem Institute and author)

Somewhere between ‘trail-blazer and archeologist of spiritual consciousness’, Cynthia’s role in renewing the wellsprings of our faltering Christian tradition is a vitally important contribution to today’s world.  Her teaching seems to fall into place as the natural next step after our previous two series.

In the Winter we explored the history of the ancient Celts and their legacy to our own time with John Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth: Sacred Soul

Our Spring term with Dr. David Richo studied the foundational concepts of becoming Ready: How to Know when to Go and When to Stay

Cynthia’s book on re-discovering the practices of Wisdom acts as the “tie rod” that actively connects the truths of ancient traditions to our readiness to step up and learn reality-changing responses to today’s dilemmas – knowledge in action that can change the state of our being and our church.

The Speakers in our Fall 2022 Series

We are privileged to offer another fine roster of speakers gathered this Fall who will bring their own experience and insight to speak to the chapters of The Wisdom Way of Knowing.  Many of them are Wisdom School associates .  Sone are old friends of the Word and Life work, and we welcome those who are new to our series and audience.

They have all consented to be video-taped and recorded. So you can watch and hear their presentation  again within a week of their appearance with us – here on the website.  We encourage you to check out past series and their archived recordings, as well. A treasury of insight and discovery is ready to be tapped there.

Speaker Biographies (to be added as submitted to us).

September 8th speaker — Heather Ruce

Heather Ruce, M.A. is a wisdom spiritual director with a background as a therapist and training in a neurophysiology-based approach to nervous system resilience called ‘Organic Intelligence.’ She works with individuals as well as facilitating wisdom circles and retreats focused on learning and practicing the Wisdom Tradition in order to awaken and live out a path of conscious love.

September 15 Speaker — Matthew Wright

The Rev. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest, writer, and retreat leader working to renew the Christian Wisdom tradition in a wider interspiritual context. He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY and is a teacher for Northeast Wisdom and The Contemplative Society. Matthew is also a decade-long student of the Mevlevi Sufi tradition under the guidance of Shaikh Kabir and Camille Helminski. He lives with his wife, Yanick, alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY.

September 22 Speaker — Jim Clarke

With an extensive academic background in the fields of spirituality, adult education, counseling, ritual and depth psychology, Fr Jim Clarke currently serves as Coordinator of Spiritual Formation for the Permanent Diaconate Office for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is a Senior Lecturer of Spiritual Theology at Loyola Marymount University and also an Associate Spiritual Director at the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for Priests.

Fr. Jim’s work and further education have taken him to Israel, Mexico, Canada, Africa, Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Pacific Islands. His CD/DVD series and published books have added to his continuing public ministry of retreats, workshops, and conferences throughout the United States for priests, women religious, seminarians, parish and school staffs as well as parishes at large. His newest book is: Here Comes Life! A Guide to Wholeness and Happiness. 

For many years, Fr. Jim has acted as a wise observer of each of our Word and Life series and stepped forward in our final week to weave the multiple threads of big ideas, discovery, and controversy from 9 weeks of rigorous exploration into a presentation that gathers it all into spiritual meaning and practice that we can put to use in our own lives and the world around us.

September 29 Speaker — Mary Ann Evans

Dr. Mary Ann Evans has a rich and varied career in the psychological and educational arenas spanning over 50 years and specializing in work with individuals who experience emotional, social, medical and learning challenges. During her years as an educator in Santa Barbara, she worked as a specialist for the Santa Barbara County Schools, as an Associate Professor and Head of Special Education at California Lutheran University and an adjunct professor at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College. 

She has been in private psychological practice in Santa Barbara since 1988 and is currently the principle psychologist for the equine assisted psychotherapy and learning program, “Horse Wisdom for the Soul”. Dr. Evans is the founder of the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Program and is a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

Her spiritual journey has encompassed practice in Christian contemplation, and she was most recently a student in the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School. She has also been deeply involved with the Christian Wisdom tradition and is an active member of both Trinity Episcopal and St. Mark’s Episcopal churches

October 6 Speaker — Steve Jacobsen

Steve Jacobsen earned a BA in European History from UCSB, a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Seminary and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. He served as a Presbyterian pastor for 30 years, with the last 16 in Goleta. 

From 2008-2014 he was Executive Director at Hospice of Santa Barbara; from 2014 to May, 2018 he was Director at La Casa de Maria. He has published a book and 11 articles on the relationship of spirituality to various aspects of daily life, including secular work, leadership and digital technology.  

He has been active in interfaith projects with Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities. Since “being “released into the wild” and retiring in 2018, he has served as an Interim Pastor, first at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian and now at Summerland Presbyterian. He writes a weekly blog, “Pocket Epiphanies” at www.drjsb.com

October 13 Speaker — Tim Burnette

Tim is a dreamer, philosopher, and theologian. He has spent years reflecting on the evolving Christian faith, and earned his doctorate from Claremont School of Theology, where he studied process metaphysics, philosophy and theology, contemplative practice, and compassion.

A self-proclaimed Whitehead nerd, he embraces theopoetics as a lens for seeing the world, with a practical emphasis on communal formation, beauty/aesthetics, and spirituality. He currently curates Way Collective, which is a community of shared practices and values.

He is a partner, father, writer, musician, and avid reader. His interests include vinyl records, food, philosophy, poetry, guitar tones, baseball, and all things on the fringe. He is an advocate for love and reconciliation across boundaries of faith and non-faith. He agrees with Vonnegut that “you can see all kinds of things from the edge that you can’t see from the center. Although…sometimes it helps to be centered out on the edge as well.”

October 20 Speaker – John Draper

John came back to Santa Barbara in 2012 with his daughter Danielle. He married his Anam Cara Dawn in 2015. He became an ordained deacon at Trinity Episcopal Church in September of 2021. John enjoys serving at Trinity in a non-stipendiary role as the deacon in both services on Sunday, and preaches on occasion as the voice of the world in the church. 

John is also passionate about serving as a chaplain at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara where he has the opportunity to meet patients and their families when life has become overwhelming. Co-creating meaning and value with them in their most tender moments as they face an uncertain future is both a blessing and a privilege. John became board certified as a clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor in April of this year.

October 27 Speaker – Faye Cox

In 2005, Faye attended a retreat called The End of Life and Beyond. It was led by Ed Bastien’s Spiritual Paths teachers: a Rabbi, a Sheik, a Swami, a Buddhist, and an Episcopalian priest. That priest, Cynthia Bourgeault, spoke on the last day of the retreat, and with tears flooding her cheeks, Faye recognized that what her heart had known was true about Jesus and His teaching, was here presented in a way that resonated with her whole being: heart, mind, body.

Since that time, Faye has been a dedicated student of Cynthia’s, and a teacher of Wisdom tradition and practice at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara.

Her other work is as an entrepreneur launching a publishing house of small books on big topics called Hourbooks. She and her cohorts are currently working on a Curriculum to Address Climate Change through Community Resilience.

November 3 Speaker – Susan J. Lattimer 

Music, horses, and the ocean were integral to Susan’s being as she grew up in North San Diego county. Singing, playing the piano, riding horses – she spent as much time outdoors as was possible. With two degrees in music (BA from Yale U and MM in piano accompanying ( ensemble ) from USC Los Angeles), she turned towards seminary and ordination. Her experience as a parishioner at All Saints’ Pasadena was instrumental in her sense of call.

She has been an Episcopal priest in parish ministry for over 30 years, serving in Atlanta, Maine, West Virginia, and the Tampa area before moving back home to Southern CA where she is currently the part-time Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Hemet, CA. She is also a professed member of the Order of the Ascension, a religious order within the Episcopal church with Benedictine roots and parish development focus.

In her search for a more embodied Christianity, her first breakthrough was with equine therapy, studying with Linda Kohanov, who pioneered an experiential, embodied way of learning from the wisdom of horses (spiritual direction – with the horse as the director). In Cynthia Bourgeault’s teachings she found a wholeness of embodied spirituality in the wisdom lineage that draws on the hidden treasures in the Christian tradition. Since 2015 she has led Wisdom practice groups and retreats, in person and on Zoom. Sacred chanting is her primary practice, and Susan has written many chants in the wisdom tradition. 

November 10 Speaker – Patricia McClure

Pat McClure calls herself “a field worker” (growing human capacities to their whole potential wherever we’re planted in everyday life). Her first field was Art – as painter, potter, teacher — and  Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand.  Those fundamentals of creativity and design have continued to shape her life and subsequent work ever since.

Her second field used the discoveries of cognitive science to establish an Educational Consultancy called The Human Curriculum – translating brain research into teaching and learning strategies for school districts throughout California.  Those same discoveries were turned into ‘conceptual blockbusting’ techniques to solve stubborn community problems around the schools … earning her a MacArthur Award for her ‘Community Human Intelligence Projects’.

Her current field of Spiritual Direction brings her old expertise to the evolutionary work of deepening and strengthening our inner Life.  A long-time student of Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom School – she brings those life-changing perspectives to the Word and Life community.