Warning: filemtime(): stat failed for /home/apzkapwn/public_html/wp-content/plugins/switch-bg-image/styles.css in /home/apzkapwn/public_html/wp-content/plugins/switch-bg-image/switch-bg-image.php on line 44

The Word and Life team has chosen Cynthia Bourgeault’s The Wisdom Jesus –teaching the way of the heart as the transformer of human consciousness - to be the primary guidebook that will lead us on our pilgrimage through the Winter of 2023. This will be augmented by Richard Rohr’s book, The World, The Flesh, and the Devil, exploring the disorder, trauma, and evil that are arising around us in today’s world.

  • Encountering The Wisdom Jesus
  • The Nature of Sin and Evil
  • Confronting Evil with a Transformed Consciousness

Reading the source books is an important aspect of our work together. So we hope that you’ll read with us and join our zoom community online on Thursday mornings for this 10-week spiritual adventure. Please purchase the two books for this series from your local bookstore or from your favorite online booksellers.

10 Thursdays: January 19th to March 23rd, 2023 via Zoom from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time)

$65.00 for the entire Series - Scholarships available...
Our credit card registration system is temporarily offline.
PLEASE REGISTER BY CHECK  as described below.
Thank you.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

For our Winter 2023 Program:
Please complete the following two steps.
1. Make your check for $65 payable
to WORD AND LIFE, and mail it to:

Word and Life
c/o Joseph Schneider
533 Tallant Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105


And 2.  ~~~ VERY IMPORTANT~~~,
Please click here to send us
your name and email address.
We need your email address to
send you your weekly Zoom link.

To request a full or partial scholarship, CLICK HERE.

~~ S E R I E S ~~ C A L E N D A R ~~
Section One -- Encountering the Wisdom Jesus

Session 1:
January 19

“From Ego to Love -- Recognizing Jesus”
      Dialogue to Introduce the Series
(Chapter 1 in The Wisdom Jesus)

Pat McClure &
Mary Ann Evans

If listening/viewing on a Mac, please use the SAFARI browser.

VIDEO PRESENTATION (Session Moderator: Mary Ann Evans)
(For video controls, click white PLAY button, then hover mouse over any part of video player.)


V I D E O  P L A Y E R  G U I D E
Once video starts playing, hover mouse over any part of video player to see video controls.

Hover mouse over player and FULLSCREEN button will appear in upper right corner of video display.
When in FULLSCREEN mode, press the ESC key to return to normal display.

Session 2:
January 26

“What Did Jesus Actually Teach?”
(Chapters 2 and 3 in The Wisdom Jesus)

Heather Ruce

If listening/viewing on a Mac, please use the SAFARI browser.

VIDEO PRESENTATION (Session Moderator: Pat McClure)
(For video controls, click white PLAY button, then hover mouse over any part of video player.)


V I D E O  P L A Y E R  G U I D E
Once video starts playing, hover mouse over any part of video player to see video controls.

Hover mouse over player and FULLSCREEN button will appear in upper right corner of video display.
When in FULLSCREEN mode, press the ESC key to return to normal display.

Session 3:
February 2

“Metanoia and Self Emptying”
(Chapters 4 and 6 in The Wisdom Jesus)

Fr. Jim Clarke

Session 4:
February 9

“Death Throes of a Deficient Mental Structure:
      Structures of Consciousness”
(Chapter 8 - Incarnation WJ; Gebser Essay)

Rebecca Parker

Section Two – The Nature of Sin and Evil

Session 5:
February 16

“The Passion and Crucifixion”
(Chapter 9 WJ; RR Intro, Chapter 1)

Matthew Wright

Session 6:
February 23

“What About Evil?”
(Chapter 10 in The Wisdom Jesus)

Cynthia Bourgeault

Session 7:
March 2

“Individual and Psychological Aspects of Evil”
(Chapter 7 WJ; Chapter 2, 3, RR)

Harrison Taylor

Session 8
March 9

“Cultural/Social Evil:
      Threats to the Common Good”
(Essay, RR Chapters 3 & 4)

Buddy Parker

Session 9:
March 16

“A Dialogue about Collective Evil:
      Traumatic Bonding and Attractors for Evil”
(RR Chapters 5, 6 and 7)

Rev. Steve Jacobson
Rabbi Steve Cohen

Section Three – Confronting Evil with Transformed Consciousness

Session 10
March 23

“Meeting the Shadow Side with
    Welcoming and Transformation”
(Chapter 15 WJ, RR Chapters 8-11)

Heather Ruce

Don’t turn away.
Keep your gaze
on the bandaged place.
That’s where the light
enters in.


Series Back Story

As we step across the threshold of the New Year, we find ourselves inhabiting a darkening world where “wrong comes up to face us everywhere”. Those are the words of English playwright, Christopher Isherwood, whose prophetic play in 195l* speaks equally to our own era. There seems to be no escape from the disordered reality around us. So, do we shake our heads and passively ignore what troubles us?

Or, might we, as people of Faith, bring the deeper practices and discoveries of the Wisdom teachings of Jesus to utilize the whole of our human intelligence in a heart-centered and embodied response that heals and balances the challenges of the moment?

Looking at a troubled 20th century, Isherwood proclaimed: “Thank God our time is now – never to leave us till we take the longest stride of soul men ever took”. Nearly a century later we recognize that we’re still caught in that same stride, feeling for a new wave of direction coming up under our feet. That ‘new wave’ has been described as an evolving state of consciousness that has been stirring along the edges of our dominant mindset for the last 2000 years and seems now to be emerging as humanity’s next collective step.

Last Fall, Word and Life explored one of its outliers, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, as one of the springs of renewal in Christianity today. This Winter we are building our 10-week series on that foundation, drawing on the remarkable insights of Cynthia Bourgeault’s The Wisdom Jesus as our primary source book. Richard Rohr’s vision in The World, The Flesh, and The Devil gives us clarity in defining the ‘wrongs that come up to face us everywhere’. Read together, we hope you’ll find them to be a useful foundation for newly understanding and responding to the currents of attitude and behavior that are churning and destabilizing our world.

We’ve assembled another stellar group of speakers who will speak to the many ways that the The Wisdom Jesus Encounters Our Disordered World. 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. Scroll down the sections and topics found on our series calendar to see why we’re excited about this Winter’s series.

A Sleep of Prisoners

Dark and cold we may be, but this
Is no winter now. The frozen misery
Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.

Thank God our time is now when wrong
Comes up to face us everywhere,
Never to leave us till we take
The longest stride of soul men ever took.

Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise is exploration into God.
Where are you making for? It takes
So many thousand years to wake…
But will you wake, for pity’s sake?

Christopher Isherwood – English playwright

The Speakers in our Winter 2023 Series

January 19 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.

January 19 Speaker -- Mary Ann Evans

"Mary Ann Evans is one of the wisest and most fully grounded and accomplished psychotherapeutic/wisdom counsellors in our network..."  Cynthia Bourgeault

Mary Ann Evans, Ph.D, neuropsychologist, 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. She has presented her innovative work on brain plasticity and transformation extensively at conferences around the world and in the United States.

She has been a neuropsychologist in Santa Barbara since 1989, working at the Rehabilitation Institute and Behavioral Wellness, as well as in private practice. Her work in personal healing and transformation is embodied through her dedication to partnering with horses in her program “Horse Wisdom for the Soul”.

Her spiritual journey has encompassed the exploration of many contemplative traditions, and she was most recently a student in Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School. She has spent 20 years as a dedicated student in the Christian Wisdom Tradition, and her deepest spiritual awakening has come through resonance with Cynthia Bourgeault’s teachings about the heart of Christianity.


January 26 & March 23 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.

February 2 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.

February 9 Speaker -- Rebecca Parker

Rebecca Parker (Atlanta) is the Executive Director of Mary & Martha’s Place (https://www.maryandmarthasplace.com/) in Atlanta, GA, a center for women’s spiritual formation and transformation. She first read Cynthia Bourgeault in 2003 and has studied with her since 2011. She helps facilitate Wisdom Schools in the southeast, and leads two Wisdom Way groups in Atlanta. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Her husband Buddy can be sighted at Cynthia’s Wisdom Schools and the Maine Ingathering.

In Advent 2018, Rebecca collaborated with Jeanine Siler-Jones and Laura Copeland to create Beyond the Basics, Our Hearts in Advent: A Southeast Arising Wisdom School (https://wisdomwaypoints.org/breaking-ground/beyond-the-basics-our-hearts-in-advent-a-southeast-arising-wisdom-school-with-jeanine-siler-jones-laura-copeland-and-rebecca-parker/) in Sewanee Tennessee.

Rebecca has an intensity that is reflected through the lens of love in everything that she does. After attending her first Wisdom School, she felt as if she had “touched a life-giving chord in Christianity that allowed my intellect and my longing to occupy the same space.” Her fiery devotion in community and in her teaching is an expression of her discovery that Wisdom “is a love affair and the work is to clear my heart enough to hear the Beloved calling and to live from this experience in the world.”

February 16 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.

February 23 Speaker -- Cynthia Bourgeault

Cynthia grew up in the rolling countryside just west of Philadelphia and experienced her first tastes of silence and mystical presence during the weekly Meeting for Worship at the Quaker school she attended. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, where she specialized in early music and liturgical drama: training that would prove to serve her well in her later work as a spiritual teacher. She studied at the Philadelphia Divinity School and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1979.

Not long afterward, yearning for that simpler, more austere life she’d been drawn to in her study of the medieval Celtic hermits, she moved to the island-dotted coast of Maine, which has been her home base ever since. She now divides her time between a tiny hermitage on a remote coastal island and the small seaside village of Stonington, for much of the year making the six-mile trip back and forth in her own small boat.

The turning point in Cynthia’s journey came in 1990 when she ventured to St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, for a ten-day Centering prayer retreat led by Fr. Thomas Keating. She returned in 1991 for a three-month residency, where she worked closely with Keating; for the next thirty years she would be his student, then editor, and finally colleague. During that time, she also met the hermit monk Raphael Robin, who became her close friend and spiritual partner. It was Rafe who taught her how to integrate the treasures of the Christian mystical and monastic paths with the mindfulness and self-inquiry practices they had both been powerfully drawn to in their independent encounters with The Gurdjieff Work.

After Rafe’s death in 1995, Cynthia accepted an invitation to move to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, to help found a new organization called The Contemplative Society. It was there that the lineaments of Cynthia’s Wisdom teaching really began to take shape. Her pilot Wisdom School was offered there in July 1999, and twenty years later the Victoria-based Contemplative Society is still going strong and is our closest partner in the Wisdom Waypoints network.  During those British Columbia years Cynthia also worked actively with a Sufi community in Vancouver, and the inter-spiritual dimensions of her Wisdom teaching took on increasing prominence. She also published her first book, Love Is Stronger than Death, sharing more widely the teachings she’d learned during her time with Rafe.

After seven years in Canada, Cynthia returned to the States: at first back to Colorado, then ten years later, permanently back to Maine. During that time The Contemplative Society was joined by a growing number of “Wisdom Waypoints:” The Aspen Wisdom School in 2004, then shortly afterwards, Wisdom Southwest (Tucson, Arizona), Wisdom Southeast (Western North Carolina), and Wisdom Northeast in 2014. Schools and Wisdom hubs also grew up in the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, and Hong Kong, as Cynthia continued to roll out new books and found herself increasingly in demand as a conference and retreat leader. In 2013 she became a core faculty member of the center for Action and contemplation, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The strength of a lineage depends on the strength of its students, Cynthia believes. From the start she has taken an active interest in mentoring a new generation of Wisdom teachers and leaders, and it has been a joy to watch their emergence. You will meet many of them right here on this website, featured in the forum and profile sections, or leading the practices and book groups While retirement continues to elude her, she does steal as much time as she can for hermit solitude, exploring the spiritual cutting edges, and “messing about in boats.” You learn more about the inner dimensions of Cynthia’s spiritual journey in her blog series I am not a Space that God does not Occupy.

March 2 Speaker -- Harrison Taylor

Harrison Taylor is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. He also has a founding membership in the Eating Disorder Coalition of TN.

Harrison has a very diverse private practice in Nashville, TN where he sees both men and women individually, couples, families, and children of all ages, including adolescents. He helps individuals find their authentic voice while dealing with a wide range of presenting problems as well as issues of faith. He leads an on-going experiential, psychodrama therapy group as part of his services.

In addition to his private practice, Harrison also facilitates groups at the Arizona Family Therapy Clinic in Tucson, AZ for their intensive group therapy workshops. He has been a contracted counselor at Belmont University student counseling center for over 10 years.

Harrison is married. He and his wife have 3 children – 2 boys and a girl. They are active members at The Village Chapel.

March 9 Speaker -- Buddy Parker

Buddy Parker is a partner in Maloy Jenkins Parker, www.mjplawyers.com, a litigation firm specializing in investigations, trial and appeals of business crime and civil fraud matters, including forfeiture and confiscation litigation, primarily in Federal Court. Mr. Parker's experience includes hundreds of trials and investigations over his 47 year legal career, nineteen of which while he was a federal prosecutor first with the Department of Justice, Washington, DC, and later in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.

Mr. Parker, a pioneer in U.S. money laundering prosecutions, is a recognized international expert having prosecuted cross-border crimes and having made numerous presentations on the topic throughout Europe and the U.S. Currently he is the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section representative to the Advisory Board for the annual American Banker's Association/American Bar Association Anti-Fraud Money Laundering Conference. His practice includes matters in the eastern third of the United States and from time to time in a consulting relationship with European lawyers. Mr. Parker's clients include business professionals, lawyers, doctors, accountants, as well as corporations.

Mr. Parker has been recognized throughout his career for his litigation skills. He received his BS in Commerce, MBA and JD from the University of Alabama and LLM (Taxation) from Emory University. Buddy has been a member of the Wisdom Community since 2015.

March 16 Speaker -- Rabbi Steve Cohen

Rabbi Steve Cohen has served as the senior rabbi of Congregation B’nai B’rith since 2004, after nineteen years as the rabbi and Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at UC Santa Barbara.

In his capacity as senior rabbi, Steve’s primary responsibilities include teaching adults and youth, guiding the development of the congregation’s educational, worship, social action and cultural programs, providing pastoral counseling for congregants in need, helping families move through the great passages of life (birth, coming of age, marriage and death) with love and meaning, and working closely with the volunteer leadership of the congregation to build a vibrant Jewish community.

A native of Rochester, New York, Rabbi Cohen was born in 1957. He received his undergraduate degree in American History from Harvard University in 1979 and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985. His primary scholarly interests are in midrash and classical Torah commentary.  He and his wife Marian have been married since 1986 and have two grown children, Rachel and Ari.

In 2013 Steve and Marian took up long-distance backpacking, hiking the entire 211 miles of the John Muir Trail through the High Sierra.  Since then they have returned often to the Sierras as well as to the back country of Santa Barbara county. In his free time, Steve enjoys studying Torah with friends, going to the movies, identifying wildflowers, listening to a wide range of music, and davening at sunrise with the birds in his backyard.

March 16 Speaker -- Rev. 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