Our Guide for Living a Spiritual Life

“Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” — Matthew 13:16

Scripture was written to be understood at different, ever-deepening levels – and it continues to speak to us today and then shape the way we live our lives.

Join us as we explore the esoteric dimensions of the Word found in the Gospel reading for the coming Sunday and consider the deeply spiritual message held there for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

What makes this study different?

Most Bible studies tend to be top-down; a teacher/leader usually reads and leads a group through chapter and verse while explaining the historical context and relevance needed to begin to understand the particular of the reading within the context of the over-arching story. This is a very necessary first introduction for those whose interest in scripture has begun; we then have the basics before we venture deeper.

There are no prior studies required for this class – all interested in moving beyond the introduction model and into one in which we are all engaged in the process of asking questions rather than providing answers are welcome. 

There will be some “homework” offered each week giving background information before we discuss together in the class; this will help us create a “circle of reciprocity” where we all participate in giving and receiving.  Articles relating to Jesus as Torah, Jewish history, earliest Christians, Gospel of Thomas, Margaret Barker’s extensive studies into the Old Testament history and more will be provided by email ahead of our meeting; this added information will expand the particular and historical Biblical context to include additional background and “hidden” symbolism that moves us beyond the concrete written message to inform the spiritual significance as well… providing us with the questions that are the heart of deeper work.

Each week we will also take time to consider how what we have discussed is relevant in our own lives… the historical gospel story is meant to become our “personal gospel” message that is timeless; the teachings come alive within us, and our understanding of the world we live in expands as we awaken to the transformative power held within the Word.

Initially you will be given information sheets and concepts that will be foundational to our work in understanding the esoteric level scripture, including:

Explanations for Faith and Belief: these two words are foundational for walking this Path, and though they are interchanged often, they represent two very different and dynamic elements.  Each responds to the other; though they differ, both are required for fullness of understanding.  “I believe!  Help my unbelief!” (1) captures the tension and promise of these separate yet reciprocal concepts.

Levels of Awareness: Moving from and through ordinary, spiritual, and Divine awareness, the exoteric to esoteric levels, is a process initially defined by Thomas Keating.

Number symbolism: Every word in scripture is carefully chosen to open us to new knowledge of what’s offered.  Within ancient Judaism, numbers are especially significant, often holding the key that opens the written passage in a transformative way.

3-centered Awareness – (Bourgeault) mind, body and heart are all required for full understanding and transformation; each must be given attention and nurtured.

As with life, scripture is initially taken in an “either/or” fashion; an initial concrete acceptance is filtered through a this-is-right, that-is-wrong lens.  As we move to the spiritual levels we find there is less either/or as we become more aware that our growth in faith moves us to a both/and reality… we begin to move away from “NO” and into “…yes?” and ultimately to “YES”.

Information for Developing a Personal Spiritual Practice

There are resources (books) that will support our journey, consider getting acquainted with them before the first class.

 

Cynthia Bourgeault: The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind, The Wisdom Way of Knowing

Rabbi Rami Shapiro: The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature

John Baldock: The Alternative Gospel: The Hidden Teachings of Jesus

Thomas Keating: Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation

Richard Rohr: Everything Belongs: The Gift of  Contemplative Prayer, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

Maurice Nicoll: The New Man, The Mark

Our Study Guide

Lisa Bonner, Lectionary Commentary leader for 20 years, Education for Ministry mentor for 10 years, and Wisdom student of Episcopal priest and author Cynthia Bourgeault since 2007.

If you are ready to deepen your understanding of the Gospel message, we look forward to your being part of this course!

This weekly class is offered on Tuesdays from 11:30 am-1:00 pm with seasonal breaks
Curious? First class September 11 is free
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Group begins September 18
Cost: $125 for 6-week session
Registration required for free class and/or group

REGISTER HERE