School for Christian Practice

Contemplative Posture

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Compassionate Embodiment

Coming Sunday, August 11, 2019, we will begin a 20-week class at Grace, during the 9:30 am Sunday Forum time that we are calling a School for Christian Practice.

Here is an introductory video:

The class is designed as an intentional conversation that fosters what Beverly Lanzetta calls “an alphabet and vocabulary of the Spirit.”  We are staking a theological claim that only through the cultivation of a contemplative posture (a practice of prayer that trusts in the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ) can we engage in the challenges we face today in our culture (a compassionate embodiment).  We recognize the difficulty many have in understanding how our practice of faith intersects with the way we live in the world–leading to frustration and defensiveness.  For too long the institutional church has neglected to focus on the necessary formative life–the life of prayer and spiritual development–within our communities of faith.  How can we resist the ego-driven reaction the wider culture evokes in us when we do not have a basic proficiency of faith and practice?  How can we bear fruit when our roots are not nourished?

I feel convicted to focus my attention and my resources on the connection between a contemplative posture and a compassionate embodiment.  This movement from prayer to embodiment is what we are calling the Trajectory of Transformation.

A Brief (Draft) Outline of the first School for Christian Practice session:

Section One: Our Primary Concern for Oneness

Week 1: Introduction to Language and Images

Week 2: Basic Framework of a Non-dual Posture

Week 3: Glimpses of Contemplative Wisdom

Week 4: The Contemplative Posture within the Spiritual Community

Section Two: Scriptural Witness and Teachings of the Tradition

Week 5: The Ten Commandments and Wisdom Literature

Week 6: Glimpses of Blessedness: The Beatitudes

Week 7: The Fruits of the Spirit

Week 8: Love: The Great Commandment

Section Three: Openness of Heart: Practices of Prayer

Week 9: What is Prayer?

Week 10: Self Emptying & Putting on the Mind of Christ

Week 11: The Experience of the Incarnation: Sacramental Understanding

Week 12: Praying Shapes Believing

Section Four: Contemporary Challenges and Witness

Week 13: Prophetic and Wisdom Literature & Social Justice

Week 14: Non-dual Identity and Racial Justice

Week 15: The Body of Christ and Environmental Ethics

Week 16: The Household of God and Economic Justice

Section Five: Personal Conversion and Embodiment

Week 17: Spiritual Gifts & Responsibility

Week 18: Ashes to Ashes: Writing our own Obituary

Week 19: Give us a Word: It’s Your Turn to Preach

Week 20: Giving Your Personal Testimony: Stories of Reorientation

In this way, the entire 20-week class will follow this trajectory of how a contemplative posture nurtures a compassionate embodiment.

We are drawing on representatives from the fullness of our Christian tradition as we ground ourselves in both pedagogy (basic didactic learning) and mystagogy (shared experiences of prayer and practice).


  • Contemplation and Community: A Gathering of Fresh Voices for a Living Tradition  (Crossroad)–many aspects will be drawn from this upcoming volume (should be published in early August).
  • New Revised Standard Bible or Common English Bible (translations)
  • Book of Common Prayer
  • Three-ring binder for handouts
  • Journal for notes and personal writing
  • Other articles and copies will be given out throughout the class, enabling each participant to delve more deeply into various aspects.  We will build a library as we go!

Contact me with any questions you may have:, or Jessica Voyles at

More coming soon!


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