by Paula Cooey
Living out of an economy of grace represents a grand experiment in human living that emerges variously and changes over time throughout the monotheistic traditions. Within a specifically Christian context, disciplines that cultivate the transfiguration of desire have existed as long as religiously affiliated people have practiced asceticism and mysticism, both as single individuals and in community with one another. Orthodox and heretic alike number among these practitioners, as do Catholic monastic orders and radical sectarian communities of Mennonites, Hutterites, Quakers, and Shakers. Their range extends from intellectual elites to illiterates. The disciplines and practices to which they have submitted have been more and less codified, varying according to circumstance. Variance in practice and circumstance has produced a plurality of human experiences.