Let's Talk About It

| with Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd | Thursday at 9 a.m. CT
Let's Talk About It

Program Overview

Let’s Talk about It with the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd rediscovers Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore’s zeal for new ideas—especially Mr. Fillmore’s insistence that Unity students think for themselves and prove Unity principles in everyday living. Dr. Tom and his wide variety of guests dive into the deep waters of postmodern ethics, current events, political and social issues, the new sciences and new theological insights, mysticism, world religions and a fresh look at biblical studies—no subject is off limits.

Dr. Tom will dialogue with people from a wide range of religious traditions, including New Thought leaders, Unity ministers and students. But don’t be surprised to hear from priests, ministers, rabbis, Buddhist monks or the occasional Wiccan priestess. Let’s Talk About It is your window to a new world of possibilities in contemporary theology, religious insight and social action through ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. And if you know Dr. Tom, you know there will be some delicious controversies and edgy new ideas.

The ideas and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect the teachings of Unity. Unity respects a wide range of spiritual thoughts and beliefs, as reflected in the diverse range of subjects presented on Unity Online Radio.

Program Archives
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  • Episode: Encore
    Original air date: Thursday, November 27, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Encore presentation.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 06, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom interviews Beth Hammock, who became Daily Word® magazine editor October 6. Her professional career in journalism, and spiritual journey to Unity, brings new energy to the flagship publication of the Unity movement. Here’s your chance to meet the successor to such great Unity personages as May Rowland, Martha Smock, Colleen Zuck, and Laura Harvey. The tradition of positive prayer for all persons goes forward.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 30, 2014
    Episode Description:
    This week the Kansas City Royals completed a successful season by losing to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series. And the KC fans were still cheering for their team, 90 minutes after the game ended. Dr. Tom interviews native Missourians Bryan Lewis, Shawn Berry Wegner, and Unity President/CEO Dr. Charlotte Shelton, about the remarkable lessons that can be learned in a joyful, triumphant season that ends without winning The Big One.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom interviews Howard Falco, author of Time in a Bottle: Mastering the Experience of Life. Falco discusses the purpose of time and gives suggestions about how people can control time by shaping their thoughts. Quantum physics and practical spirituality. Great discussion.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s guests this week include Jim Skinner, a self-described atheist who is married to Unity minister Carla McClellan, and special guest Sara Davidson, author of The December Project, a remarkable new book from HarperOne. This episode also brings a new voice to the Unity world, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who died in 2014. For two years, Sara Davidson conducted a series of remarkable discussions with this remarkable rabbi, a series reminiscent of Carlos Castaneda’s 1968 conversations with Yaqui wisdom teacher Don Juan. Rabbe Zalman, as Sara calls him, escaped the Nazis by emigrating to the United States with his father. The rabbi-to-be joined the Lubavitch movement in New York, and through the years he became a respected, albeit controversial, rabbi with a universalist view of life and God. Sara’s conversations with her beloved Rebbe, who invited her to meet with him weekly, took her back to her Jewish roots and allowed her to confront the issues all people face—aging, maturing, and moving toward the final question of what lies beyond life. You will cherish and relive those experiences in her 2014 book, The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life’s Greatest Mystery.  
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s special guest this week is author, comedian, wildly creative thinker Dave Hickman, whose newly released work is called The Book of Bio-Spiritual Yum Yum Goodness! Thoughts, Theories and Humor From a Hypersensitive, Fanboy Comedian. Hickman’s book has been described as “a mix of New Age, self-help, and comedy,” which “explores the thoughts and experiences of a man with emotional hypersensitivity, synesthesia, and a vivid imagination” (Amazon review). Hickman bounces through topics like discovering the full capabilities of human senses; exploring techniques to calm down, reduce stress on the body, and learn questions to ask ourselves. (Fluffy unicorns and UFO theories are a bonus in the book.) This is NOT like Charles Fillmore’s prudent logic of spirituality, but closer to an explosion in a toy factory of new ideas. Dr. Tom and Dave Hickman ramble and amble through streams of consciousness, pausing only to laugh and catch our breath. Bring your running shoes.
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 04, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Recent Unity Institute® and Seminary graduates James Mullis (2013) and Donna Summers (2014) spent a good portion of August in Ireland, visiting churches and historic sites, speaking with Irish clergy while hitting lots of touristy gigs. As newly minted Unity ministers, they came to the Emerald Isle with new perspective, after studying church history, comparative theology, and the Unity DNA as a bona fide blood relative to the family of Christian faiths. The results were amazing new insights and the ability to speak as peers with Roman Catholic priests in one of the most traditional spots in the Christian world. When you hear this interview, you will be proud of their accomplishment—Jim and Donna even kissed the Blarney Stone! Don’t miss this one.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Three students from Dr. Shepherd’s summer class on Readings From Myrtle Fillmore will analyze what they have learned about the cofounder of Unity, Myrtle Fillmore. Why was she so appealing, and why are spiritually-minded people of all faiths drawn to her simple pastoral letters? Beth Hitesman, Christine McFarland, and Richard Belous join Dr. Tom for a frolicsome exploration of  “Myrtle-power” and its continuing influence on practical Christianity today.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Episode Description:
    This episode brings together representatives of three major creative arts to discuss the hidden artist in everyone. Jeniffer Hutchins, Unity Institute® and Seminary middler (second year) student, is a celebrated painter, photographer, and art teacher. “I see art as a tool for understanding ourselves and our connection with the Divine Spirit,” Jeniffer explains. “While I enjoy creating with several art mediums, painting is my primary artistic outlet.” Performer, vocalist, and composer Victor Dougherty represents the musical arts. His work includes “18 years playing at fairs, festivals, special events, and nightclubs around the Midwest, fronting in numerous bands …” Since his spiritual awakening, Victor has taken his art to another level—moving from an emphasis on performance and entertainment to creating music about inspiration and transformation. Victor’s album Both Sides of the Veil is scheduled for release in the fall of 2014. Adding a third major art form, Dr. Tom pitches into the discussion from the perspective of creative writing, both fiction and nonfiction. The artist in everyone awaits, and this panel will help you find and release the artistic expression within you. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 17, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s guest this week is the Rev. Ogun Holder, 2011 Unity Institute® and Seminary graduate, Unity Online Radio host, and author of Rants to Revelations: Unabashedly Honest Reflections on Life, Spirituality, and the Meaning of God (Unity Books, 2012). Ogun displays his usual wit and deeply spiritual views of life as the discussion ranges from global concerns such as race relations in the USA and immigration issues to personal techniques for increasing your spiritual growth. As an immigrant who came to the USA from Barbados, RevOgun brings personal insights to the problem of multiculturalism in a changing world.
  • Original air date: Thursday, June 26, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom interviews two Unity Institute® and Seminary colleagues—2011 Myrtle Fillmore Award Recipient Rev. E.J. Niles and Unity archivist Rev. Eric Page—as they discuss the Mother of Unity, Mary Caroline Page, aka Myrtle Fillmore. Who was this Midwestern, Victorian, Methodist woman? Is it possible to peel back layers of interpretation and hear Myrtle's theological voice, unimpeded by love's bias, for the first time? Whether you're new to Myrtle's thought or a longtime devotee, this show will send you forward with a new appreciation for this remarkable woman pioneer.
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    Note for HTS 660 class members: Link to this program will be archived at http://www.unity.fm/program/TalkAboutIt when posted.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 29, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's sole guest for the hour is Rev. Jim Rosemergy, long-standing Unity minister, prolific author, and former dean of Unity Institute® and Seminary. Rev. Jim, who was ordained a Unity minister in 1976, has published a dozen-plus books throughout the past few decades. The two ministers have several points in common. Dr. Tom, another prolific writer, was also first ordained in 1976 by the Unitarian Universalists, adding Unity credentials in 1987. He asks about Jim's newest book, plus what he's been up to, and what changes he has seen in Unity. Tune in to hear a couple of long-serving Unity ministers range far and wide, discussing creative writing, cutting-edge theology, and the future of the Unity movement.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 22, 2014
    Episode Description:
    A candid conversation with one of our greatest scholars. Dr. Shepherd’s special guest is Rev. Dr. Gary Simmons, best-selling Unity author and all-purpose scholar/teacher. Topics range from peacemaking to Dr. Gary’s newest books. LTAI producer and Unity minister Rev. Rachel Simpson serves as cohost. Join us for an integral experience—you might even learn what that means.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 15, 2014
    Episode Description:
    The ministry team of Charles and Christine Perry have announced a radical new policy about rites of matrimony at their church, Unity of Birmingham, Alabama: Until the state in which they minister allows marriage equality for all its citizens, the Perrys will perform no further weddings in that state, whether the couple is straight or LGBT. They will be glad to travel to a nearby state like Illinois, which recognizes marriage equality, and officiate at weddings for heterosexual or LGBT couples. Dr. Tom's guests include Rev. Charles and Rev. Christine, plus Rev. Dr. Bennett Guess, an official of the United Church of Christ, who also works with LGBT issues. This show is a must for everyone who wants to grapple with the complex, deeply important ethical issues behind the movement in American culture toward marriage equality.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 08, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom and LTAI producer Rev. Rachel Simpson interview one of the most successful ministers in the Unity movement, Rev. Wendy Craig-Purcell. Listen as Rev. Wendy describes how she began a new church, which grew from a few people into a large, thriving community of faith today.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 01, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom interviews Unity Institute® and Seminary colleague Rev. Robert Brumet and UI graduate Rev. Jan Stromseth on the vital subject of grief and bereavement. By the time they reach mid-life, most people have already experienced some kind of loss or tragedy. It is the normal course in living as a human on this mortal plane. What shall we do with the natural, healthy feelings that crash into us following loss or tragedy? Tune in and hear two Unity experts in the field of bereavement discuss ways to endure the pain and transform the experience of grief into an opportunity for growth.
  • Episode: Holy Week
    Original air date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom and guest Dr. Jesse Tanner look at Holy Week and the Resurrection. "He is risen, indeed!"
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Dr. Jesse Tanner is Dr. Tom's guest again this week as they continue their series of discussions about the biblical sources for Lent and Easter. Dr. Jesse explains the "Two-Source Hypothesis" and gives a good, brief description of the origins of the four gospels. Also, a special guest, direct from ancient Palestine by time warp, makes off-mike comments, which Dr. Tom conveys to the listeners. Fun, informative, and enriching.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Jesse Tanner, Ph.D., professor of scriptural studies at Unity Institute® and Seminary, discusses the meaning of Lent in ancient and modern contexts with Dr. Tom. Get a deeper knowledge base and new spiritual applications as two of UI’s scholars review the familiar practices of Lent, employing modern scholarship through Unity lenses to clarify the picture.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 20, 2014
    Episode Description:
    The subject is everybody's favorite figure in Unity history, Myrtle Fillmore. Dr. Tom is joined by a distinguished panel of guests to include Rev. Lynne Brown, vice president of Silent Unity and Development; Rev. Manzel Berlin, United Methodist minister and Myrtle Fillmore scholar; and Anne Tabor, student at Unity Institute® and Seminary, who is just completing her middler year in preparation for the Unity ministry.

    This fascinating discussion includes some little-known facts about the "Mother of Unity." For example, you might be surprised to learn that Myrtle was the intellectual, not Charles. Myrtle Page was a college-educated teacher who, in the years before her marriage to Charles Fillmore, had migrated to Texas during the Civil War Reconstruction Era to work in the new schools springing up everywhere. Myrtle may have brought some of her equalitarian values with her; she had to leave town as soon as the Reconstructionist dreams of equality tragically collapsed into what would become the Jim Crow South. During today's program, Rev. Manzel reminds us, not without some affectionate pride, that Myrtle was a lifelong Methodist. How did the Wesleyan values of temperance, modesty, and deep spirituality affect her, and consequently affect Unity? Tune in to meet a Myrtle you never dreamed existed.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 13, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Revs. Sheryl Meyers, E.J. Niles, and Charles Perry join Dr. Tom for a lively discussion on the value of the Judeo-Christian scripture and its place in Unity today. Modern historical-critical scholarship and spiritual practices such as Lectio Divina have the potential to open the Bible to a wider audience beyond religious conservatives. This show is a must-hear if you remember the Bible fondly, or would like to pry it from the grasp of the Religious Right. Learn how to tap into the wisdom of the ages as the liberating documents they were intended to be.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 27, 2014
    Episode Description:
    One of the great, long-serving ministers of the Unity tradition, Rev. Phil Pierson, has an upcoming book on Richard Buckminster (1895–1983). Fuller was an architect, designer, inventor, systems theorist, and futurist. In his more than 30 published works, “Bucky” Fuller popularized terms like Spaceship Earth and synergetic. Rev Phil Pierson interviewed Fuller on Pierson’s franchised TV show, The Best Is Yet to Be, and brings the Unity perspective to a discussion of this monumental thinker’s life work. And yes, he knew Fuller well enough to call him "Bucky." This show is packed with great ideas and warm memories.
  • Episode: Love Revisited
    Original air date: Thursday, February 13, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Is love overrated? Charles Fillmore described Twelve Powers, yet one keeps surfacing in Unity literature and liturgies, the Power of Love. Two Unity Institute students—Beth Hitesman and Keri King—join Dr. Tom to consider the place of love in theology and life. Lots of fun. Great stories. Love revisited.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 06, 2014
    Episode Description:
    The subject is education for all ages. Dr. Tom's guests include Rev. Dr. Jane Simmons, author, teacher, and  Unity minister serving as International Teen Ministry Coordinator for Unity Worldwide Ministries; Rev. Kathryn Kellogg, UWM Children and Family Ministry  Coordinator; and Rev. Rachel Simpson, Let's Talk About It producer and interim Youth and Family Minister at Unity Village Chapel. Great show!
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 23, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Three other Unity ministers join Rev. Dr. Shepherd to discuss the controversial Christian heritage of the Unity movement. Guests include Rev. Erin McCabe, senior minister at Unity Village Chapel, Rev. Tom Thorpe, minister at Unity of Independence and venerable veteran of multiple years’ service as an instructor at Unity Institute® and Seminary, and recent Institute graduate and Let's Talk About It producer Rev. Rachel Simpson. The issue is alive and well in our churches and study groups. Don’t miss this one!
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
    Episode Description:
    Let’s Talk About It marks the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with a special show about the legacy of this great African-American theologian and leader in the struggle for human rights. Guests include Unity Institute® and Seminary students Dinah Chapman and Elise Cowan, and teacher-musician Michael Gott, who is the featured speaker at this year’s Martin Luther King celebration at the Institute. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, December 19, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s holiday programs continue, this week focusing on the gift-giving traditions of Christmas. Guests include Let's Talk About It producer Rev. Rachel Simpson, Unity Institute® and Seminary student Elise Cowan, and a surprise guest Skyping in from the North Pole. Ho-ho-hold everything and tune in for great holiday fun.
  • Original air date: Thursday, December 12, 2013
    Episode Description:
    All winter holidays—from Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa to Samhain, New Year's, and Nordic Yule—share one common element: Everybody loves to eat! This week Dr. Tom's guests include experts in the culinary arts. Michael Willett caries on a long tradition of good food as head chef at Unity Inn; Mike Gnagi, student at Unity Institute® and Seminary, has a long and distinguished career in  food service; and UI student Donna Summer joins the panel as a representative of good ol' Southern cookin'. Lots of holiday food ideas. You'll come away hungry and satisfied.
  • Original air date: Thursday, December 05, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Nothing signals the advent of the holiday season earlier than the slow increase in frequency of those Christmas and winter songs on the radio. This week's panel discusses the influence and impact of music at this time of the year, when celebration of religious holidays creeps into secular media and elbows pop music aside in favor of tunes about angel choirs and little drummer boys. Dr. Shepherd's guests include composer-performers Richard Mekdeci, Megan McDonough, Sue K. Riley, and Glen Roethel. Listen to samples of their work and explore the power of music with these gifted new artists.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 14, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Unity Institute® and Seminary presents a Lyceum each year, presentations of thought-provoking academic papers by selected seminary students and religious scholars about themes with global implications in spirituality, theology, pastoral studies, and more. One topic, "Religion and Social Issues: The Role of the Church in Today’s Society," focuses on theological ethics and social problems or related themes from various communities of faith, including non-Western traditions. LTAI guest panelists—Rev. Claudell County and Rev. Dr. Jesse Tanner, both UI faculty members, plus LTAI producer and recent UI graduate Rev. Rachel Simpson—discuss issues related to this topic.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 07, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Artists sometimes speak of their work as spiritual expression. This week Dr. Shepherd and guest cohost Rev. Rachel Simpson interview multitalented artists Jenny Hahn and Bryan Lewis, who discuss factors that motivate them to create work of beauty and power. Jenny is a gifted painter whose works brighten the room with their ebullient colors and expressive, imaginative figures. Bryan has created stained glass windows and smaller works that capture a modern version of the light-paintings visible in European cathedrals. This is an opportunity to hear two masters of their craft describe their passion for creativity. Share the link with others. The world will be a better place if more people fall in love with great art.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 24, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom explores unknown country with a topic difficult to label. Handicapped, disabled, differently-abled, “special” people—whatever we call these members of the human family (who don’t all agree on what to call their collective experiences)—there are people among us whom society has done its best to ignore. The Americans With Disabilities Act mandated that any expansion of existing facilities or new building projects must offer full public access to everyone, regardless of their physical limitations. While the provisions of the ADA may help some wheelchair bound or motion-impaired people, what about other forms of discrimination against other types of disabled, handicapped, or differently-abled persons? Dr. Shepherd’s special guests, Unity Institute® and Seminary student Melody Martin and Early childhood specialist Ann Pogue, have firsthand knowledge of these challenges. UI professor Rev. Claudell Hefner-County and LTAI producer Rev. Rachel Simpson join Dr. Tom for an intense, informative, sobering look at where we stand as a Unity movement on the real issues of inclusive diversity. Don’t miss this one.
  • Episode: Creative Ritual
    Original air date: Thursday, October 17, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Unity churches are often proud of their innovative expression of New Thought, which usually shuns or radically reinterprets traditional rites of the Christian heritage. But how healthy is a totally ritual-free program? In fact, is it even possible to eschew all forms of ceremony, and how healthy would that be? Dr. Shepherd’s special guests this week include artist Jenny Hahn and her BFF, our LTAI producer and newly ordained Unity minister, Rev. Rachel Simpson.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 10, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s special guests this week include Religious Science minister Rev. Mike Irwin and a pair of Religious Scientists close to our hearts here at Unity Institute® and Seminary—Partner-in-Ministry Vickie Perrie and UI Dean Ted Collins. Vickie’s husband, Michael, is a junior (first year) at the Institute. Both Dean Ted and Vickie have Religious Science backgrounds. If you’ve ever wondered what Unity and Religious Science (now often called Center for Spiritual Living) have in common and where they generally disagree, tune in for some lively discussion.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 03, 2013
    Episode Description:
    The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assissi falls during the first week in October and quite a few Unity churches/centers perform pet blessings this time of the year. Dr. Shepherd's guests this week include Unity Institute® and Seminary students Sherrie Taylor-Jones, who was director of an animal shelter, and first-year student Carol Wick, who treats her animals "as though they are four-legged fuzzy people." This show will touch the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 26, 2013
    Episode Description:
    As the new fall term kicks off, Dr. Tom’s special guests this week are three students from Unity Institute® and Seminary, representatives from each of the junior, middler, and senior classes. Great fun, good learning.
  • Episode: W. David County
    Original air date: Thursday, September 19, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s special guest for this edition of Let’s Talk About It is Sammi the android. Well, actually, only the author of the new novel, Sammi, showed up at the studio. Novelist W. David County—whose wife, Rev. Claudell Hefner-County, serves on the Unity Institute® and Seminary faculty and frequently cohosts LTAI—came by to chat about his latest project. Sammi is a humanoid robot created by the government to assassinate targets selected by clandestine agencies. Except Sammi is having emotional problems: He refuses to kill or follow any orders in general. What to do? Send him to a counselor, of course. The story about the android and the lady is filled with intrigue, action, and surprises. Dave and Dr. Tom discuss creative writing, the business of writing, and how to begin a book. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing and publishing, tune in for this informative show.
  • Episode: Fredrick Zydek
    Original air date: Thursday, August 29, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Claudell County joins Dr. Tom to interview a returning guest, Nebraska poet Fredrick Zydek. A graduate of Seattle University and holder of an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington, Fred Zydek taught creative writing at the University of Nebraska and later moved to the campus of the College of Saint Mary, where he taught theology until he retired. Zydek has written eight volumes of poetry, three novels, and a memoir and biography of the 19th-century theologian Charles T. Russell. Fred writes of his working style: “My poems almost always take shape during my morning meditation. Most meditations end in the poetic process. I have no idea why.” He is gay, legally blind, confined to a wheelchair, on oxygen, and the adoptive parent of several special needs children who still reside with Fred and his partner. The State of Nebraska has honored their household as a Nebraska Family of the Year. Don’t miss this show.
  • Episode: Robert Brumet
    Original air date: Thursday, August 15, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s guest this week is Rev. Robert Brumet, beloved Unity author and 20-year instructor at Unity Institute® and Seminary. The subject is Rev. Brumet’s life and work, especially his new book, Living Originally: Ten Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Life (Unity Books, 2013). Brumet explains the difference between translational and transformational experiences; his book attempts to provide more ways to achieve the latter.The two veteran Unity ministers and spiritual scholars discuss practical and theoretical issues in transformational theology today.
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 08, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Chill out this week with Dr. Tom and colleagues from Unity Institute® and Seminary,  Rev. Claudell Hefner-County and Rev. Dr. Jesse Tanner. This teacher trio will serve your favorite biblical concoctions for a warm summer’s day. Topics include the two best-known parables of Jesus, the Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan, plus a revised look at the Towel of Babel, a sampling of the Psalms, and much more. Way too much for a one-hour show—but fasten your seat belts and get ready for some cool ideas!
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 01, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Guests this week include actor Jason Bales and Dr. Tom's "number three son" (chronologically) independent filmmaker Nicholas Schreck. Nick and Jason talk about their newly released full-length feature, Disheartened while offering pointers for other aspiring film makers. Guest cohost Rev. Claudell County joins the discussion about the exciting possibility of local congregations breaking into the low-budget/no-budget movie business, to include short and simple YouTube presentations and online video blogs.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 25, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Have you seen Under the Dome, The Big Bang Theory, 42, or The Lone Ranger? Read any good books lately? Dr. Tom and guest cohost Rev. Claudell County review movies, TV shows, and books for summer entertainment and enjoyment. They might even find a spiritual theme or two lurking backstage or in the subplot.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 18, 2013
    Episode Description:
    The verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin has stirred outrage in the African-American community and among a large portion of the American population. A jury of six Florida women found Zimmerman not guilty, but many people feel some sort of accountability should have been extracted for the death of an unarmed 17-year-old. Even the President has weighed in, saying he could have been Trayvon 35 years ago. Regardless of how anyone looks at the verdict, discussion about race in America has definitely accelerated in its aftermath. This week the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd and Rev. Claudell County will look at racial justice in the Unitsed State in the light of this ongoing controversy.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 11, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom Shepherd and Rev. Claudell County discuss the need for rest, recreation, refreshment, and Sabbath. In this hectic world, where do people find "benches along the way" of life to renew spiritually and physically?
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 30, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's guest cohost is Unity Institute® and Seminary colleague Rev. Claudell Hefner-County. The two reverends discuss headlines from the Kansas City Star and other news media, bringing Unity principles to bear on current events. Lots of anecdotes. (What a team!)
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 16, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd's guests this week are both familiy members—someone old, someone new. Rachel Simpson is a graduating senior at Unity Institute® and Seminary. On May 3 she married William Emerson Shepherd, Dr. Tom's middle son. Those in the Unity Village area know Bill as the campus cop who used to hang out at the coffee shop (where Rachel worked when not in classes at UI). This week on Let's Talk About It, the newlyweds will discuss their excitement in starting a new marriage and finding a new home when soon-to-be "Rev. Rachel" lands her first job as an ordained Unity minister. Generations of preachers' wives have endured/enoyed their unofficial role as "first lady" of This-or-That church.  What's it like being the minister's husband? Tune in and share the laughter and high hopes.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 09, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s guest cohost this week is Rev. Claudell Hefner-County, Unity Institute® and Seminary faculty member. The topic is “Ministry Memories and More.” Rev. Tom and Rev. Claudell, both ordained Unity ministers, share stories and memories from more than 60 years’ service in professional ministry between them. A special call-in guest joins them from Nebraska, the widely acclaimed author of poetry and prose Fredrick Zydek. The discussion shifts from weddings to the worship needs of people in a church service to a number of other topics. Fred is also a retired theology professor and a friend of Unity who now attends a United Methodist church. The discussion is free-wheeling and informative.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 02, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's guest is his eldest son, Adrian Schlesinger. Adrian is a resident of Warsaw, Poland, where he has become a citizen of the European Union without relinquishing his American citizenship. Life in central Europe today is a complex affair, especially if you don't speak the language of the country where you reside. Adrian brings a new spin on immigration issues and world citizenship as he as his dad talk about everyday life in the former Soviet satellite nation of Poland.
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 25, 2013
    Episode Description:
    This week's guest panelists include Kelly Isola and Jim Mullis. Rev. Kelly Isola serves as adjunct faculty at Unity Institute® and Seminary. She an ordained Unity minister with a Master of Divinity from Unity Institute and hosts The Minister and the Mother on BlogTalkRadio. A BePeace trainer, Rev. Kelly has lived in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and archaeology and draws from these rich and varied sources in her many forms of ministerial work. Jim Mullis is managing director of Mullis Consulting Services, a self-described Libertarian, and graduating senior at Unity Institute and Seminary.
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 04, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than 20 books, including three New York Times best-sellers: Misquoting Jesus, God's Problem, and Jesus Interrupted. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. His work has been featured in Time, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and other print media, and he has appeared on NBC's Dateline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, The History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. His books have been translated into 27 languages. He lives in Durham, North Carolina. Bart Ehrman joins Let's Talk About It host Dr. Tom and guest cohost Rev. Tom Thorpe for a wide-ranging discussion of biblical studies today.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 07, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s cross-cultural series continues with the Baha’i Faith, arguably the newest member of the community of world religions. Guests this week include three distinguished Baha’is from California.
     
    Jaleh Kilpatrick is a fifth-generation Baha'i. Born in Teheran, Iran, she traces her family history to clan members who became Baha'is during the 19th century, at the time of Baha'u'llah. On the other end of the historical continuum, Dr. Michael Yenis is a first-generation Baha’i. Dr. Yenis holds degrees in International Relations and psychology; he currently works at the San Francisco Baha'i Center office. Although this week’s third guest, Dr. Shabnam Koirala Azad, grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal, she currently serves as associate professor of international and multicultural education at the University of San Francisco.
     
    Unity Institute® and Seminary Master of Divinity student Dinah Chapman, Dr. Tom’s student guest cohost for the program, is a licensed Unity teacher currently serving at Unity of San Leandro, California. Dinah holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, has worked as a systems engineer, software developer, and Information Technology Business Consultant Specialist with a major California health care provider in I.T. internal audit and compliance. A singer and songwriter, she has released a CD of positive, New Thought music.
     
     
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Episode Description:
    The Muslim-Israeli conflict is an ongoing struggle to find the right balance between the rights of two groups who share an ancient biblical heritage. Dr. Tom’s student guest cohost is Nancy Mercurio, a second-year student—known in seminary jargon as a Middler—in the Unity Institute® and Seminary Master of Divinity program. Nancy is an author and business owner who serves leaders and organizations globally to improve effectiveness. She has a bachelor's in business administration and a master's in management-human relations and organizational development. Their two expert guests are Dr. Seth Ward, an associate lecturer in religious studies at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches Islam and Middle-Eastern subjects, and Imam Bilal Hazziez, Muslim cleric and Islamic community leader in the greater Kansas City area.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's guest cohosts this week are Unity Institute® and Seminary students Brandon Nagel and Brian Grandon. Their topic focuses on the second largest religion on the planet, Islam. Guest panelists include two muslim women—Carrah Quigley and Shahidah Hazziez—plus  Shahidah's husband, the Imam Bilal Hazziez. Topics include the difference between the African American-based Nation of Islam and traditional Islam, the basics of the worldwide religion brought by Muhammad, and characteristics of Muslim life today.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 14, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Let's Talk About It's expert guest this week is Herb Cooper-Levy, a lay leader of Kol Ami, a Jewish Reconstructionist Community in Northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Mr. Cooper-Levy was raised in an Orthodox home, and he was active in B’nai Brith’s youth organization. He is highly versed in all forms of Judaism in America today, and will lend his perspective to the complex set of issues facing the Jewish community worldwide. Dr. Tom’s student guest cohost is Dr. Richard Belous, first-year M.Div. student at Unity Institute® and Seminary and board member at Unity of Fairfax, Virginia. Rick is no stranger to graduate education. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from George Washington University, where he currently teaches as adjunct faculty. Dr. Belous's day job is equally impressive; he serves as vice president of Research and Chief Economist for United Way Worldwide.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 07, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s guests include Dr. Mario Poceski, associate professor of Buddhist studies and Chinese religions at the University of Florida, and Dr. Robert Minor, professor emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. Student guest cohost Brent "Ber" Stackhouse rounded up this blue-ribbon panel of experts in Asian religion, and you are invited along for the ride. Dr. Tom’s panel will discuss the four paths in Chinese religious life—Traditional Religions, Confucianism, Chinese Buddhism, and Taoism. Is it possible to follow all of these at once? The answer might surprise you!
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 24, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd's guest cohost is Unity Institute® and Seminary student John Beerman. The program features wide-ranging discussion with practicing “Western” Buddhists who describe the way the faith of Gautama Siddhartha shapes their daily lives in the 21st century.
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 17, 2013
    Episode Description:

    Dr. Shepherd's student guest cohosts are Jan Stromseth, senior at Unity Institute® and Seminary, who will be graduating in June, and Jeanmarie Eck, who is a Middler in the three-year degree program. Guests include Dr. Mark Muesse, professor of world religions at Rhodes College in Memphis and widely respected scholar whose lectures can be heard on The Great Courses series released by the Teaching Company. The program also features Ami Bhalodkar, a practicing Hindu and licensed marriage and family therapist who lives and works in the greater New York City area, and Arvind Khetia, columnist for The Kansas City Star, who answers questions from a Hindu perspective. 
     

  • Original air date: Thursday, January 10, 2013
    Episode Description:
    Martin Luther King Jr. evokes a kind of nostalgia for the idealistic days of the anti-war movement and freedom marches. Yet during his lifetime, Dr. King was far from universally loved, even in the black community. His experience was not unlike the prediction of theologian Matthew Fox, who said to a Unity Institute® classroom, “No prophet goes through life unscathed.” In this week’s program, Dr. Shepherd will be joined by a panel of UI students to discuss Dr. King’s legacy in preparation for Unity Institute’s Martin Luther King Day observance. The Rev. Michael Moran, keynote speaker at UI’s King observance, will be joining the conversation from California. Another special guest will be Jacquelyn Hawkins, UI student who was a member of Dr. King’s congregation during those turbulent, world-changing days.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 08, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr. Shepherd hosts another host—Rev. Carla McClellan, whose Unity Online Radio program Spiritual Coaching: Creating a Vibrant Life airs Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Central time. Spiritual coaching helps people discover answers for challenges in life, but how is "coaching" different from pastoral care or psychological counseling—or is it? Rev. Carla McClellan is Dr. Shepherd's guest the full hour.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 01, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd's guests today are Bethany Klug, D.O., and Brother Chan Huy. Dr. Klug founded the Heartland Community of Mindful Living in 1997 and is the Sangha Elder. She was ordained into Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing in 2000. Chan Huy comes from a family with four generations of Thich Nhat Hanh’s students, from his grandmother to his two daughters. Born in Vietnam, Chan Huy today lives in Ottawa, Canada, where he recently retired from a career as an engineer. He is among the most accomplished and articulate of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Dharma teachers.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Jennifer Sacks received her Master of Divinity degree from Unity Institute® and Seminary and was ordained a Unity minister in 2012. She now serves as senior minister of Unity of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rev. Jennifer is originally from New Jersey, and has a master’s in literature and a bachelor’s in sociology from American University in Washington, D.C.

    Dr. Shepherd's other guest this week is Rev. Manzel Berlin, a United Methodist minister and former Unity Institute adjunct faculty member. Rev. Manzel has been a frequent guest co-host on Let's Talk About It. He has a Master of Divinity from the prestigious Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
     
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 18, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week’s guest is Rev. Ogun Holder, an ordained Unity minister and speaker, teacher, author, radio show host, blogger, musician, husband, parent, social media consultant and self-proclaimed geek. Ogun has written articles for Daily Word®, Unity Magazine®, and Contact magazine. His first book is Rants to Revelations: Unabashedly Honest Reflections on Life, Spirituality, and the Meaning of God (Unity Books, Fall 2012). He co-hosts Unity Family Matters, a show about conscious parenting, on Unity Online Radio with his wife, Rev. Jennifer Holder. A popular and engaging speaker, Ogun has been invited to speak at churches across the country. He is the senior minister and executive director of Unity For All, a primarily online nonprofit ministry on a mission of Global Transformation through Spiritual Education, Empowerment and Engagement.




  • Original air date: Thursday, October 11, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Cynthia Alice Anderson is in her third year as senior minister of Christ Church Unity of Orlando, Florida. She attributes the basis of their growth to a focus on soul growth and transformation. Soul evolution is her passion, and part of that process includes a commitment to peace. CCU is observing a  “Season of Nonviolence” with special guest Dr. Arun Gandihi, Mohandas K. Gandhi's grandson. Dr. Gandhi and Rev. Alice discuss the legacy of peace left by the Mahatma. Rev. James Gaither joins Dr. Shepherd as co-host. Dr. Gandhi shares a rarely told memory of an experience with his grandfather in India.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 04, 2012
    Episode Description:
    On the morning after the first presidential debate of 2012, Dr. Shepherd looks out the metaphysical window to consider current situations and possible developments, wars and rumors of wars, economic and environmental issues, health and security—across the world at large. His guests are well-known composer, musician and former Unity Online Radio host Richard Mekdeci, plus Unity Institute® and Seminary student Stan McNeese.
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 27, 2012
    Episode Description:

    Dr. Shepherd's guests this week are three students—a refugee, a best-selling author, and Mike Korpan too. Evelyn Foreman was born in Ho Chi Min City (formerly Saigon) in postwar Vietnam. At the age of 5, her family fled the country on a refugee boat and was rescued at sea by the U.S. Navy. Evelyn grew up in Los Angeles in a Buddhist home, earned a degree in international marketing and economics from California State-Los Angeles, and now she is beginning her studies for the Unity ministry at U Institute® and Seminary. Doug Duerr is a best-selling author, healthy living coach and Yoga teacher. His hobbies include Latin dance. Now he has danced his way into Unity Institute to begin his studies for the ministry. Also, UI senior Mike Korpran returns as guest co-host. (He's been everywhere and done everything.)

  • Original air date: Thursday, September 13, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Dalton Roberts wears many hats and wears them well. Musician. Singer. Songwriter. Author. Poet. Columnist. Toastmaster. Humorist. Philosopher. Successful politician. He took up his first guitar at the age of 13 and a few years later was earning money as a musician. He served his native community of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as county executive (mayor) for 16 years. Always an insightful writer and friend of Unity. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 06, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s guest is Tom Zender, best-selling author, successful business executive and President Emeritus of Unity. Zender’s books include: God Goes to Work: New Thought Paths to Prosperity and Profits; One-Minute Meditations at Work; and the soon-to-be-released God Gets a Job: A Spiritual Guide for Job Seekers and Job Keepers.


  • Original air date: Thursday, August 23, 2012
    Episode Description:

    Dr. Tom's guest this week is Evan Coleman, Unity Instituite® and Seminary student in his middler year of UI's three-year program. Coleman has a background in theater arts and a passion for minstry. Bright, engaging and quick-witted, he keeps the conversation flowing and brings smiles to the process.

  • Original air date: Thursday, August 16, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Lesley Miller is a part-time M.Div. student at Unity Institute® and Seminary and a full-time Unity employee. With a B.A. in romance languages from Boston College, Lesley had a 15-year career in staffing and recruiting in New Jersey, owning her own firm, managing others and earning her SPHR certification. Lesley was a traditional Jewish wife and mother when a flying lesson at age 45 began her spiritual journey. It took her through re-entering the work-force to recovery from substance abuse, divorce and single motherhood to helping other women heal their lives, careers and relationships. When the economic crisis and a breast cancer diagnosis in 2009 called her to begin again, she chose to continue that work as a Unity minister in pastoral counseling and chaplaincy.
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 09, 2012
    Episode Description:

    Michael Korpan is a licensed Unity teacher and Unity Institute® and Seminary student in the M.Div program. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Before seminary, Mike's business career took him around the world. He is currently president of UISA, the UI student association. Mike's original religious background is Roman Catholic, an experience in which, he says, "The positives outweighed the negatives."

  • Original air date: Thursday, August 02, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Unity Institute® and Seminary student Judy Pilat of Kalamazoo, Michican, is Dr. Shepherd's guest this week. Judy holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in management. She says she "... fully intended to go to law school until I actually went to work in a law office and saw the light." Her professional career includes more than 25 years in business and work as an independent consultant, with many assignments in sales and marketing and additional work in training, operations and business process improvement. With the election-year discussion about massive corporate profits amid dwindling job creation dominating the news, Dr. Shepherd will ask Judy for her take on the the state of prosperity consciousness in the American business community today. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 26, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week's guest is Jeanmarie Eck, who just completed her first year on the ministry path in the M.Div. program at Unity Institute® and Seminary. Jeanmarie holds a Master of Fine Arts in acting and has performed professionally in New York and regional theaters in many states as a singer, actor and dancer. The topic this week is "Maintaining Real Prosperity Consciousness in an Affluent Society."
     
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 19, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Donna Summers and Jim Mullis are life partners and fellow students at Unity Institute® and Seminary. They live in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and  Unity of Gulf Breeze is their current church home. Donna is a student in Dr. Shepherd's Theology of Prosperity course this summer; she coerced her significant other to share Dr. Shepherd's program with her today. The subject this week is unique: "Prosperity Consciousness and the Black Plague." Donna wrote an excellent paper on the plague for Dr. Shepherd's History of Christianity class during the spring session, which will provide context for a discussion of how it is possible to practice prosperity principles in a time of extreme suffering.  
     
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 12, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd's guest this week is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Charles Perry of the California National Guard, also a senior in the M.Div. program at Unity Institute® and Seminary. Tune in to hear two "old soldiers" reminisce about their experiences in the military—Dr. Shepherd in Vietnam, Charles Perry in Afghanistan—and look at war and peace issues from the perspective of Prosperity consciousness.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 05, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Health and healing as an expression of prosperity consciousness: an interview with Unity Institute® and Seminary student Nancy Mercurio. She holds a master's in Management: Human Relations and Organizational Behavior and an undergraduate business degree. Nancy's home church is Unity of Tampa (Floriday), where she has sung in the choir for 12 years, served as guest speaker for eight, and as vision team leader/volunteer coordinator for six years.
  • Original air date: Thursday, June 28, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr.Shepherd interviews a newly minted Ph.D., Jesse Tanner, who received his doctorate from the University of the West this year. Dr. Tanner is also a student in the M.Div. program at Unity Institute® and Seminary, where he is preparing to be a Unity minister. Their topic will be the Theology of Prosperity.
     
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 24, 2012
    Episode Description:
    LTAI during the merry month of May will be a free-flowing, ongoing discussion about current events and theological issues based on "leftover letters" from Dr. Shepherd's popular Unity Magazine® column, "That's a Good Question." Not every letter can be answered in the limited space of a Q&A column, sometimes because a similar question has just been addressed. Join us this month as Dr. Tom brings a stack of old letters and emails, and student panelists from Unity Institute® and Seminary will answer the leftover mail.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 10, 2012
    Episode Description:
    LTAI continues its Spring Cleaning celebration with more "leftover letters" from Dr. Shepherd's popular Unity Magazine® column, "That's a Good Question." Not every letter can be answered in the limited space of a Q&A column, sometimes because a similar question has just been addressed. Join us this month as Dr. Tom brings a stack of old letters, emails and student panelists from Unity Institute® and Seminary to answer the leftover mail.
  • Original air date: Thursday, May 03, 2012
    Episode Description:
    During the merry month of May Let's Talk About It will participate in the ancient ritual of "Spring Cleaning" with a delightful new twist—leftover letters to Unity Magazine's popular Q&A column. Students and faculty will join in a free-flowing, ongoing discussion about current events and theological issues based on "leftover letters" from Dr. Shepherd's long-running column, "That's a Good Question." Not every letter can be answered in the limited space of a Q&A column, sometimes because a similar question has just been addressed. Join us this month as Dr. Tom dumps out the mailbag and offers a stack of old letters and emails for Unity Institute® and Seminary faculty and student panelists to answer on the air. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 26, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd's panel will discuss current events in politics, religion and spirituality. Controversies that stir the blood of society at large and Unity people in particular. For example: Does "love your enemies" mean "have no enemies"? What are the prospects for world peace without the threat of terrorism? Now that the space shuttles are lodged in museums, is there any theological reason for further exploration of the cosmos? Closer to home, what does the United States' presidential race teach us about human character under pressure? Join us with your questions.
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 19, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Ever consider the profoundly spiritual lessons which can be drawn from 18 players tossing, hitting and avoiding a little white ball? Dr. Tom's guests will look at "The Game" and how it continues to play a part in defining our culture. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, April 05, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr. Tom's panel looks at a highly controversial topic in American public policy. Are the new "Stand Your Ground" laws an outgrowth of zealous Second Amendment advocates? Shall handguns be banned entirely or be freely available with supportive concealed carry laws? What kind of society will we become if everyone is either disarmed or packing heat? Be prepared for a great discussion, which attempts to find middle ground in the highly charged political-cultural environment after the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 29, 2012
    Episode Description:
    American sociopolitical consciousness divides down the middle these days, as exemplified by the recent loud dispute about whether one side was waging a “war” on the other regarding birth control and Church doctrine. This week Dr. Shepherd’s guests will discuss the ongoing values dichotomy in the United States.
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
    Episode Description:
    The largest branch of the Christian family tree is this week's discussion topic. Student production team members Diana Kennedy and Marylin Schoenfelder of Unity Institute® and Seminary join Dr. Shepherd to interview representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, March 08, 2012
    Episode Description:
    LTAI's survey of world religions continues as Dr. Shepherd looks at the exotic worlds of Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto. There will be plenty of guests from these communities, plus Unity Institute® and Seminary student guest hosts Jacquelyn Hawkins and Charles Perry.
  • Episode: Sikhism
    Original air date: Thursday, March 01, 2012
    Episode Description:
    UI students Lesley Miller and Robyn Plante join Dr. Tom this week as they interview guests from the Sikh community. Sikhism has been described as a blend of Hinduism and Islam, although the Sikh community follows a distinct and mystical religious tradition unlike any other. Tune in and find out more.
  • Episode: Islam
    Original air date: Thursday, February 23, 2012
    Episode Description:
    No religious faith is more controversial today than Islam. This week features extended discussion on the teachings and practices of the great religion founded by Muhammad. Student production team members and guest hosts Mona Krane and Karen Kelly will join Dr. Shepherd to interview members of the Islamic community. 
  • Episode: Judaism
    Original air date: Thursday, February 16, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Let's Talk About It's survey of world religions continues as Dr. Tom's panel of distinguished guests look at Judaism today. Unity Institute® and Seminary students Roxanne Graves and Darla Henry serve as student production team members and guest hosts for today's show.
  • Original air date: Thursday, February 09, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr. Shepherd's panel looks at varieties of Buddhism in today's world: Mahayana, Theravada, Pure Land and Zen. Deborah Hill-Davis and Anne Tabor serve as production team members from Unity Institute® and Seminary. Guests from the Buddhist community bring life experiences and theoretical models to the discussion.
  • Episode: Buddhist Basics
    Original air date: Thursday, February 02, 2012
    Episode Description:
    Let's Talk About It continues investigating world religions with a look at the historical background and basic teachings of Buddhism. Dr. Shepherd's student production team includes Unity Institute® and Seminary students Evan Coleman, James Mullis and Beth Williams, plus special guests from the Buddhist community.
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 19, 2012
    Episode Description:
    This week on Let's talk About It, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd shares the microphone with two students from his World Religions online class—Susan Bryan and Freida King—as the discussion turns to the oldest continuously practiced religion on the planet, Hinduism. Guests from the Hindu community will share insights and answer questions about what it means to be a Hindu today. 
     
  • Episode: World Religions
    Original air date: Thursday, January 12, 2012
    Episode Description:
    With the new year, Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd has begun a new series about the old, great religions of the world. The program lineup parallels his Unity Institute online course in World Religions. This week's topic is ancient religions, and Dr. Tom's guests include Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck, dean of Spiritual Education and Enrichment at Unity Institute. The panel will look at animism, shamanism, earth-based and polytheistic religions of antiquity. You may be surprised how much has survived from the Stone Age to find its way into the festivals and celebrations of the 21st century.
  • Original air date: Thursday, January 05, 2012
    Episode Description:
    With the new year, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd begins a new series about the old, great religions of the world. The program lineup will parallel his Unity Institute online course in World Religions and will feature guests from various religious traditions and students from Dr. Tom's class. This week will be about the ancient roots of religion and spirituality. Are we hard-wired for prayer and ritual? How far back in time does organized religious activity go? Is there any evidence that other species—not just humans—may share a sense of wonder at the mystery of life? Tune in and listen as Dr. Shepherd's panel discusses The Origins of Religion—What Is the Sacred, and Why Do People Need It?
  • Original air date: Thursday, December 08, 2011
    Episode Description:
    This week Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd's guests will be Rev. Manzel Berlin, United Methodist minister and adjunct faculty at Unity Institute and Seminary; Rev. Edith Washington, ordained Unity minister and certified practitioner in the Healing Art of Touch Therapy; and licensed Unity teacher Bernadette Swanson, education editor at Unity Worldwide Ministries. All of the above are currently at work on new writing projects, so not surprisingly, the topic will be their new books in the works. If you're an aspiring author—or if you just like good books—tune in to hear this distinguished panel of spiritual writers discuss how the creative process works for them.
  • Original air date: Thursday, November 17, 2011
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr. Tom focuses on cross-cultural ethics, specifically the differences among religious groups on the question of the nature of humanity, criminality and the death penalty. Guests include persons of Western and non-Western religions. 
  • Episode: Rev. Paul Smith
    Original air date: Thursday, November 03, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom’s guest for this episode is Rev. Paul Smith, co-pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Kansas City. But lower your shields and cancel the Red Alert—this ain’t your momma’s Baptist congregation! Listen to its self-description: “Broadway Church affirms and welcomes all persons of any sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, differing abilities, religious affiliation, socioeconomic status, or any persons who have been spiritually disenfranchised. All are welcome into the life of our church, including its membership, leadership, sacraments, and ceremonies.” Rev. Smith’s new book, Integral Christianity: The Spirit's Call to Evolve, has drawn high praise from the New Thought community. You don’t want to miss this one.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 27, 2011
    Episode Description:
    In this episode, we'll peek inside Dr. Tom's online classroom. Guests include students currently enrolled in Metaphysical Theology I, who will discuss topics and techniques to be encountered in online graduate theological classes. If you've ever wondered what attending seminary might be like, listen in this week.
  • Episode: Gary Dorrien
    Original air date: Thursday, October 20, 2011
    Episode Description:
    In this episode Dr. Shepherd interviews Dr. Gary Dorrien, who currently serves as the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. An Episcopal priest and multisport athlete, professor Dorrien is the author of 14 books and more than 250 articles on ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics and history. Princeton University philosopher Cornel West calls him, "The preeminent social ethicist in North America today," and Boston University’s Robert Neville says professor Dorrien is "The most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analyses of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues." Put on your thinking cap and join us as Dr. Tom and his guest make some deep ideas accessible to everyone.
  • Episode: Andrew Cort
    Original air date: Thursday, October 13, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s guest for this episode is Andrew Cort, an accomplished author, teacher, attorney and doctor of chiropractic. Dr. Cort has taught in a variety of schools and colleges, private and public. He hosts Spirit of the Berkshires, a weekly talk show on local TV in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
  • Original air date: Thursday, October 06, 2011
    Episode Description:
    This episode features an interview with Rev. Elizabeth Mora, a recently ordained Unity minister who has worked to embody Unity principles for more than 30 years. Rev. Mora follows an eclectic spiritual path, incorporating teachings from all the great religions. From the Four Noble Truths to the “Serenity Prayer” to the Twelve Powers to praying five times a day, she has crafted her own unique practice that celebrates the beauty in every religion. She and her husband, Arturo, live in Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 29, 2011
    Episode Description:
    In this episode, Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd will discuss the fine art of creative writing with some up-and-coming authors. Guests include novelist W. David County and other members of the Unity Village writers group Profits and Scribes. Dr. Tom and Dave will read selections from their fiction works in progress.
  • Episode: Rev. E.J. Niles
    Original air date: Thursday, September 22, 2011
    Episode Description:
    This week Dr. Tom Shepherd's special guest is retiring Unity Institute and Seminary professor Rev. E.J. Niles. Rev. E.J. has a wealth of experience as a Unity minister, is a rich depositor of knowledge about the Bible and is co-host of Biblical Power for Your Life on Unity Online Radio. Join Dr. Tom for a free-ranging discussion with E.J. about what we know about Bible study today, the pluses and minuses of biblical studies, the growing controversy about the use of allegorical interpretation in an age of historical metaphor, renewed interest in mysticism and ritual, new understandings about science, miracles and metaphysics. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 08, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Neo-paganism is on the rise in the United States, and Let’s Talk About It host Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd joins many progressive Christians in saying "Hoo-ray!" In this episode we focus on Wicca, the most common form of the revitalized pagan movement. In its most popular form, Wicca represents an attempt to recapture pre-Christian Europe's religious heritage. Join Dr. Tom as he examines the rise of the Wiccan phenomenon with Linda Kerby, a multigeneration witch who lives in the Kansas City area. Expect a free-ranging discussion about the neo-pagan heritage and its relationship to worship of the Divine Mother as well as other forms of earth-based spirituality. You don’t want to miss this one!
  • Original air date: Thursday, September 01, 2011
    Episode Description:
    First it was Tunisia, then Egypt, and now Libya. Country after country throws off its autocratic rulers and attempts to establish a democratic state. Dr. Shepherd's guests are from the Islamic community and will be discussing the continuing "Arab Spring" uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. Will the struggle, which has now become an "Arab Summer," continue into an “Arab Fall and Winter?” How does religion and politics outpicture as people's rebellion? Are the same anti-establishment forces at work in the USA, for example, in the Tea Party movement? A timely and provocative topic—don't miss this one! 
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 25, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom Shepherd's guest this week is Fr. William McVey, former Roman Catholic priest, S.J., who today is an ordained Episcopal priest serving as rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Raytown, Missouri. "Fr. Bill" holds a master's in sociology of religion from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. He is a great fan of Bishop John Shelby Spong and a friend to Unity. Always controversial, Fr. Bill delivered a paper during Unity Institute's Lyceum 2010 on the practical mysticism of "Existentialism and Christian Zen," and he is the principle author of a new book, Talk Like a Leader: Communication in the Workplace, just released by PStrada Publications. Fr. Bill and Dr. Tom will explore the frontiers of Christianity and Zen Buddhism. This will be a good one!
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 18, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's guest this week is Fredrick Zydek, Nebraska poet, educator and theologian. Fred has published 10 volumes of poetry, two novels and the celebrated biography of Charles Taze Russell, as well as numerous articles, essays and poems in more than 300 magazines and journals. He holds an MFA from the University of Washington and a Master of Divinity from Seattle University. Until retirement he taught theology at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, where he occupied the Archbishop Bergan Chair for Lectures. Zydek makes his home in Omaha, where he continues to write full time. His new collection of poetry, At the Edge of the Ancient Inland Sea: The Nebraska Poems, is forthcoming from Backwaters Press. He and his partner have been designated the 2012 Couple of the Year by the governor of Nebraska. A year ago, he left Unity for the United Methodist Church. This will be a wide-ranging, far-reaching discussion about poetry, politics and theological possibilities.
  • Original air date: Thursday, August 11, 2011
    Episode Description:
    This is a Unity Online Radio landmark broadcast—the first ever Three-Tom show. Dr. Tom Shepherd's co-host this week is Rev. Tom Thorpe, Unity Institute and Seminary faculty member and Spiritual Education and Enrichment (SEE) instructor extraordinaire. Their guest completes the Tom-threesome—former Unity CEO Tom Zender. A widely recognized authority on spirituality in the workplace, Tom Zender is the author of the Amazon.com best-selling, top-rated book God Goes to Work. With the recent budget battles in Congress and the lingering possibility of global economic meltdown, is the idea of spirituality in business practices and public policy an impossible dream?
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 28, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Everybody believes in education, yet American schools continue to produce students unprepared to compete in a global market. Our panelists for this episode include two educators with backgrounds in public and parochial schooling. Scott McQuerry has taught science at the high school and middle school level. He is the author of the Classic Science series of textbooks widely accepted by home-school families across the globe, and he has developed a series of online, content-based professional development courses for educators offered through Science Pioneers of Kansas City. Scott also teaches chemistry and physical science at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri. Dr. Tom’s second guest is Jessica Herman, a Lutheran layperson who taught physics and physical science for 17 years at a private high school for girls. Today Jessica is regional manager for CPO Science, a hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum company. She conducts science trainings and professional development workshops for teachers and school districts and at conferences throughout the Midwest.
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 21, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's co-host this week is Rev. Claudell County, chair of Leadership and Administrative Studies at Unity Institute and Seminary. Rev. Claudell and Dr. Tom will look at the many faces of diversity in a postmodern world. As the 21st century beckons humankind toward a global society, nations that have historically been homogenous—like the member-states of the European Union—are now becoming racially and ethnically diverse. However, the force that arguably should be leading the way, the Christian Church, remains the least diverse institution in the Western world. Why is the Sunday experience, by and large, the most segregated time of the week for people of faith? Or is there a positive social function for a church which provides safe space for people of similar backgrounds to gather? Let’s Talk About It will explore the sometimes uncomfortable reality of life on a truly diverse planet.       
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 14, 2011
    Episode Description:
    The Shambhala Sun says of this week's guest: “Rev. Danny Fisher calls himself ‘just a Buddhist minister trying to benefit beings.’ Clearly, it’s something he does well.” Let’s Talk About It assistant producer Jesse Tanner will assist Dr. Tom in this episode as they interview one of Jesse's former professors. Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is an ordained Buddhist lay minister and coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West (UWest), where he also serves as a teaching professor. Prior to UWest, Danny was adjunct faculty for Antioch Education Abroad’s Buddhist Studies in India program. He earned his bachelor’s degree in religion from Denison University, Master of Divinity from Naropa University, and is currently finishing his doctorate in Buddhist Studies at UWest. Professor Fisher is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International, serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, and in 2009 became the first-ever Buddhist member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains. 
  • Original air date: Thursday, July 07, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Tom's guest this week is Gerald W. Jarsocrak, retired accreditation manager for the State of Pennsylvania and former deputy police chief of Reading, Pennsylvania. They will be discussing crime and punishment, the death penalty, and civilian attitudes toward police in general. Jerry Jarsocrak is also an articulate Lutheran layperson and lifelong friend of Dr. Tom. This session will be a combination of current issues, theologicial reflection and war stories from their youth in the late 1950s.
  • Original air date: Thursday, June 30, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Karen Drucker’s website announces: “Struggling musician, wedding singer, musical comedienne, garage organizer, lemonade-stand entrepreneur, competitive swimmer—Karen Drucker has done all of these things and more, in her indomitable urge to grow and evolve.” Well, Karen’s coming to Unity Village to co-facilitate a retreat described as a gathering of “strong, supportive women as we consciously step away from our day-to-day lives to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. We’ll chant, learn, play, laugh and pray our way to new clarity about choices, priorities, and what is uniquely ours to do.” Join us as Dr. Shepherd interviews Karen on the role of music, spirituality and feminism in her life.
  • Original air date: Thursday, June 23, 2011
    Episode Description:
    Dr. Shepherd’s panel will look at ideas that most likely will require deep discussion and serious consideration by progressive thinkers in the postmodern world. What is the nature of God; or shall the very word God be abandoned? What makes a person or a religious movement Christian; or shall that word be abandoned, too? What is the fundamental nature of human consciousness? Are we good, bad or something else? How can we live in the real world, acknowledging honestly that humanity is capable of horrific evil, while still holding to the ideal of the imago Dei, the image of God, within each person? Shall we pray to God, with God, or as God? The panel will attempt to come up with a working list of controversial topics which progressive-minded people will face in the decades ahead.
  • Original air date: Friday, June 11, 2010
    Episode Description:
    The final two programs of the season will feature a potpourri of unanswered questions from  Rev. Dr. Tom Shepherd's mailbag, accumulated more than 15 years of writing the Q&A column in Unity Magazine. Sometimes a question will be redundant, perhaps recently answered. Other questions might not fit the theme or just may not work in the flow of the column. And there are always too many letters and emails to publish answers to every inquiry. Now, with the help of LTAI co-host Rev. Tom Thorpe and some distinguished panelists, Dr. Shepherd is ready to sort through the unanswered, unpublished letters and address these thorny issues head-on at last. (He even has a few good leftovers from his trip to Unity-U.K. two years ago.) Wide-ranging, unscripted and provocative as usual, the final two weeks might offer the best two programs of the season.
  • Original air date: Friday, June 04, 2010
    Episode Description:
    This week Let’s Talk About It features an animated discussion of Unity co-founder Myrtle Fillmore. While honoring her distinctively Unity point of view, Dr. Shepherd's panel takes a new look at the influence of Ms. Fillmore's Protestant heritage on her life and thought. What religio-cultural factors made her strongly anti-tobacco and pro-temperance? Did heart-based Wesleyan piety inspire her devotional life, and did an embedded Methodist theology shape Myrtle's views of God's Fatherhood and her beliefs about the centrality of Jesus? This week's guests include UI adjunct faculty member Manzel Berlin, who is researching an extensive book on Myrtle Fillmore. Co-hosted by UI Instructor, Rev. Tom Thorpe.
  • Original air date: Friday, May 28, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Eric Butterworth (1916–2003) was arguably the most popular and best-known senior minister serving a Unity church of his generation. Media superstar Oprah Winfrey has praised him. Unity students across generations have lauded him for clarity of thought and brightness of written word. When Eric Butterworth died in 2003, many Unity people said it was the end of an era. This week Dr. Shepherd's panel of distinguished guests will look at the Butterworth writings, with both a deep sense of respect for what he accomplished and a critical eye to what he actually said. What did Butterworth think about Jesus? What were his principles of biblical interpretation? Did he believe in God, and if so how did he understand the nature of that God? What kind of prayer did Butterworth consider effective and ineffective? Did he have anything to say about theological ethics or spiritual social action? Did he clearly oppose racism, sexism, homophobia? You are invited tune in and listen as Dr. Shepherd, Rev Tom Thorpe and the LTAI panel members scrub the window of theological reflection for a clear look at this giant who passed among us.
  • Original air date: Friday, May 21, 2010
    Episode Description:
    We have been promising you a program on James Dillet Freeman for several weeks now and this time we're ready! Our panelists include Mr. Freeman's longtime associate and friend Rosemary Fillmore Rhea. Jim Freeman is the only human poet whose writings are currently on the moon. In fact, he has been called the “Poet Laureate of the Moon” because two Apollo astronauts—first, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. and later James Irwin—took Freeman’s work with them for inspiration and spiritual comfort on their historic journeys to another world. Irwin actually left a microfilm copy of “I Am There” on the moon. Here on Earth, Jim Freeman’s work continues to be a mainstay of spiritual enrichment in the Unity movement and beyond. Dr. Shepherd’s panel of distinguished guests will read and offer commentary and critical analysis on some of the works of this great Unity teacher. You won’t want to miss this one ... finally airing this week!
  • Original air date: Friday, May 14, 2010
    Episode Description:
    May is “Celebrating Unity Authors” month on Let’s Talk About It. And we’re starting with one of the best. To our knowledge, James Dillet Freeman is the only human poet whose writings are currently on the moon. In fact, he has been called the “Poet Laureate of the Moon,” because two Apollo astronauts—first, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. and later James Irwin—took Freeman’s work with them for inspiration and spiritual comfort on their historic journeys to another world. Irwin actually left a microfilm copy of “I Am There” on the moon. Here on earth, Jim Freeman’s work continues to be a mainstay of spiritual enrichment in the Unity movement and beyond. This week Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s panel of distinguished guests will read and offer commentary and critical analysis on some of the works of this great Unity teacher. You won’t want to miss this one.
  • Original air date: Friday, April 30, 2010
    Episode Description:
    It is one of the strangest volumes in the biblical library, a totally bizarre, phantasmagoric, spiritual-acid-trip of a book. It is also one of the most popular parts of the Bible. Some people mistakenly called it the Book of Revelations or just Revelations, but in the earliest Greek manuscripts the book is actually titled The Revelation of John. Another title found in somewhat later manuscripts is The Revelation of the Theologian. There are too many interesting ideas inside to get hung up on the title. Even though it invokes a divine curse on anyone who adds to the text, The Book of Revelation wasn’t the last New Testament book to be written. To understand its message requires the skills of a historian, biblical theologian and allegorical interpreter. It’s a nifty book in which to create good metaphysical interpretations too. That’s our topic this week. And when we’re done, you’ll have everything you need to know to access the weirdly wonderful world of the Book of Revelation.
  • Original air date: Friday, April 23, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Global warming skeptics have succeeded in convincing a growing number of Americans that the climate is not changing. National Public Radio reports: “Over the past few months, polls show that fewer Americans say they believe humans are making the planet dangerously warmer, despite a raft of scientific reports that say otherwise. This puzzles many climate scientists—but not some social scientists, whose research suggests that facts may not be as important as one's beliefs.” What should religious organizations do about this threat to human survival? Should Unity issue a declaration warning about the role human civilization is playing in the changing climate of the planet? The topic this week on Let’s Talk About It is "Earth Day—Does anybody care anymore?”
  • Original air date: Friday, April 16, 2010
    Episode Description:
    In the modern world, advocates of pacifism and those who support the "just war" concept have been slugging it out for almost a century. Pacifists often say, to paraphrase Gandhi, that there are some things for which they are willing to die but nothing for which they are willing to kill. Advocates of the "just war" philosophy say that some causes are worth fighting for, even if it requires lethal force; Hitler and the Nazi holocaust are often mentioned by "just war" philosophers. This week on Let's Talk About It, Dr. Thomas Shepherd's panel of distinguished guests will consider the ethical, theological and political dimensions of this ongoing debate.
  • Original air date: Friday, April 02, 2010
    Episode Description:
    This is Holy Week. Followers of Jesus around the world are marking off the days until the arrival of the greatest holiday of the Christian calendar, Easter. Well, not all Churches celebrate Easter this week, but following the tradition of the Western church brings the commemoration of the passion, death and resurrection experience during this week. Most of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians look to Easter as a solemn occasion. Even some churches where Jesus is seldom mentioned often give a begrudging nod toward the cross at Jerusalem during Holy Week, acknowledging that Easter isn’t just a spring festival leading to Earth Day, or a celebration of colored eggs and fluffy bunnies. What sense can we make of Holy Week today? Dr. Shepherd’s panel of scholars and students of the Bible will look at the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from historical, anthropological and metaphysical perspectives. This discussion might change the way you look at Easter too.
  • Original air date: Friday, March 26, 2010
    Episode Description:
    March is Jesus Month on Let's Talk About It. What about those guys and gals who hung out with the Man of Nazareth? Some were ordinary working people—fishermen, tradesmen, perhaps even house servants or working women. Others were apparently better educated, like Judas and Matthew. What do we know about them, and what insights do the snapshots of the disciples provided by the Gospel authors—who were not themselves first generation apostles—offer for the modern reader? For example, why are the disciples almost always painted as blithering incompetents? And is there any historical, theological or metaphysical validity to Charles Fillmore’s identification of the Twelve Powers of Man with the 12 shadowy figures from the ancient past? LTAI's panel of scholars and students of the Bible will ask these and other questions as they consider "Jesus and His Disciples” on this week’s program.
  • Original air date: Friday, March 19, 2010
    Episode Description:
    March is Jesus Month on Let's Talk About It. The topic for LTAI's this week is "Miracle Stories Featuring Jesus of Nazareth.” Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s distinguished panel of biblical scholars and students of scripture will look at the nature of supernaturalism in the Hebraic and Hellenistic worldview, asking whether some “miracle” stories can be explained in naturalistic terms. They will also consider the ethical implications of divinely appointed miracle-working. Why heal one person or raise that man’s child from the grave, when so many others go without heavenly assistance? The Christological questions will be even more profound. Did the earliest disciples of Jesus actually believe he was God in their midst? What was the first-century church saying about the development of the "Christ of faith?" Did Jesus really have the power to work wonders? Don’t miss this one!
  • Original air date: Friday, March 12, 2010
    Episode Description:
    March is Jesus Month on Let's Talk About It. During the month of March, Dr. Shepherd will introduce new ideas about Christology from his upcoming (Unity) book as his distinguished  panel searches for ideas about Jesus that make sense to a postmodern world. This week's topic is the Parables. Why did Luke alone tell the stories of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son? What sense can anyone make of the bizarre parable, told by Matthew and Luke, about the demon that leaves a man's consciousness but returns later with seven devils worse than himself? And why did Jesus speak in parables rather than long ethical discourses in the manner of the Greeks or thundering sermons, like the Hebrew prophets? LTAI 's panel of scholars and students of the Bible will ask these and other questions as they consider "The Parables for Postmodern Skeptics.” 
  • Original air date: Friday, March 05, 2010
    Episode Description:
    March is Jesus Month on Let's Talk About It. If a team of visiting scholars from another planet decided to look into the central figure in Christianity, they would quickly discover a baffling array of Jesuses offered by a bewildering marketplace of “Christian” groups. They might conclude there is no central organizing principle which unites the disparate Jesus images after finding the suffering, redeeming Jesus of Roman Catholicism beside the sin-busting Jesus of American fundamentalism and the mystical Jesus of Quaker spirituality, the status-quo-shaking Jesus of feminist theology, the patriotic-triumphant Jesus of Mormonism and a suburban Protestant Jesus, as well as the provocative Jesus of New Testament scholarship and the prophetic Jesus of black liberation theology. There was only one historic Jesus. But none of our Jesus models have ever coincided, not even during his earthly ministry. In March, Dr. Shepherd will introduce new ideas about Christology from his upcoming book as his distinguished panel searches for ideas about Jesus that make sense to a postmodern world.
  • Original air date: Friday, February 26, 2010
    Episode Description:
    His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the great spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is known worldwide simply as the Dalai Lama. He has written a grand summation of the most important things in life, which includes these words: “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.” Buddhism generally understands love as compassion for all sentient beings and, paradoxically, detachment from desire itself. Christian love is about forgiveness and altruism; there is a self-sacrificial tone to the love of God in Jesus Christ. Yet there is much that Buddhists and Christians share in common. Compassion, kindness, and selflessness. This week Dr. Shepherd looks at what Christians can learn from their Buddhist counterparts as his panel of distinguished guests discusses 19 “Lenten Lessons From the Dalai Lama.”
  • Original air date: Friday, February 19, 2010
    Episode Description:
    What’s your favorite religious joke? Hopefully, it’s something you could repeat from the pulpit on a Sunday morning! What is the nature of humor, and where in the Bible is it found? Does God have a sense of humor, or is there too much tragedy in the world for that question not to be offensive? Can we laugh in the face of disaster without seeming airy-faerie or disconnected with reality? This week Dr. Shepherd’s panel will tell some good ones and discuss the nature of humor as a spiritual discipline.
  • Original air date: Friday, February 12, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Love isn’t the same as eternal romance, like Hollywood pretends. But another point is that love comes in more than one variety. The answer to “What is love?” depends on the context. We don’t love our children the same way we love our country. We certainly don’t love friends and neighbors the same way we love husbands and wives, unless we’re behaving like characters in a tawdry novel. What about that obnoxious so-and-so at work? How about friends and family who have been cruel? How can we “love” people who are prejudiced against us, or members of a group who stand against everything we cherish? When Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” how far did he intend for that command to stretch? Some would say infinitely. Yet would Jesus insist that Jewish Holocaust survivors or freed slaves after the American Civil War were ethically required to love their persecutors? The question is not as clear as a first glimpse might suggest. This week Dr. Shepherd’s panel will consider the four types of love suggested by four biblical era words: hesed, philia, eros and agape. Tune in and be better equipped for Valentine’s Day!
  • Original air date: Friday, February 05, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Have you made New Year’s resolutions in previous years but the changes you looked for never came into focus? Maybe you need a new set of lenses! Dr. Shepherd’s panel will explore some important concepts that shape the lenses through which people look at their lives: worldview, embedded theology, ethnocentrism and the zeitgeist. Charles Fillmore called for a similar assessment when he spoke of the need to reform our human race consciousness. “Love and justice are mighty powers, and all things must eventually come under their influence, because even a few men and women of right motive can, by right thinking and consequent just action, introduce these ideas into the race consciousness and pave the way for their universal adoption” (Prosperity, p.150). This is Internet radio, but we’re certain you’ll see better after hearing LTAI this week.
  • Original air date: Friday, January 29, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Young people today have a saying when facing a problem: “It’s all good.” This Zen-like response to life’s exigencies can reflect either optimism or fatalism, depending on the theology of the speaker. But can we truly say “It’s all good” when an earthquake devastates the nation of Haiti or a person we love is diagnosed with a terminal disease? How do we square a belief in God as One Presence/One Power, Omnipotent Good, with a world in which suffering is the daily lot of millions? This week, Dr. Shepherd’s Let’s Talk About It panel will address this most ancient of all religious questions.
  • Original air date: Friday, January 22, 2010
    Episode Description:
    Have you seen the eight-foot tall, Druid-blue aliens who sound like hybrid clones made from DNA donated by Al Gore, Jet Li and Deepak Chopra? Without giving the whole plot away—in case you are one of a half-dozen Unity people on the planet who hasn't seen Avatar yet—this week Dr. Shepherd and his panel of distinguished guests will take a look at good movies with a spiritual theme, especially the new 3-D sci-fi epic. Avatar raises ecological issues about the conflict between industrial economies and simpler societies. The film also looks seriously at theological anthropology (i.e., what is the real nature of personhood?), strongly suggests the scientific reality of omnipresent Spirit, and dramatizes the conflict of individual rights versus societal needs. Avatar resists the temptation to simply picture people as good and evil, while raising the age-old problem of exploitation of the weak by the powerful. If you want to hear Unity scholars and thinkers review the Avatar phenomenon, you won’t want to miss this one.
  • Original air date: Friday, January 15, 2010
    Episode Description:
    “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” Those prophetic words were spoken almost five decades ago by a theologian, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although best known for his work in the civil rights and peace movements of mid-20th century America, which earned him the Nobel Prize and an assassin’s bullet, King was also a distinguished academic thinker who had a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University. Today, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is memorized by school children, invoked by preachers, and recited by politicians courting the African-American vote. Even though Americans have elected a black president of the United States, how far has Dr. King’s native land progressed toward achieving his lofty vision of a society which judges people by “the content of their character” and looks at race and ethnicity as an asset rather than a liability? This week Dr. Shepherd’s distinguished guests—including former Kansas City Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Brooks—will discuss “The Dream Revisited” and take a critical look at “Race Relations in the Age of Obama.”
  • Original air date: Friday, December 18, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Christmas carols echo with their choruses; cards and packages display their images; sacred scripture of Judaism, Christianity and Islam testify to their reality. But are there really, really such things as angels? No humbug intended, but have you ever seen one? Why is it that some otherwise rational people, who would never affirm the existence of demons, have no problem believing in angels? This week Dr. Shepherd’s distinguished panel will take a close look at angelology and try to answer these questions and get new angles on the angels on LTAI.
  • Original air date: Friday, December 11, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Wondering what to do with all your spare time this holiday season? (Right. Neither are we.) Here’s something you can always stop and start up again—read a book! Remember books? … The place you went for information before the Internet?
  • Original air date: Friday, December 04, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Forget being in the Now, for now. Grab your diary and your wish book, and let’s talk good memories and secret hopes. And while you’re at it, look the pundits in the eye and shout, “Get thee behind me, Recession—it’s time for Christmas!” Not everything has to come in a velvet box or with a big price tag. Not every celebration has to be midnight mass at the cathedral. This week Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s panel of distinguished guests will take a look at holiday celebrations and great gifts, past and future. Tune in to LTAI to hear great memories and creative ideas to make this the best holiday season ever.
  • Original air date: Friday, November 27, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Psalm 137:4 asks: "How can I sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" The spiritually mature person knows that life is under no obligation to be fair. But how, then, shall we respond when life's journey takes us down the valley of the shadow, away from joy to a "foreign land" of adversity? This week Rev. Rob Robinson, senior minister of Unity Village Chapel, joins Dr. Tom's panel of distinguished guests to discuss how it is possible, despite circumstances, to "Praise the Lord, Anyway!"
  • Original air date: Friday, November 20, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Should justice be calibrated by principles of retribution, deterrence, social protection, correction, or rehabilitation? Every society establishes methods for dealing with citizens who murder innocent people or commit other heinous deeds, but many areas—such as the European Union—have abolished the death penalty. Shall the United States and other nations who still carry out capital punishment join them and end the practice of killing its killers? This week Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s panel of guests will discuss the ethical and theological implications of the ways in which societies respond to serious crime.
  • Original air date: Friday, November 13, 2009
    Episode Description:
    In his book Prosperity, published during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore wrote: “We cannot be very happy if we are poor, and nobody needs to be poor. It is a sin to be poor.” Unity ministers have been defending that remark for more than 70 years. Today the “Prosperity Gospel” has gone mainstream. Televangelist Joel Osteen regularly assures his audiences that God wants them to be happy and prosperous. Yet, surprisingly, some of Rev. Osteen’s harshest critics are not members of the Religious Right but progressive theologians, liberal Christian thinkers who question the morality of asking for personal wealth in a world where so much hunger and economic oppression persists. This week Rev. Dr. Robert Martin of Saint Paul School of Theology will join Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s panel of distinguished guests to consider the controversial “Prosperity Gospel” in 21st-century Christian thought.
  • Original air date: Friday, November 06, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Music is one of the oldest forms of religious celebration. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors danced around the fire at the end of the day, singing songs of the hunt and calling upon the Divine to bring success for tomorrow. Great compositions filled European cathedrals with majestic praise in musical form; serfs, slaves and tenant farmers sang of deliverance from bondage as they worked the fields. Yet sometime in Church history, music began to drift from the center of worship to become filler material that got you from one form of spoken word to the next. The Protestant church service has been uncharitably referred to as a “hymn sandwich” by modern reformers. Now there is a new wind stirring, bringing fresh music in the breeze. And not just among Metaphysical Christians—our friends in many other Protestant traditions are rediscovering the power of music as worship, and they are being joined in this melodious awakening by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and other communities as well. This week Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd and his panel of musically minded guests will discuss these new trends.
  • Original air date: Friday, October 30, 2009
    Episode Description:
    October 31 provides more to celebrate than just Halloween. It also marks the anniversary of the day in 1517 when an obscure German priest and professor of theology named Martin Luther wrote a list of critical points about the doctrine of the Church and nailed it to the door (bulletin board) at the Castle Church of Wittenberg University. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses were written in Latin and meant for scholarly discussion, but friends soon translated his arguments into German and other modern languages, and with the aid of the newly invented printing press, the work quickly circulated throughout Europe. Almost overnight, the monkish scholar had become unwilling leader of a massive uprising to reform the Church. The Protestant Reformation shook the Christian world, and it is probably fair to say that other reform movements, like Unity, would not be here without that innocent act of scholarly inquiry by Doctor Luther. In our time, retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong has called for a “New Reformation” in Christian thought. Is he right? What needs to be reformed, and what will a new Christianity updated for the 21st century look like? Join Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd and his panel as they wrestle with questions about a New Reformation on Let’s talk About It.
  • Original air date: Friday, October 23, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Spiritual healing has been a part of world religious traditions throughout history. The Hebrew Bible reports that Captain Naaman of Syria was cured of leprosy by Elisha the Prophet. Jesus essentially practiced a healing ministry everywhere he went. It is so central to the Gospels that one wonders if people came to the Sermon on the Mount primarily to hear him teach or to watch for a healing miracle or two. The Book of Acts says the apostles of Jesus also had healing gifts. Other religions describe similar gifts among the spiritually attuned. Muslim traditions record that Mohammed healed blindness and even a broken leg. The phenomenon cuts across the religious landscape—from Pentecostal healing services with “laying on of hands” to Roman Catholics making the pilgrimage to Lourdes for a miracle cure, many people still believe in the possibility of spiritual healing as an act of God in the physical world. Yet faith healing is not without its critics, and there have been notorious charlatans among those who minister to health-challenged believers. Join Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd and his guests as they look at issues and controversies in spiritual healing.
  • Original air date: Friday, October 16, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Nature hiking on a golden autumn day or meditating in a candlelit cathedral; attending midnight mass or praying at dawn; vision questing, Sufi dancing, centering prayer, walking a labyrinth, lighting incense sticks, chanting psalms or resting in the Silence—there has been an explosion of knowledge about the array of spiritual practices available to 21st-century people. This week Dr. Thomas Shepherd and a guest panel, representing several religious traditions, will discuss tips and techniques to discover peace and joy in a busy world.
  • Original air date: Friday, October 09, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Tune in for potentially the most controversial program yet! Is God to be found exclusively within, or can someone look to the night sky and pray to a God “out there” with equal effect? What about prayer for others—if God is only within us, what good does it do to offer prayer for someone else’s healing, help or encouragement? When we talk to God, are we really talking to ourselves? And if we are talking to ourselves, how far is that idea from the claims of philosophical atheists like Christopher Hitchens, whose latest book is titled God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything? Guests will include Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck, dean of Unity’s Spiritual Education and Enrichment program, and KartaPurkh Khalsa—who is a senior member of the Sikh religious community of Kansas City. Join Rev. Dr. Shepherd and his panel as they discuss a workable theology of prayer in this postmodern world.
  • Original air date: Friday, October 02, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Every generation since the ink first dried on the first copy of the Book of Revelation has believed they were living in the end times. Doomsday and/or the coming of the Kingdom of God has been predicted over 220 times just since the beginning of the Common Era. Now a new crop of end-is-near authors are making large claims—and large profits in book sales—about the new doomsday date in December 2012 when the Mayan calendar completes its cycle. Although New Age literature rhapsodizes about the coming transformation, legitimate scholars like Sandra Noble, executive director of a Mesoamerican research organization, have called the portrayal of December 2012 as a doomsday or cosmic-shift event “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.” This week Dr. Shepherd’s panel includes Mesoamerican and Unity biblical scholars as they consider the phenomenon of doomsday in the history and consciousness of humanity.
  • Original air date: Friday, September 25, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Science and religion have tried to answer the same question over the ages—what is going on out there in the universe, and how does it relate to me and my world? In earlier times, religious explanations have filled in the gap where human knowledge ended. The gods rolled up the night sky and peppered it with stars, then unfurled the day and rode their fiery chariot across the heavens to warm the earth. Sometimes great religious scholars led the way as science leaned more about our cosmos, and other times the church fought back against new knowledge as a threat to its established doctrines. Today religion and science continue dancing in the dark, sometimes as allies, sometimes as enemies. This week Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd and his panel of distinguished guests will consider the theme for the upcoming Lyceum 2009 academic conference at Unity Institute®, “Science and Religion: An Evolving Dialogue.”
  • Original air date: Friday, September 18, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd recalls how he became interested in this topic: "Early in my career as a military chaplain and pastoral counselor, I noticed that the couples who came to see me were usually in troubled relationships already. So, instead of continuing to function strictly as a spiritual emergency room for traumatized partners, I joined the growing number of ministers who practice preventive ministry among healthy couples. Working with chaplains from all sorts of denominations, I sponsored marriage enrichment retreats, taught ‘fair fighting’ techniques, and put together couples’ support groups. I quickly discovered that people were eager to improve their interactions with significant others before the post-nuptial love boat headed for the rocks. That’s what this week’s program is about—making good relationships better."
  • Original air date: Friday, September 11, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Eight years have passed since the savage attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and yet the radical Islamists are still angry, terrorists are still plotting.
  • Original air date: Friday, September 04, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Are you “spiritual, not religious?" Does this trendy new phrase really mean anything, other than a declaration that someone is not a participating member of a church, mosque or synagogue? How should people who are practicing members of a faith community respond to the challenge of the nonobservant among us? Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s guests will ask [and answer] the hard question: “What good is the church in a postmodern world?”
  • Original air date: Friday, August 28, 2009
    Episode Description:
    Senator Ted Kennedy, who himself suffers from a brain tumor, has repeatedly called for Congress to recognize that health care is a fundamental right rather than a privilege. But what about those who hold that it isn’t a right but a personal responsibility? Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s guests will wade into the ethical, political and theological implications of universal health care.
  • Original air date: Friday, August 21, 2009
    Episode Description:
    With the recent flap over President Barack Obama’s comments in the aftermath of the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, people are once again asking questions about racial equality in the United States. What are the religious, ethical and moral issues of race relations, and will we ever achieve true equality? Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd’s guests will wrestle with the social, political and theological implications of America’s status as a multiracial, multicultural society.

Host Bio

Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepherd is best known to Unity audiences as the author of the popular column That's a Good Question, which has run for 15 consecutive years in Unity Magazine®.

A retired U.S. Army chaplain and decorated Vietnam veteran, Dr. Shepherd has been in ministry since 1976. His best-selling book Friends in High Places traces the family tree of New Thought Christianity. His most recent books, Jesus 2.1 and Good Questions, are published by Unity Books.

He has also taught middle school for 10 years, run for public office in Georgia (and lost), driven a taxi in Idaho, flown helicopters in Southeast Asia and published two science fiction novels. Today "Dr. Tom" teaches historical and theological studies to candidates for the Unity ministry at Unity Institute® and Seminary. Like his Unity Magazine column, his program Let's Talk About It is edgy, controversial and full of lively, collegial exchanges.

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