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.
The Ongoing Cultural Conflict About Abortion
Dr. Shepherd’s special guest is Alison Dreith, interim director at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. NARAL’s mission is to guarantee women the right to make personal decisions regarding reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. She has had many positions in related fields, including working at a health center and as their grassroots organizer. Before coming to NARAL Missouri, she was the statewide organizer at Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, where she worked to support pro-choice candidates in key elections.
This program presents views that are challenging but not confrontational, political but nonpartisan, scientific-cultural but metaphysical-theological on a central issue of our times, as Dr. Shepherd asks some hard questions about abortion and the pro-choice povement. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, this interview will keep you better informed about the ongoing cultural war being waged about this highly controversial topic.
Inside Look at Juvenile Justice
Dr. Tom’s special guest is a seasoned veteran in the field of juvenile justice. Officer Blu Nicholson has 25 years' experience in the field of juvenile justice in both corrections and law enforcement. He received a bachelor's in criminal justice from Texas A&M and a master's in counseling from Amberton University. Officer Nicholson currently holds a State of Texas Master Peace Officer certification and a Texas Juvenile Probation Officer certification. Officer Nicholson has served as a juvenile probation officer for Henderson County, Texas, for the past 8 years. He is vice chair of the Athens ISD Crimestoppers Committee and member of the Safe Schools Committee. If you know kids who have had trouble with the law, this show will offer ideas about what you can do to help them avoid replaying the same old mistakes.
Inside Look at Hospital Chaplaincy
A middle-aged man is admitted to the hospital, suddenly plucked from familiar surroundings and given a bunk in a public building, like a stranger in a strange land. People stick him with needles, almost at whim. A train of uniformed workers swing in and out of his room like it was a station stop on a commuter line. Then another stranger arrives, announces herself as the chaplain, and asks, “How are you doing?” The patient immediately thinks: Great. They send in the angel of the Lord—am I going to die?
Dr. Tom Shepherd’s special guest this week is anything but an angel of death. Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, chaplain supervisor at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Chaplain Robertson works with men and women preparing for professional ministry, including Unity Institute® and Seminary students, to familiarize them with how to do ministry in a hospital setting. An ordained Nazarene minister, Chaplain Robertson holds a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His insights on the role of the clergy as a spiritual resource to hospital patients, staff, and administrators will give you a new appreciation for the people engaged in health care and those they serve. If you’ve ever visited a friend or relative in the hospital, or been hospitalized yourself, this show is for you.
Pacifism Versus the "Just War" Theory
Dr. Tom’s guest this week is John Lindsay-Poland, peace activist who has written about, researched, and organized action for human rights and the demilitarization of U.S. policy, especially in Latin America, for more than 30 years. From 1989 to 2014, Lindsay-Poland served the interfaith pacifist organization Fellowship of Reconciliation. Since May of 2015 he serves in the Wage Peace program of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). He is the author of several books including Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama. He was Editor and staff writer of Panamá Update, a quarterly publication from 1992 to 1999; Puerto Rico Update from 2000 to 2005; Colombia Update from 2006 to 2011; and the monthly Latin America Update from 2011 to 2014. He is now developing tools and curriculum to research militarism on behalf of activist campaigns.
Ethics of Health Care in the USA
Health care generates ongoing controversy in the United States, but what are the issues for biomedical ethics when insurance companies dictate what treatment may or may not be administered by withholding payment for necessary drugs, tests, or procedures? And where should our society spend its health care dollars—to sustain life at the ending stages or improve the whole quality of life by emphasis on wellness and disease prevention? What about allowing suffering patients with no hope of recovery the choice to end their lives painlessly?
Dr. Tom’s special guests are two Unity Institute® and Seminary students who will graduate in 2016 and become Unity ministers, both lively speakers who are uniquely qualified to speak about medical practicality and economics issues.
Keri King earned a bachelor's in nursing at Carroll College in Wisconsin. She worked as a clinical care/ICU nurse for more than 20 years and is still a practicing member of the nursing profession. She brings enormous practical knowledge to the discussion of patient care and medicine.
Richard Belous has a bachelor's from Columbia College and earned both a master's and Ph.D. from George Washington University. He went on to teach as adjunct faculty at GWU, a position he still holds. “Dr. Rick” was appointed chief economist for the United Way and serves as research advisor to Unity Worldwide Ministries.
Don’t miss this one. You will hear amazing insights about the way money and medicine interplay, and learn what a person of faith can do to help those who feel lost in the whirlwind of health care today.
Ministry to the Homeless and Imprisoned
Dr. Tom’s special guest this week is Episcopal Priest Denise Vaughn. She graduated from the University of South Florida in 1976 with a bachelor's in political science and minor in business. She earned her Master of Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and today serves the 158-year-old Grace Episcopal Church in Chillicothe, Missouri, as rector (senior minister). She cofounded a residential homeless shelter in Chillicothe.
Rev. Vaughn also works in prison ministry. She writes: “The work of the priest is as a pastor and teacher; proclaiming by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ; loving and serving the people among whom I work, caring alike for young, and old, strong and weak, rich and poor …”
You are invited to discover the battle to help the desperate being waged by people like Rev. Denise Vaughn, female Episcopal priest and frontline worker in spiritual social action.
Tom is humorous, provocative and has a folksy feel that makes his hosting warm and easy to appreciate. Plus, he brings on knowledgeable, interesting panelists. A great array of spiritually-related topics, I look forward to more people tuning into this informative, entertaining program.