As a minister, one of my jobs is to remain always engaged in learning more—about religion, other faiths, the Bible, Jesus, and Unity teachings, as well as staying up-to-date with what spiritual leaders in the field are doing, saying, and writing. To this end, I follow a number of folks on social media that I enjoy and whose opinions I respect and trust. I may not agree with everything they say, but I want to keep up with the general discourse. I also, of course, have favorite authors and scholars I enjoy reading. I particularly enjoy progressive spiritual leaders and scholars who are not part of Unity, but whose beliefs and teachings are “Unity-adjacent,” meaning they are compatible with Unity teachings, or they amplify or expand my understanding of Unity teachings in some way.
In case it interests you, some of my favorites include: Richard Rohr, John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, John Pavlovitz, Gabby Bernstein, Barbara Brown Taylor, Mirabai Starr, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Glennon Doyle, Anne Lammott, Tara Brach, and Sharon Salzberg.
This week I discovered a new favorite—Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University and author of the book about Jesus’ parables I’ll be using for my series and class over the next four weeks.
Dr. Levine, who goes by “AJ,” is just delightful. She’s brilliant, she’s funny, and she’s full of heart. If you’d like to check her out and see why I like her, I think you’ll enjoy watching her “TheoTalk” (that’s like a TED Talk, but on religion/spirituality). It’s called “Life After Death: Jesus, Judaism, and Justice” and you can find it at https://youtu.be/AFy_jjP2WzU. She brings a wealth of knowledge, understanding, and lived experience to her uniquely-Jewish perspective on the teachings of Jesus.
I hope you will join me over the next four weeks as we delve into the parables of Jesus—both during our Sunday lessons as well as a class/discussion session after the service each week. I am finding this material very interesting and challenging and I look forward to what we will all learn together on this journey!