In this episode, Michael Gungor asks leading theologians, scholars, teachers two questions: “Does God exist,” and “Who or what is God?”Guests on this episode include, Richard Rohr, Diana Butler Bass, Amy-Jill Levine, Sharon Salzberg, Reza Aslan, Science Mike, William Matthews, and Hillary McBride.
Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.
Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the award-winning author of ten books, including Grounded: Finding God in the World —A Spiritual Revolution, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith, and Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.
Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science; she is also Affiliated Professor, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus; The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (co-authored with Douglas Knight); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (co-authored with Warren Carter), and the thirteen-volume edited Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writing. Her most recent volume is Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She has also just written, with noted children’s book author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Who Counts? 100 Sheep, Ten Coins, and Two Sons (a volume on the parables of Luke 15, designed for children). Dr. Levine is also the co-editor, with Marc Z. Brettler, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament, now in a second edition. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel, an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville, although she is often quite unorthodox.
Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including NY Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and her forthcoming release by Flatiron Books, Real Love. Renowned for her down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour.
Reza Aslan is an internationally renowned writer, commentator, professor, producer, and scholar of religions. His books, including his #1 New York Times Bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, have been translated into dozens of languages around the world. He is also a recipient of the prestigious James Joyce Award.