Rev Shirley Geer of Unity of the Eastern Shore in Alabama serves up a generous helping of spiritual teachings in her book, The Source Is With You. The book is a compilation of 24 of Rev Geer’s Sunday messages, including opening prayers, meditations, scripture verses and study questions. Though intended to be a workbook to help spiritual seekers “avoid any stumbling blocks” on their spiritual journey, its primary value for Unity ministers and leaders is likely in its vast array of lesson ideas, topics for discussion, stories, quotes, meditations and other supporting content.
Though ordained by the Universal Life Church, Rev Geer is well grounded in Unity and quotes the Fillmores, Eric Butterworth, Mary Kupferle and other Unity leaders with easy familiarity. For anyone new to Unity, the book covers many of the basics, including the five Unity principles, the Law of Mind Action/Law of Attraction, Emmet Fox’s Golden Key, Unity prosperity principles, God as One Power and One Presence, Jesus as Way Shower and more. These teachings are embedded in lessons with provocative titles such as “Proving God Exists,” “Spiritual Relationships,” “What Is Truth?” “Bless Your Money,” “Plug In and Turn On,” “Life Is Like an Ice Cream Churn” and “There Is Only One Message.” Each chapter begins with a prayer, then scripture verses, the lesson, a meditation, and finally, study questions.
The fact that the book is a compilation of Sunday lessons has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it is folksy, easy to read, practical and conversational. On the minus side, it is not tightly written and is somewhat unsophisticated. Moreover, the lessons are included as delivered, and were clearly aimed at Rev Geer’s congregation rather than a broader audience. This is most evident in references to specific events and celebrations occurring at the church, such as the potluck after the service or the church’s 20th anniversary. These references cause the reader to feel more like a witness to the Sunday service than a direct participant.
The author suggests the reader may want to “use this book as a now-and-then-thing and pick a topic that appeals to you.” I concur. It is not a book to be read straight through, just as one would not want to hear 24 Sunday lessons in a row.
For people who have been involved with Unity for awhile, there are few spiritual “aha’s” or revelations in Rev Geer’s book. Nevertheless, as a ministerial student, I found myself jotting down good sermon ideas gleaned from the book, and underlining some of Rev Geer’s lovely meditation and prayer passages.
My favorite part of the book, however, was the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. For example: “What do you say you’ll do, but not do? How are you fooling yourself?” “What are the values you adhere to, which determine how you act on a day-to-day basis?” “What emotional responses did you learn in childhood that you now want to adjust and change?” The questions alone are great idea generators for Sunday lessons or group discussion.
In sum, I will keep this book on my shelf as a ministry resource. Though it did not trigger any breakthrough insights for me, I did appreciate the useful examples of how to communicate Unity teachings and offer prayer and meditation in ways that will meet people “where they’re at.”