Conference begs to #Disagree

The second annual Table Conference will feature diverse speakers to teach students how to communicate through civil discourse.


Evan Rosa, the CCT communications coordinator and Professor Tim Muehlhoff. The second annual Table Conference will feature diverse speakers to teach students how to communicate through civil discourse. | Marissa Osswald and Molli Kaptein/THE CHIMES

Savannah Melton, Writer

This year’s second annual Table Conference will be held March 20-21 and will center around disagreement, a topic inspired by one of Biola’s professors.

Tim Muehlhoff’s book, “I Beg to Differ”, inspired the theme, #Disagree, which navigates different conversations about truth, love and civil discourse. The conference, hosted by The Center for Christian Thought, spans over two days, offering a variety of seminars, keynotes and eight “big idea” conversations that allow two presenters to discuss different ideas in facilitated environments.

#Disagree offers practical tools for everyday life about how to not shy away from difficult conversations, how to have intellectual conversations, and be open minded about other people’s perspectives, said Evan Rosa, CCT’s communications coordinator.

“Disagreement is an inescapable fact of life. We can’t outrun, outsmart, or out-love it.  It’s here to stay. And, if we learn how to interact with it well, it can be a powerful resource for learning, for love, and even for growth into deep and abiding unity,” said Gregg Ten Elshof, CCT director and professor of philosophy.


The conference has a variety of distinguished speakers this year, including John Perkins, a civil rights activist who led school desegregation and witnessed the fatal shooting of his brother. Through it all, Perkins forgave the actions of those who wronged him and sought out reconciliation in his life. He has also been recognized by Switchfoot, who wrote the song, “The Sound,” about him.

Another distinguished speaker is Christena Cleveland, professor at Bethel University, who is a big voice in the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well as an advocate about the danger of civility.

“The speakers at #Disagree have insight that can help us to pry disagreement away from the vices which so often accompany it and to harness its power for good,” Elshof said. “This insight is badly needed in a world that seems increasingly incapable of fruitful engagement in the context of disagreement. If we can’t have gone with disagreement, we do well to learn how to flourish in its midst.”


Evan Rosa, the CCT’s communications coordinator, said they currently have many students registered for the conference, as well as Biola staff and community members. The CCT hopes to help provide resources for those who are not Christian scholars, but average Christians with the struggles of civil discourse.

The CCT was happy with last year’s Table Conference, Mind Your Heart, in that the participants formed a community, Rosa said. They wrestled with the big ideas the presenters spoke about, and formed friendships where they discussed the ideas presented in community.

The CCT hopes for the same results this year. With the help of diverse speakers, participants will engage in the struggles of real life, whether that be from discourse from the news or phone calls with loved ones, Rosa said.

Despite several students not hearing about the conference, many expressed their interest in attending. Public Relations sophomore Jared Breilein said that he thought #Disagree sounded interesting, but he would like to learn more about the conference before attending.

“I haven’t really heard about the conference before today, but the topic sounds interesting, so I would have to look into it,” Breilein said.


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