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On this segment of Reports From The Front, two of Tim’s students, Helena and Carson, who are studying Communications at Biola University, discuss their recent experience on Unify America. They seized the opportunity to speak with their political opposites on contested issues, including abortion, and they speak with Tim and Rick about what it was like. Over the course of the conversation they also consider why it would be good for churches to take part in these Unify America discussions.

If this episode generates interest in Unify America, visit, and check out episode 90 where we speak with Abby Ferguson of Unify America.


Rick Langer: Welcome to the Winsome Conviction podcast. My name's Rick Langer. I'm a professor here at Biola, as well as in the Biblical Studies and Theology Department. I'm also the director of the Office of Faith and Learning. But what brings me here today is that I'm also the co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project, and a co-host of the Winsome Conviction podcast with my good friend Tim Muehlhoff.

Tim Muehlhoff: Rick, it's always great to do this podcast with you. One of our favorite segments that we do is called Reports from the Front, People Doing It Right.

Rick Langer: Because believe it or not, some people are actually doing it right. It's wonderful.

Tim Muehlhoff: And we never get that in the national headlines.

Rick Langer: Yep.

Tim Muehlhoff: Because we're dominated by the argument culture. Sensationalism really does sell newspapers, magazines, it gets you clicks. But behind the scenes, there are groups and organizations that we feel like absolutely are modeling Winsome Conviction principles. If you go back and archive our podcast, you'll see we did one entire podcast about a group called Unify America. We had on Abby Ferguson, who heads up with Unify the college division, partnerships with different universities. The cool thing about Unify America is our students would go fill out a very quick questionnaire, then they get paired with their political opposite somewhere in the United States. They set up a Zoom conversation, a one-hour Zoom conversation, where they talk about their differences, but also explore commonalities. You did it in one of your classes, right?

Rick Langer: Yeah. This is a great thing, because we so often talk about people kind of living in an echo chamber, where the people they hang out with are people who are like-minded. Our country has become more this way, where people are living in like-minded geographical regions. The other side, when you don't know them, it's really easy to objectify and demonize them. Then you have an incredible fear about what would happen if I actually had to talk to them. It's one of those things where in the darkness, all your fears, all your anxieties or whatever, seem larger. Unify America has put together this thing saying, "Hey. Let's bring it out into the light. Let's have a conversation with one of these people." One of the things that I know my students found as they did this was that it was way more positive than they thought it might be. A lot of the fears were just not that well-founded.

Tim Muehlhoff: What was the actual class? What was it called?

Rick Langer: I did it in my money, sex and power class.

Tim Muehlhoff: Wow. What a boring class.

Rick Langer: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Money, sex and power. That's amazing, Rick.

Rick Langer: In all cases, what I'm doing is saying money, sex and power are actually all things that derive from good gifts of God. If we hear those things as a vice list, then somehow Satan's already half won the battle. Right?

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah. That's very good.

Rick Langer: Our only imagination for these good gifts are bad things. But the way you make them good is actually by cultivating convictions. I have this whole big area in the class where they're cultivating convictions about issues related to money, sex and power, and how they can use those and enjoy those in a successful way. So the Unify America Challenge worked great for me, because there's a bunch of these kind of topics that come up in our political life, where we're disagreeing on what we do with money, sex and power.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, that's great.

Rick Langer: So it was a great way for it to work for me.

Tim Muehlhoff: Well, I get to teach in the comm department these senior seminars, independent topics. One that I've picked is marriage, which is just near and dear to my heart. Biola has a Center for Marriage & Relationships, and I've spoken at FamilyLife marriage conferences.

Rick Langer: Well, and I've heard you've had controversy over marriage in recent years in marriage-

Tim Muehlhoff: Controversy over how to define marriage and what makes it work. I so appreciate our communication department, that we dedicate a whole semester to talking to our students about marriage. One, how to define it from God's perspective. But then also like, what goes into picking a life partner? What is the purpose of marriage? Then very practical things like, how do you resolve conflict? How do you set out to forgive, and things like that? It was a great class, Rick. It was one of the most enjoyable classes, honestly, in my 19 years here at Biola University.

So when we were approached by Unify America, I immediately thought, "Well, this is perfect for the class, because of all the disagreements today about the nature of marriage, and how do you define it?" Right? So I went to my students and said, "Listen, I just think this is perfect for communication majors. I think this is what we really ought to do." They were willing. They were a little bit nervous. But it went really, really well, and so well that we wanted to invite two of those students. Instead of us talking about them, let's let them talk about their own perspective.

Rick Langer: There's a good idea.

Tim Muehlhoff: There's a great idea. Yeah.

Rick Langer: I love it. Let's hear it.

Tim Muehlhoff: I want to introduce to the podcast Helena West and Carson Cody. Helena, tell us a little bit about what year you are, where you're from. Then, Carson, why don't you follow up after Helena?

Helena: Yeah. I'm a junior at Biola, a comm major. I'm originally from California. I grew up in Hungary for a little while. My parents are missionaries. But now I'm back in California, going to school.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great. Carson.

Carson: I'm from Corona, California. This is actually my fifth year at Biola now, and it's just been a joy every single year I've been there.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great. Okay. So you took a class on marriage. I want to hear just a little bit your reactions when this professor sits down, introduces you to Unify America. You're going to have a conversation with your political opposite, and we're going to specifically transition to marriage. Helena, when I brought this to the class, what was your initial reaction when you heard about Unify America?

Helena: Oh, man. Well, you mentioned the class was a little bit nervous. I was very nervous. It was pretty nerve-racking. I've never been in a situation like this before. I'm not a debater by any means, so it was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I think you tried to tone it down a little bit to calm our nerves, which helped a lot going into it. Then after having been in it, that was a whole nother deal.

Tim Muehlhoff: Helena, can I ask specifically, what were you nervous about? When you envisioned this conversation, how did you envision it going with a one-hour Zoom conversation with your political opposite?

Helena: Mm-hmm. I imagined us just arguing. Which I'm not an arguer. I don't know why that would happen, but I think my brain just went to, "What's the worst that could happen?" Just sitting there, I think what scared me the most was just maybe feeling inadequate and uneducated. Having certain thoughts, and not being able to back them up. Or putting myself in a position of feeling like, "Oh, no. I can't answer this question," or whatever. Or, "They're going to think this about me. They're going to think that..." I had a lot of those thoughts running through my head.

Tim Muehlhoff: Did it add more that you were representing the Bible Institute of Los Angeles? I mean, was it more that you were a conservative Christian jumping into this?

Rick Langer: And the entire fate of Christendom was hanging on this conversation?

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Helena: Oh, yeah. No, definitely. I think if I was only just representing myself, then that would've been a whole nother situation. But I love my school, and I'm proud to be a Christian. So wanting to represent these things well, it definitely added a bit more pressure and nerves.

Tim Muehlhoff: Great. Well, Carson, what were going through your thoughts as you learned about Unify America, this challenge, and heading into that conversation?

Carson: Yeah. I was able to do two conversations. Before the first one, I actually do remember feeling the same way, that uneasiness, a bit of nerves. I think that, like what Helena said, it came from a fear of the unknown, a fear of the worst that could happen. But after I did that first one, moving into the second one, I felt a lot more comfortable. I felt like I was prepared, and I realized that there wasn't much to be nervous about from the beginning. I think you even said a statistic in class, that they've had over 1,000 conversations, and only one has gone bad in the entire thing. That kind of helped put my mind at ease a little bit.

Tim Muehlhoff: Well, Carson, thanks for mentioning that. But the statistic was actually 10,000, right?

Carson: Oh, yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, 10,000 conversations. They admitted that one kind of went sideways a little bit. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't what they were shooting for.

Rick Langer: It is interesting to think about that kind of a statistic relative to our own imagination. I think for a lot of us, we even thought, "Yeah, I bet they have a plan and all this," but would still be thinking there'd be a lot more volatility than I think we actually find. I think it's a wonderful thing for Unify America to create a structure. Where we get to have that kind of a discovery of like, "Hey. There's more area to occupy jointly. There's people I can actually talk to." So that's great. But anyhow.

Tim Muehlhoff: Before we get to the actual conversation, let me ask you this. As comm majors within the School of Fine Arts, how much do you think that has helped you moving into the conversation? If you remember in class, we actually worked through that Proverbs model of four different questions that we can ask to kind of structure a difficult conversation. Helena, as a comm major, and even getting some of that specific training heading in. Did that kind of help a little bit, to have a little bit of a strategy of how to structure the conversation?

Helena: Mm-hmm. I think definitely. Something that stuck with me as I went into the conversation was the four horsemen that you taught us within our marriage class. One of those just being how the conversation starts up is so crucial to how it will continue to go. I think that I kind of held onto that as I went into my conversation. Just thinking, "Okay. The first few seconds, if I'm friendly, if I'm nice. If I lead with listening and understanding, then that will set a tone for the whole conversation." I think that really helped me as I went into the conversation, as the conversation continued. I learned that in a comm class, and it definitely helped me. So I would say yes, for sure.

Tim Muehlhoff: Helena, just for our listeners, we're talking John Gottman, who's one of the top relational scholars in the world.

Helena: Yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: Rick, he makes this wild point that is true across all human communication. He said, "The first 30 seconds of a conversation sets the tone for the entire conversation." So that first 30 seconds needs to be really thought out, both the words you're going to use, but the tone that you adopt.

Rick Langer: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: We had worked through Gottman through the entire marriage class, but what a great nugget from one of the top relational communication scholars in the world. To say, "Think very deeply about how that conversation's going to start." Helena, great that you remembered that as you... So can I just ask what your first 30 seconds was? Literally, when you know the conversation goes live, Helena, what was your first 30 seconds? How did you even start this conversation?

Helena: I just went right in and started asking questions. I didn't want there to be awkward silence. So I just went in and said, "Hi. What's your name? I'm Helena." A little bit like the intro we did here, my major, what grade I was in. And then just started asking them, and tried to set a tone of just casualness. That it wasn't too scary, I guess. Because I think internally I was a little scared.

Tim Muehlhoff: Right, right.

Helena: So I was like, "If I put out that this is nice and easy and friendly, then that's how it should go." I think it worked.

Tim Muehlhoff: So it was well received by the other person?

Helena: Yes. Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great. Hey, what school was the other person from? Do you remember?

Helena: Ooh, I don't remember. I think it was in Tennessee was my first one, and then the other one was in Minnesota.

Tim Muehlhoff: Okay. Oh, that's great.

Helena: So both kind of east Midwest area.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's great. Okay, Carson. As a comm major, how much do you think that prepared you for this conversation? Even maybe that Proverbs model that we had talked through the class, right before we were going to do the Zoom conversations.

Carson: Yeah. I would say as a comm major, the biggest thing that has changed for me since I started is my overall confidence in speaking with people I may regularly be uncomfortable speaking to, if that makes sense. One of the biggest things I've learned that's helped me with this is perspective taking. Basically, the concept of this is being able to see why people believe what they believe. Growing up in a Christian family, going to Christian school my whole life, and now a Christian university, you can kind of get caught up in that Christian bubble, if you want to call it that. Where you're not really interacting too much with the outside. So being able to truly perspective take, and comprehend what someone believes is extremely important. And it's not just emotionally based. It's a logical base. You know?

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah. Oh, that sounds great. What was your first 30 seconds like? How did you start the conversation when you saw that light go on and this is live?

Carson: Yeah. I think we did start off with introductions. We were both kind of uneasy. At least the first time for sure, we were both uneasy. I had a student from Florida International, and she was a dietary and nutrition major. So we kind of had differences in background definitely. We did just start off with introductions, and then we went straight into the questions, but I didn't really feel like there was this awkward piece. Maybe if there was, it was right at the beginning, but then once we started, it kind of faded away.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, that's perfect. That's great. Okay, so now we actually get to the conversation. If I understand this correctly, you guys kind of worked through a survey. Helena, is that correct? That you were working through some set questions that kind of started the official conversation?

Helena: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. There were just a number of different questions you kind of clicked through. Then it asks you how much you agreed or disagreed on the topic, and then you just continue through that model.

Tim Muehlhoff: Do you remember some of the topics offhand?

Helena: I want to say one of the first ones was just the education that our police department gets.

Tim Muehlhoff: Police involvement. I mean, that sounds like an interesting topic to be part of that survey.

Helena: Yeah, it was very interesting. I found that with both of my conversation partners, we both agreed on just encouraging education among the police force. We kind of chatted about it, but then continued to move on. I didn't find much disagreement within the first few questions, which was kind of nice to just ease us into it.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah. Start that positive communication spiral, is what we've talked about before.

Rick Langer: Did you have ones later that you did disagree more on?

Helena: Yeah. It was a little bit later. For both of my conversation partners, it was the topic of abortion, so that one was a little more difficult. But with my second partner, I found that it was a lot easier, I guess, because I think I felt more comfortable in explaining what I believed. We both just took time to listen to each other, and have the other speak on what they thought, and then switched places. Then just kind of agreed to disagree, and continued on.

Tim Muehlhoff: But, Helena, let me point this out real quick, and even to our listeners. I mean, this is what I think people would be so fearful of. My goodness, we're going to talk abortion? I mean, I think for many of our listeners, abortion would be at the top of the list of, "Okay. This is where it's going to devolve into shouting at each other." People are going to get angry, because there's really a chasm between beliefs when it comes to pro-choice, pro-life. So even though you disagreed, you would say it didn't devolve into anything that made you feel uncomfortable, or people yelling at each other, or anything like that?

Helena: Yeah, no. It stayed super respectful. I think what helped is we just kind of almost took turns, and just explained, and then talked a little bit about it. And then just kind of smiled, and was like, "Okay. We think different things, and that's okay." And then just continued on. It really wasn't anything like I expected. I think I expected maybe for people to get annoyed, or argue and angry. That didn't happen at all, because I think we both knew we had different beliefs walking into it, and so we might run into it. With my second partner, we were actually a little bit excited that we disagreed on something, so we could talk about it.

Tim Muehlhoff: Carson, for you, let's go right to the abortion topic. What were you thinking when this comes up? The abortion issue, what were your thoughts, and then how did it actually go with both your conversational partners?

Carson: Yeah. Obviously, this is a super tough topic, especially with someone on the other side of you. I remember the first time I disagreed with my partner. I think that during these conversations, both sides want some form of unity through this. They're not trying to bash another person's beliefs. So kind of reminding myself of that, that was comforting, because I knew that this wasn't supposed to be a debate. It wasn't supposed to be a fight. But like I said earlier, it's about perspective taking, and seeing why someone believes something. So even though we disagreed, we were able to respect each other's beliefs. And kind of move on, and not allow it to dictate how the rest of the conversation went.

Tim Muehlhoff: What kind of things did you do, Carson, to show respect as you're listening to a view that may be running counter to your Christian perspective?

Carson: I think listening to truly hear what they have to say, rather than just thinking about what the next thing I have to say is. Because I know in my life that's something I really struggle with. So truly listening to what they have to say, and being intentional with that is just truly important. I know as a speaker, you know when people are doing that as listeners. When she gave me my turn to talk, it wasn't about, "Oh, you're wrong. This is why. Yada, yada, yada." It wasn't like that. It was, "Hey. I kind of understand. I actually do understand why you have those beliefs. It's actually, it comes from a good place. I do get that."

Rick Langer: Hey, Carson, let me just pick up on a couple of things you said, to just kind of highlight them. I appreciate you making the comment that, "I wanted to listen in order to actually hear them," not just to get to your own point. I appreciate you stopping to think, going, "I have a bit of a bent that way, to be thinking about the response." I think one of the things that's really good is to begin to know yourself a little bit.

To realize, "Huh, this is a natural inclination I have that doesn't actually serve well in some settings, at least." In some other places, it may work great. But to be self-aware and to be intentional about saying, "Okay. In this conversation, what can I do to keep from drifting into that gutter?" So I appreciate that heads up, self-awareness that you had about your own situation, and planning ahead to avoid kind of following into that. So that was great.

Carson: Absolutely, yeah. Thank you.

Tim Muehlhoff: Carson, I asked people to share in class after the conversations were over, the very next class. You shared something that I thought was really fascinating. One, it was really interesting that when the hour was up, the Zoom call didn't end. You could continue the conversation, right, Carson?

Carson: Yes, that is correct.

Tim Muehlhoff: That with one of them, you actually got a chance to talk to a conversational partner about some of the issues she was dealing with. Didn't you even pray for her at the very end of the conversation?

Carson: I did, yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: Now without portraying confidences, what led you to that decision to say, "I'm going to pray for this woman"?

Rick Langer: Tell us the story.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, tell us the story. That sounds really interesting.

Carson: Well, okay. I actually have to give the whole picture.

Tim Muehlhoff: Sure.

Carson: When I had the original conversation, my first conversation, I used my main email. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to use the same email for my second one. It didn't allow a duplicate email, so I had to use my secondary email. I made that one about a week or two weeks before my conversation. Then right after I did it, I made that appointment. I had no thought of it until the day of. I'm not someone who overtly tries to spiritualize everything, and tries to say, "Oh, God's moving in every single situation." But I will say that there was a moment where I was sitting down that Thursday, and it just popped into my head where I was like, "Oh, I have a conversation today."

It was super weird. I totally felt like it was the Holy Spirit, and I was like, "Wow. That was kind of weird." So I moved into the conversation. This is a student from High Point University in North Carolina, I believe. It was actually interesting, because we agreed on almost every topic. At the end, we kind of got talking about faith. She knew I was a Christian, and she was saying that there was a period in her life where she was really on fire for Jesus in high school. She worked camps, and she was just so on fire. Ever since she's been in college so far, she hasn't really been close to God, from what she told me.

I was actually commending her, because she was being honest, she was being forthcoming. I just said, "Jesus would love your realness, because so many times we want to just portray a certain image of ourselves." I encouraged her in her faith, and I did ultimately ask if I could pray for her. Which is something I don't really do, especially over calls or video chats or anything like that. So yeah, I felt really good after the conversation. I definitely didn't expect it to go that way beforehand.

Tim Muehlhoff: But she was receptive when you offered to pray?

Carson: Yes, absolutely.

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, that's great. That's really great, Carson. Helena, after the conversation's over, tell me the thoughts you were having. Did your confidence increase? Did you feel like, "Wow. I'd totally be up for doing that again"?

Helena: Yeah. I would say for sure after the first conversation, I had a lot more confidence. I think after having seen it go so well and so smoothly, I was like, "Oh, this isn't so hard. They're just a normal person like me." So having that knowledge, I felt a lot more confident going into my second conversation. I think that affected my second conversation too, because I went in and we started talking, and it was a little bit more casual than the first.

Then I actually got the opportunity within the conversation, we were just chatting so much, where I said, "Hey. I have some questions for you. Could I just ask my own questions? I'm doing this for a marriage class, and I'm wondering how you define marriage." She was super, super responsive to that, and was like, "Yeah, totally. Ask me whatever." So I felt a lot more confident in that area as well. To add on to the question you had asked Carson a little bit earlier, just about how we respected our partner. I think nonverbal communication was super important to me within the conversation, because it's so heavily based on verbal communication.

But at the same time, they're watching you through that screen, and they see how you react to things they're saying. I would say, especially with these types of conversations, you're watching to see if something that you say is going to tick off the other person or something. So just sitting there and having kind of an open sense of nonverbal communication, with a smile or whatever it is, or nodding, and actually showing them that you are listening is super important. And I think helped encourage my partners to continue talking and sharing what they believe too.

Tim Muehlhoff: Helena, so much of research would back up what you're saying. So much so that we actually offer an entire class on nonverbal communication taught by one of our best communication professors, Dr. Arianna Molloy. Yeah. The nonverbals can either sink that ship pretty quick, if the nonverbals aren't matching your verbals. So yeah, that's a great observation. That in a Zoom call, you could have really undone much of the positiveness by just negative nonverbals.

Rick Langer: Let me just ask both of you guys this question. When you have these conversations with people who disagree with you, one of the things that can sometimes... One of the fears we have is it will suddenly lead you to doubt or have problems with your convictions. A different thing that can happen is that you suddenly realize, "Oh, I need to learn more." Or you may find that, "Hey. Actually talking about this strengthened my convictions." I'm just curious. Carson, why don't you go first, but just share a little bit about the impact this had on your own sense of convictions on the different matters that you talked about.

Carson: Yeah. I would say after the conversation, I felt pretty strong in my convictions. There's definitely stuff I learned from these conversations. I didn't just walk away without taking anything away. But I would say that I was definitely happy with how the things went, and how I represented myself as a believer. Yeah. I would say that it went well in that regard.

Tim Muehlhoff: How about you, Helena?

Helena: Yeah. I would say I felt kind of half-and-half of just a conviction of, "Oh, I want to know more about this topic to be able to represent myself even more strongly." Just an encouragement of, hey, these are things I believe, and this is giving me such a perfect opportunity to represent myself well and represent Jesus well. So kind of putting what it teaches us in the Bible to putting it right into context and into action was kind of encouraging, kind of fun. Encouraged my faith, for sure.

Tim Muehlhoff: Kind of fun. You don't expect to hear that in today's argument culture, which I think is such a great exercise. Okay. Let's wrap it up with this question. I mentioned that we had Abby Ferguson on from Unify America. She made an interesting comment that I really want to get your perspective on, both of you. She said she's having a really hard time getting churches and Christian universities to actually take a part in Unify America and do these Zoom conversations. I just want to hear from both of you, why do you think that's the case, that churches are passing on this opportunity? Carson, what do you think?

Carson: I mean, that's obviously a really good question. I think there's a bit of fear of maybe misrepresenting Christianity. But I think even more than that, it might be a deeper call of not wanting to answer the call. I wish that more churches and universities would be open to this, because I think there's so many benefits as believers from this. Taking it on as college students later in life, and being able to have conversations. Because like Helena and I both said, the second time the conversation came, we felt a lot more comfortable. That's what happens when you're able to have these conversations. These things, they carry on with you later in life. I feel like it adds so many tools to the toolbox. You may not see it right away, but I think there's so many pros to it.

Tim Muehlhoff: Helena, what do you think? Why are churches saying, "No, we're not going to do this"?

Helena: Yeah. The first thing that comes to mind really is just the fear of the unknown that can be so crippling. I mean, I had that just for me. So I could imagine churches kind of thinking the same thing, of just, "I don't know how this would really go," and whatnot. So you really don't know how to handle it and what to expect until you're in it. So I would encourage churches, give it a shot. Carson and I, I mean we were kind of forced to give it a shot through our class.

Tim Muehlhoff: Who did that?

Helena: But I'm super thankful.

Tim Muehlhoff: Who made you do that? Come on.

Helena: I don't know, some crazy professor. But I'm glad that we got the opportunity to do it, because it definitely strengthened my communication skills and listening skills. I think that's something that Christians everywhere should be sharpening their skills with.

Rick Langer: I would add that one of the things I think helps do things like that is a structure. When you think about this with churches or other groups. Tim and I spend a lot of time talking with different groups. It's often a good group activity. You might just have a small group Bible study or something, and say, "Okay, guys. Here's this thing that's going on. How about if we all agree that our homework this week would be to sign up for this Unify Challenge? Then we're going to do it, and then we're going to talk with each other about how it went."

There's some of those kind of things that are really easy to do, but we tend not to do them alone. But if you get just a little bit of structure, be it maybe some draconian professor who's requiring me to do this at the risk of a bad grade. Or just simply a little bit of a project that everyone in the group looks at each other and says, "Okay. Let's give it a whirl," you can get over that hump. I would just encourage people to think of, "Huh. Is there some way I can tap into that resource of some other people to give me the motivation to help hold me accountable, even to give it a try?"

Tim Muehlhoff: Hey, that's a great point. Comment real quick. Carson. Was it comforting to know that it wasn't just you doing this, but your entire class was doing this together?

Carson: Absolutely. I think that being able to encourage one another in our conversations and different things that went on is really helpful. After each conversation, we had an open kind of forum in our class, where anyone could just talk about how things went. It was really encouraging to hear different perspectives, and being able to take those topics into my second conversation.

Tim Muehlhoff: Listen, if you're listening to this and you're thinking, "Okay. You've got my interest. I am interested in this," let me just recommend two things. One, absolutely go back to a previous podcast we did with Abby Ferguson. We do an in-depth dive into the history of Unify America, the results that they've been doing, both on the college level and on the community level. You can find them at They lay everything out about who they are and what they call the Unify Challenge.

You can also go to our website. We've also posted this on the website, because we have formed a partnership with Unify America. We actually have some students that are on the student advisory board for Unify America, because they want to hear the thoughts of everybody from both a liberal perspective, conservative perspective, and a religious perspective. Helena, you're on the student advisory board. Is this correct?

Helena: Yes, exactly.

Tim Muehlhoff: Have you been contacted yet? Have you guys met yet?

Helena: No, not yet.

Tim Muehlhoff: Okay. But Helena is going to serve just representing Biola's perspective, and I'm so glad that they're wanting to hear that. Yeah, so go check out our website. You can listen to the previous podcast, as well as we have a link to Unify America.

Rick Langer: Before we wrap it, any other kind of last word, parting shot, word of counsel you'd give to somebody else, from either of you guys? Carson, why don't you go first?

Carson: Yeah. I would say that churches and universities should definitely be open to this. Definitely look into it. Anyone listening, I think that if this is something that you feel convicted on, just give it a shot. Give it a try. I promise that it'll be very beneficial.

Rick Langer: How about you, Helena?

Helena: Yeah. Yeah. I would definitely second what Carson said. If it's something that interests you, just go for it. Grab a friend, do it. I think having the class, knowing the rest of my class was doing it with me, and having my professor who had already done it and was just very encouraging, was super, super helpful within the whole process. Then being able to just have these conversations, and talk about how it went. Especially hearing Carson's story about how he was able to pray for the lady was super encouraging to me, and has me look forward to possibly doing it in the future as well.

Tim Muehlhoff: I love how this fits, Rick, into our mission statement, that we are about cultivating students in mind and character to engage the world. Not to hide from the world, but to engage the world. That's honestly what I love about my major, is the study of communication, be it written communication, journalism, PR. I mean, let's be honest. If you were to ask a lot of Christians, Christianity has a PR problem that we're seen as being overly judgmental, hard-hearted. Then of course communication theory. I'm just pleased that for both of us, when Abby contacted us from Unify America, and she said, "Listen. Is there any way?" I mean imagine, based on that interview, Rick, she's thinking, "No."

Rick Langer: Is there any way?

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, she's thinking, "No. I'm going to get another no." We were so quick to say yes, and now we're asking other faculty to join in. Helena, Carson, thank you so much for, one, doing this challenge, and then second, coming on our podcast.

Helena: Thank you so much.

Carson: Yeah. Thank you to both of you, really.

Tim Muehlhoff: Well. We really appreciate you guys.

Rick Langer: I'd like to thank all of our listeners too for joining us here at the Winsome Conviction podcast. We encourage you to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check us out also on the web, at You'll find our podcasts are there, but other resources as well that may be helpful for you, as you in effect try to communicate effectively in a world that's made that challenge very, very difficult. That you could be an influence for kind of spreading the love of Christ by carrying forward conversations in the manner of Christ. That's a real challenge, I think, in our culture, and a real opportunity. So thanks so much.