End the Stalemate: How to Have Hard Conversations with Tim Muehlhoff

by | Jun 17, 2024

End the Stalemate

Dr. Timothy Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at BIOLA University in California. He is also co-author of End the Stalemate: Move Past Cancel Culture to Meaningful Conversations along with his BIOLA colleague Sean McDowell. This book, which came out today, is an excellent resource for what to do when conversations feel stuck, as can often happen when discussing race. We encourage you to check out the book and hope you are helped by this conversation.

LINKS & SHOW NOTES:

  • This UWP Podcast Episode was produced by Josh Deng with editing by Roshane Ricketts.
  • You can buy End the Stalemate here.

Episode Transcript

Austin Suter (00:02.124) all the time and so I’m well acquainted with the self -consciousness that that produces. Alright, you good? Grace and peace, friends. Welcome back to United We Pray. I’m Austin Souter, joined today by Dr. Tim Muehlhoff. How are you, Tim? Tim Muehlhoff (00:17.006) I’m doing great, Austin. Thank you for having me on. Austin Suter (00:20.332) I’m really glad you were able to come on. I’m going to read your bio here because there’s a lot in it. You’ve done a lot, man. I just have to say that. Oh, is that it? Dr. Tim Muehlhoff earned his PhD at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Isaac will appreciate that. He’s a professor of communication at Biola University in California where he teaches classes on conflict resolution, apologetics, gender, and family communication. Tim Muehlhoff (00:26.094) That’s why I have no hair. That’s why my hair is gone, Austin. Yeah, that’s it. Yep. Austin Suter (00:48.044) He’s co -director of Biola’s winsome conviction project and co -host of the winsome conviction podcast where people with differing worldviews are brought on for engaging dialogue. Tim has written extensively in the area of cultural engagement, conflict resolution, including winsome conviction, disagreeing without dividing the church and winsome persuasion, Christian influence in a post -Christian world. The latter co -written with Biola professor Rick Langer. Both of those books received merit awards from Christianity Today. since completing his black belt. I did not know this about you. Since completing his black belt, Tim teaches verbal and physical self -defense at a domestic violence shelter in Orange, California. Tim and his wife Noreen live in Brie? Brie? Tim Muehlhoff (01:33.933) Bre – Brea. Austin Suter (01:35.628) Brea, Californian, have three sons, Michael, Jason, and Jeremy. Now he’s here today because he’s written a new book, In the Stale Mate, Move Past, Cancel Culture to Meaningful Conversations. And he’s written that with Biola colleague, Sean McDowell. It’s a fantastic book. We’re actually planning to release this podcast episode on the day the book is available. So if you’re listening to this, check out our social media channels or the show notes of this episode to see where you can get it. So again, Tim, thank you so much for coming on and thank you for this book. Tim Muehlhoff (02:05.899) Well, I really appreciate it, Austin. Sadly, we need it today. Unfortunately, a book like End the Stailmate, we need because people are getting in stalemates in their homes, where they work, in their churches, in their communities, and we’ve got to find a way of breaking free and having productive conversations. Austin Suter (02:24.556) Well, tell me a little bit more about that. What are the conditions you saw around you or experienced in your own life that made you want to write this book? Tim Muehlhoff (02:32.203) Well, you know, because I’m in academia, statistics kind of stand out to me. So consider these statistics. A couple of years ago, a survey was done. Ninety eight percent. Think of that. Think of that, Austin. In a time Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything, 98 percent of Americans would say we incivility is a threat to this country. Sixty seven percent would say we are at crisis levels of incivility based on a 2016 survey, nearly 33 % of people based on the 2016 presidential election have stopped talking to family members. And this is actually blending to the church, unfortunately. Christianity Today did a survey of pastors saying, if you could financially swing it, would you quit today? 43 % said, I’d quit today. When asked why, it’s how church members, talk to each other about race, politics, and gender, they’re just tired of all the acrimony. Austin Suter (03:38.508) Yeah, and I appreciate you making that point so clearly because this is not just a problem for those out there. This is affecting Christians as well who are meant to have the fruit of the Spirit, right? Tim Muehlhoff (03:48.008) Well, Austin, since co -directing the winsome conviction project, I would argue it’s so much easier to deal with non -Christians, help them resolve arguments because Christians do this very interesting thing. They point to chapter and verse in the Bible and they’ll say, no, no, no, no, no. The Bible clearly says about this issue. This is what Paul says. This is what Jesus says. And what happens is you disagree with that. You’re like, oh my goodness, the passage you just pointed to, I think, says the exact opposite of what you think Paul meant by that. And so we get into what the Greek means, the Hebrew means, and after a while, everybody thinks it’s a drop the mic moment when they can cite chapter and verse, but we’re really disagreeing with how we think Paul would answer certain questions or how Jesus would approach certain issues today. Austin Suter (04:41.58) It’s interesting that you bring up scripture as sort of a tool we twist to further division because you mentioned early in the book about how we can unhelpfully view conversations or disagreements primarily as like a data transfer. As long as we make our point with, you know, facts to back it up, then we should be good. That’s our point. Our point is made for us is explain why you think that’s not the most helpful way to think about. Tim Muehlhoff (04:46.502) Mmm. Tim Muehlhoff (05:09.061) Well, Austin, in addition to being a black belt, I’m so glad you mentioned that. That literally made my day. I teach communication. So there’s always been two different ways to view communication. One is what we call the transmission view, which is exactly as it sounds. I transmit to you information. And today we’re in the information age. We are literally bombarded with messages. One scholar said, it’s almost like you’re sitting down in one day watching 16 full length movies back to back to back to back to back, like 74 gigabytes of information, which 500 years ago, you would have gotten 74 gigabytes of information in your entire lifetime. And we’re getting that literally in one day. So sometimes we can make the mistake to think all you need is more information. Like for me to win my point, I’m going to quote this study. I’m going to mention this Ted talk. I’m going to mention what I read online as if more information is going to sway you. Now, I don’t want to, I don’t want to poo poo the transmission view. I mean, as Christians, we have a message we do want to transmit to people, of course, but I think the transmission view has fallen on some really hard times and we need to precede it. with another view of communication before we get to our content. Let me break that down just for a second. I love that you mentioned, I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. My kids were born cheering on the Tar Heels, Austin. And we hate, with a biblical hatred, Duke basketball. With a biblical hatred, we do not like that team, right? We don’t even mention that name in the household, okay? So my kids grew up with that. They grew up with UNC Chapel Hill stuffed basketballs. They had baby outfits. We watched games together as a family. So imagine if you’re trying to convince us, the Miohoff family, that Duke is actually the better basketball team or the better basketball transmission. What chance do you think any of that information is going to crack the Miohoff household when we have really… Tim Muehlhoff (07:25.796) brought our kids up with one constant message, the Tar Heels are better than the Duke Blue Devils. We have a technical word for that, it’s called my side bias, which means your information is not cracking our defenses. And I actually came across a study, Austin, that was fascinating, that I view your counter information as if I’m being physically attacked. So, isn’t that interesting? Like, Austin Suter (07:52.3) Yeah, that was fascinating. Tim Muehlhoff (07:55.556) They took participants, there were 40 of them, they put them in an MRI machine where they were charting that part of your brain that registers physical threat, it’s called the anterior insula, and then what they did is they read to you a political belief that you agreed with. Then they read five political beliefs that challenged that belief and the part of their brain that registers threat. Lit up like crazy, then they did an interesting thing. They showed the picture of a wild animal Like about to attack and that part of the brain also lit up So think about that Austin I’m sharing my political views with you my views on race my views on what the scripture says and you feel Threatened as if you’re about to be attacked by a wild animal. I was doing bike riding. There’s some great Mountain passes some hills right by where I live. I And a bobcat, Austin, crossed the path in front of my bike. Now, if it was a mountain lion, I would have been, I probably would have met Jesus already, okay, if it was a mountain lion. But it was a bobcat. It looked like a German shepherd, but it had cat -like features. But then it immediately went into the tall grass. I completely lost sight of this bobcat. Now, I knew not to get on my bike and ride like a mad person, because that would kick in his chase instinct. But I gotta tell you, the feeling I had walking my bike, trying to use my bike as a shield with that tall grass, my heart, I bet you my heart rate tripled. So imagine if this study is true, when you’re presenting your views to this person, they’re looking in the tall grass expecting a bobcat to attack them. There’s no way they’re gonna consider your information if that part of their brain is lighting up that also registers physical attack. Austin Suter (09:51.308) Yeah, and something you do in this book, you do a really good job showing the relationship between experience and the worldview. And I think that’s something sort of lacking in society because painting with a broad brush, ideological left can view experience as determinative. You are, for example, either oppressed or an oppressor. Ideological right can get it wrong in saying something like facts don’t care about your feelings as if your experience doesn’t matter at all. Tim Muehlhoff (09:58.18) Mmm. Austin Suter (10:17.932) You have a more compelling picture of how experience affects worldview. Can you explain that to us? Tim Muehlhoff (10:25.028) Yes. So the form of communication I think needs to proceed the transmission view is what we call the ritual view, which is we bond with each other first. Before you’re going to consider my information, we need to bond with each other. And a way that I can bond with you, Austin, is I need to understand all the experiences that went into your convictions. Like what shaped how you view an issue? Let me give you a, for instance, from college. I went to Eastern Michigan University and we played basketball. And one day we all realized we need new basketball shoes. So we go to this foot locker and my two friends walk in and I stop as if I’ve been hit by a force field. I literally can’t walk into the store. And my friend notices, walks back out and says to me, dude, what are you doing? I said, bro, I can’t go in. And I pointed to a man holding a picket sign. The employees were picketing foot locker at the time. My dad, Austin, was a factory worker in General Motors with GM, and I remember three times them going on strike. We didn’t have anything to eat, Austin, because there was no paycheck. So I remember waking up and there was food and milk on our doorstep that would get us through, and money that would get us through a week. My dad said to me, looking me right in the eye, you never cross another man’s picket line, ever. So here I am, Austin, I can’t walk into the store. And if you were to ask me, Tim, give me a complex understanding of unions, I’d be like, I don’t know what I think about unions, but my experience with my father has really shaped how I even approach the topic of unions. And I realize I’m kind of biased for them, but I honestly don’t know philosophically what I think about unions. So it’s so good when talking to a person to try to uncover those experiences. that have really shaped how they view information and different kind of issues. Austin Suter (12:27.884) Yeah, how does having that connection of not only how people operate, but then making that connection with someone and how they see the world, how does that change the pattern of argument from just rehearsing competing sets of facts? Tim Muehlhoff (12:40.1) I think it makes all the difference. For me not, so imagine you’re trying to make an argument and you are anti -union, right, Austin? And if you ignore that powerful experience with me and my father, right, as a young boy and him saying that to me, you never cross another man’s picket line. If you ignore that, what does that subtly communicate to me? I don’t really care about your life history. I don’t care about your story. We’re having a debate. And here are the facts about unions. But if you do jump in and say, oh man, Tim, that must have been a powerful, life -changing experience. Tell me more about that. Tell me more when your father went on strike. Like, what was it like opening that door and getting money? And did the money last? And you know what, it didn’t always last. I remember eating cereal, Austin, with water, because we didn’t have milk, because the money had. So you know what I mean? The more you take time, to understand the emotional component of my beliefs, that will hopefully lower my defenses so that now I can listen to what your concerns are about unions once you acknowledge my story. But sometimes we think acknowledgement is condoning, right? I listen to your story and somehow I’m condoning your beliefs and I just don’t think the two are equal. I think I can listen and empathize while not condoning. parts of your narrative that I honestly disagree with. Austin Suter (14:09.196) Let me ask you this, what role do preconceptions have in dooming conversations from the start? Tim Muehlhoff (14:16.15) Oh, it changes everything, Austin. It changes everything. Remember what the Proverbs say, life and death is in the power of the tongue. So let me give you a, for instance, I went to a conference, an interfaith conference, and I had a placard on for Biola, which is the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. We’re a very conservative evangelical university. And so we go to this place where there’s people of religious faiths, all different kinds, and I sit down and across from me, is a person, we’re doing these speed conversations, which was kind of an interesting idea, like in six minutes, let’s talk to each other. So I literally sit down. He looks at my name tag, Tim Yilhoff, Biola University. Here’s what he says. I’m tempted not to even talk to you. And I’m like, wow, that’s a weird reaction at an interfaith dialogue conference. I go, can I ask you why? He goes, yeah, my daughter is transitioning right now. to being a boy, and I already know all your arguments. I know everything you’re about to say, why you think that’s a bad idea, why I’m a bad parent, they’re too young. I know everything you’re about to say, and I’m tempted not even have this conversation. Austin, I never said a word. I said, hi, I’m Tim. He looked at my lanyard, and the conversation almost stopped right then. So that’s a preconceived notion of what a Biola faculty member is about to say. I like this one quote we include in the book. A Baptist said of an Episcopalian, I’m tempted not to talk to you based on what I think you’re about to say. So we actually close off conversations because I look at you and I got you pegged A to Z on what you’re gonna say about this issue or how you’re gonna vote. based on the place that you work, the place of worship, all those different kind of things. So preconceived notions can really shut down a conversation before you ever get a chance to address those stereotypes. Austin Suter (16:23.948) And it’s unfortunate because we do this all the time, as you say, and we do it based on things we know about you. So if I know Tim has this position on unions, that must mean I know what Tim thinks about gun control or race. And those things don’t always follow. Tim Muehlhoff (16:36.114) Yes, yes. No, not at all. Have you heard of the group Austin called Braver Angels? Okay, they’re an awesome group that tries to get Republicans and Democrats to talk about each other. The co -director of the Winston Conviction Project, Rick, we went to one of their conventions and you had to say in the beginning what your political leanings were, because they wanted to give you a blue lanyard or a red lanyard, right? Well, I put down, I’m an independent. I’m honestly an independent. Austin Suter (16:44.492) No. Tim Muehlhoff (17:09.074) And so they gave me a blue lanyard, which signified being a Democrat. Austin, it was an unbelievable exercise, because I would say I’m independent, probably leaning maybe more red -ish, you know what I mean? But immediately they would look at my blue lanyard and tell me everything about myself, how I voted, how I came down on race. how I came down on X, Y, and Z, and I never got a chance to even open my mouth. It was really fun to dispel some of those stereotypes very quickly to say, hey, I’m actually pro -life. And they were like, oh, oh, really? I’m like, yeah, because they thought I was blue. So again, we gotta find ways to end the stalemate by breaking free of this, I already know everything about you because I know where you worship, I know where you work. I know what movies you watch, I know what news program you get most of your news from. We gotta find ways of reshuffling the deck and surprising people. And the place to start with is me, obviously Austin, is I gotta stop judging people so quickly based on the limited information I have about that person. Austin Suter (18:23.084) What are some other things we can do to help ourselves have better conversations? Tim Muehlhoff (18:28.114) So we believe at the Winsome Conviction Project, it’s called the three conversation model that we explain in the book. The very first thing we need to do is what we call the pre -conversation. So there’s the pre -conversation, there’s the middle conversation, what we tend to think about. This is when you sit at Starbucks and actually have the conversation. Then there’s the post -conversation. How do you, after you finish that conversation, how do you relay that back to your friends? positively or negatively, charitably. So that pre -one though, to me, Austin, is everything, is I need to sit with the Lord and I need to say, God, make me open to other people. Like, I do have my convictions. I do believe the Bible says this, but am I open to different perspectives, at least just to consider that perspective? Remember the Proverbs, a wise man seeks out knowledge. So, is my heart ready? to enter this conversation, am I teachable at all when it comes to this conversation? I gotta be honest with you, sometimes I am not teachable on certain topics. I need to go before the Lord and soften my heart, show some humility. So we honestly believe the pre -conversation you do with you and the Lord and you’re evaluating your self -talk before you ever walk into that actual conversation. I’d probably start there with your listeners to say, How do you feel about this person you’re about to talk to? Because those negative emotions, it’s what they call an emotional contagion, it bleeds into the conversation. So that person already knows kinda how you feel about them subconsciously. Put it in popular vernacular, I get a good vibe from you, I get a bad vibe from you. And that happens at the subconscious level. Austin Suter (20:17.996) And I appreciate that so much of this book, which is about how to have better conversations, it’s not a book about winning arguments. It’s as much as anything a book about working on yourself, because that’s the part of the conversation you can control, right? You can control how you come into it and how you act during it. You also did really good… Please, please, go ahead. Tim Muehlhoff (20:32.53) Yes. Tim Muehlhoff (20:36.306) So can I give it, oh, go ahead. Well, so we need, we gotta practice, right? We have to practice doing this because we’re all embroiled in the argument culture, right? We’ve all been attuned to really my side bias. So with this book coming out, we have a website, we hired a talented web designer and we created something called endthestallmate .com. It’s a website, Austin, where you can go. and you’re going to watch a conversation between two Christians who really disagree. We’re going to start with politics because the presidential election is breathing down our necks. So you’re going to watch two Christians. One Christian is going to say, there’s no way as a Christian you can vote for President Trump. You simply can’t do it. The other Christian is going to say, no, you have to vote for President Trump. Even if he has rough edges, it’s his… Platform you need to vote for so you’re gonna sit and watch this the cool thing is you do it in the privacy of your own room So you can yell at the screen and have a really bad day and it doesn’t hurt your relationship But then we have you work through all those conversations It’s a time of prayer. It’s a time of heading in before you hit play How do you already feel about the two positions? Like you might say, okay, I’m with I’m with person a And person B’s out to lunch. Before you even hear the conversation, you’ll kind of reflect on that and then you hit play and then we’ll teach you through the book how to chart the argument and then where can be the common ground. If you can’t find any common ground, there might be something wrong with my perception. But the great thing about the website is you can have a bad day and nobody will hear you have a bad day. We can actually practice the things that we try to share in the book. Austin Suter (22:34.124) That sounds like a really helpful resource. Thank you for putting that together. I wanted to ask you, there’s a lot in the book about processing information, which you just alluded to, and you talk a lot about recognizing straw men. How can we better recognize straw men arguments when we hear them? Tim Muehlhoff (22:48.274) Mmm. Oh, Austin, this is what’s so discouraging today, right? We do not reflectively think about really complex issues, because this is exhausting, to be honest, right? It is so easy to be in my bubble where we all think alike. Like nobody’s pushing our thinking. So let me, in the book, I gave a real life example, this totally happened. I think it’d be really good for your listeners to hear. what certainly has to be a bogus argument, right? So, you know, in my inbox was this message that says, God are read, we’ve lost our minds. That’s what the message said. And that my friend who’s a strong Christian forward me this, and it’s an article that was written by a Christian criticizing Montana State University. Here’s the headline. Public university rules now prohibit offensive. facial expressions, that you can get suspended for negative facial expressions. Okay? So when you read that, what’s your reaction? Austin Suter (24:00.428) That sounds crazy. Tim Muehlhoff (24:01.682) That’s ridiculous. Like that is utterly ridiculous. How can a university believe something that, I’m gonna get suspended by making a negative face about your, right? Talk about cancel culture. All right, already my antenna should go up. Are people really that unreasonable? Like what do university actually seek to police non -verbals? Now I’ll give the person credit who wrote the article. I mean they were really slamming. Montana State University. So I clicked on the link and went right to their website. Okay, because I want to read it firsthand, not what somebody said about it. Here is the quote that you go to with the link. Civility is not a sign of weakness. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us JFK. I was like, okay, I kind of like that quote. So then I continued to read, right? This is what they say on their website. Students should treat each other with a certain set of expectations. Expectations include trust, talk to, not about others, listen, employ active listening by giving undivided attention to the speakers, and understand, view conflicts as a learning opportunity and responsibility. Be accountable and take ownership of all your communication. Now Austin, as you listen to that, what thoughts are going through your head as you read that? Austin Suter (25:35.404) That sounds like the book of Proverbs. Tim Muehlhoff (25:37.697) That sounds like the book of problems. Okay, but my antennas are still up because we have yet to talk about nonverbals. Okay, so maybe the bottom’s gonna drop out and what I thought was really reasonable turns kinda crazy. Well, they do address nonverbals. And here’s what they say about nonverbals, okay? When discussions become heated and passionate, they should never become mean, nasty, or vindictive in spoken, printed, emailed words or facial expressions. You know what, Austin, I like that. I’m a communication professor, so imagine you’re in my class, a public speaking class, and you’re giving your speech, and then later come up to me and say, Dr. Meyoff, I gotta tell you, it’s kinda discouraging that there’s a gentleman in the back that everything I said, he rolled his eyes. And I’d be like, he did what? I said, yeah, every time I spoke, he’d give me an eye roll. I’d say, well, you know what, let me talk to that student. So what would I say to that student, Austin? I’d say, listen, be a good audience member. I’m not saying you need to agree with her position on gun control or global warming, but no eye rolls. Arthur Brooks once said on our podcast, contempt is what’s killing this country and the sign of contempt is the eye roll. But let’s say Austin, that student said, hey, I’m sorry, Prof, I’m doing whatever I want. You can’t police me, I’m doing whatever I want. I’ll roll my head. I’ll roll my eyes if I want to roll my eyes. Now what would I do in that situation? Right? I’d probably send them to the chair. There’s a person over me and that’s the chair of the department. I would say to the chair, hey, I’ve approached this student. I do not think that’s appropriate. I think that’s inappropriate and I think it’s rude. Would you please talk to him? So let’s say the chair talked to the student. The student said, hey lady, I’m sorry man. You don’t get to tell me what to do. And I think at that point she’d get to say, Austin Suter (27:12.396) What would you do? Tim Muehlhoff (27:35.297) Hey, at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, sorry, there’s a code of conduct that you actually signed off on when you came here, and I think being disrespectful to other people’s views via your nonverbals is one of those. Guess what we’re doing, Austin? We’re literally doing Montana State University’s policy. But how is it presented? Right? This is what the guy wrote in the article. This is how he concludes his article. When George Orwell… famously wrote about a dystopian future where your every thought is monitored. He shouldn’t have said it in Great Britain. It would have been much more accurate that he instead wrote about American college campuses. Austin Suter (28:18.444) Yikes. Tim Muehlhoff (28:20.161) So when my antennas go up and I hear you say something, I think that is just the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Maybe I need to go one step deeper, because maybe it’s my problem, and if I researched a little bit more, it’d become a little bit more reasonable. So let’s not believe these, what do they call that, Austin, click bait, right? Let’s not do click bait. Austin Suter (28:44.523) Yeah. Tim Muehlhoff (28:47.681) Let’s afford people, I’m gonna give you a view dignity and make sure I understand it before I critique it. Because right now, I gotta tell ya, I think what you believe, I wanna say it’s ridiculous, but maybe I don’t understand it. Like explain it to me in a charitable way that I can interact. Does that make sense? My goodness, we don’t do that today. We just don’t do it when it comes to. Austin Suter (29:09.1) It makes total sense. Tim Muehlhoff (29:14.369) right? When it comes to critical race theory, when it comes to trans rights, when it comes to gun control, when it comes to, I could go on and on and on, all of us know it. All of us know the hot 100 list that Americans go after each other both inside and outside the church. Austin Suter (29:34.092) Can you share a personal example of a time where you had a disagreement with someone, but through this kind of listening and speaking were able to find common ground? Tim Muehlhoff (29:45.377) Yes. So I was on a panel, Austin, where a person mentioned benevolent sexism. Have you ever heard this term, benevolent sexism? Okay, I hadn’t either. I had never heard of it, right? And here’s how the person explained it. When you open the door as a man to a woman, you’re doing it benevolently, right? You’re wanting to be kind, polite, but… Austin Suter (29:57.196) No. No, I don’t know that term. Tim Muehlhoff (30:13.601) If you keep opening doors for women, women will never learn to open their door themselves. They’ll always be dependent on a man. Okay? It’s benevolent, but it’s sexism, right? Because you would only do that for a woman, right? Okay, now, let me just stop real quick. I don’t know your listeners, but if your listeners are listening and they’re going, that is ridiculous. That’s kind of my point. And I gotta be honest. I had that knee -jerk reaction. I have three boys. Austin, you better believe we taught the Milhoff boys to open doors for women, right? But you know, I stopped and I thought about that. It really haunted me. And I thought of this scenario. Let’s say I got on a crowded bus and there was a woman sitting there and she jumps up and offers her seat to me. How would I receive that? I would probably say, what, do you think I need your seat? Do you not think I’m a man? I should stand. I should give you my seat. And that stayed with me. Now listen, I’m not arguing for benevolent sexism. What I’m saying is there are times I have this knee -jerk reaction like, okay, that’s beyond the pale. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, okay, I can maybe see a little bit that maybe it’s good. to set up situations where women don’t always need to depend on the kindness of men or the power of men. By the way, Austin, at the end of the day, I’m opening the door for a woman, right? But now maybe I have a little bit more charity towards that position and realize I probably judged that pretty harshly and very quickly. And maybe a little bit more research would soften my view, even though I’m still gonna open doors for women. Austin Suter (32:10.796) I appreciate you sharing that example and given sort of the state of things that you relayed at the beginning of this conversation, I wanted to ask you kind of a personal question, which is, are you hopeful we can do better? Tim Muehlhoff (32:25.345) Can I be really honest? So before the Winsome Conviction Project, I would have been hopeful. But Austin, for the last four and a half years, I’ve seen churches explode. I’ve seen ministries almost crumble because of disagreements they cannot solve. And we went to Capitol Hill, and we were invited to Capitol Hill, and we met with a certain leadership. And we made a radical idea, Austin. We said, listen, could you even amidst your disagreements, get together socially, maybe, I don’t know, have coffee in the morning, maybe grab a meal. And one of the leading statesmen that was there said, have a meal. We don’t even share the same elevator with the other people. So Austin, I want to say after four and a half years of the Winston Conviction Project, there are some tools we can use, honestly. but this is what I love about your group, your ministry, we gotta pray for a revival. And it’s gotta start in the church. We have to pray God softens our hearts, because the way we’re treating fellow Christians online is we are literally attacking them and calling into question their faith, their fidelity to Jesus. So I would say I’m hopeful that maybe a revival can take place. But without that revival, I’m not sure how much people use techniques. That’s why in the book we really do talk about spiritual formation. And remember what Jesus said, from your heart, you speak. And so we’ve got to address the heart. So I would say I want to be hopeful God can move. But man, after four and a half years with the most bitter election, pronosticators are saying is coming our way this election. We better. God better grip our hearts and then we can use the tools that maybe we explore a little bit in our books. Austin Suter (34:27.82) Well, given that God can move, why don’t we close our time by praying that He would? I can open and you close. Tim Muehlhoff (34:33.875) I love that. I will. Austin Suter (34:36.78) Great. Father, thank you for this time. Thank you for folks like Tim and Sean, who are trying to equip Christians to have better conversations and better disagreements and be more humble. And Lord, we ask for your help. We ask for help for each of us here, each person listening, that we would be more humble, that we would be accurate in our disagreements in relaying the other side and not slandering. We pray that you would keep us from ungodly behavior like attacking those we disagree with but Lord as as we accept most of all we We we pray for revival we pray that you would move in power and that you would save and that that we would not continue the way we’ve been going. In Jesus’ name, amen. Tim Muehlhoff (35:27.603) Father, I so agree with Austin. I pray for a revival. Lord, your word says blessed are the peacemakers. They shall be called the children of God. And I pray that we take that seriously. I pray that we’d speak truth. We do it in love. I pray that we’d give a reason for the hope that is in us, but we do it with all gentleness and reverence. That when our enemies hungry, we’d feed them. Father, I pray against the dark powers right now. I pray right now that Satan is stirring up problems in Christian universities, Christian organizations, churches, and I rebuke him the powerful name of Jesus Christ. Father, thank you for Sean McDowell, his platform of having a YouTube channel where he brings together people who he knows he disagrees with, but does it in such a charitable way. I pray that that platform would increase. Lord, start with our own hearts. Revive us. Lord, thank you so much for this ministry. United we pray with Isaac Adams, with Austin, as they give leadership. Lord, increase their platform. But Father, we ask you to intervene. We ask you to work in our hearts that we can love as you loved. And we do disagree with people, but do it in a way that they can receive it. So we give you this book and just pray that it would find an audience and people would strongly consider how they’re speaking. So we do lift this up to you. We pray for a revival in Jesus’ name, amen. Austin Suter (37:06.252) Amen. Well, Tim, thank you so much for coming on. I think I called you Rick when I was praying. I don’t know what I did there. I got my winsome conviction wires crossed. Tim Muehlhoff (37:11.731) Hey, I’ll take that as a compliment, brother. I’ll take that as a compliment. And we so loved having you and Isaac at Biola. Honestly, Austin, students are still talking about it. They really are. And so you guys had a huge impact. Yep, we wanna have you. Austin Suter (37:23.436) I can’t wait to come back. Austin Suter (37:27.948) Well, friends, thank you so much for listening. Please check the show notes for links to get the book. And thank you again. Grace and peace.

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    United? We Pray is a ministry to help Christians pray and think about racial strife. We want to encourage Christians amid the strife to rely upon God in prayer. So our prayers can be informed, we strive to learn and write about race, racism and its effects, and theology. We aim to be biblical, beneficial, and clear in all our efforts. While we’re burdened for all racial strife, we focus on racial strife between Christians because of the unique privilege and stewardship God has given his people: to bear witness to Him and to love all people, especially one another (Gal. 6:10).

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