2017 Conference Details

Location: InterContinental Hotel, Dallas, TX

Pre-Conference: June 21

Main Conference: June 22–24

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Conference Theme: The Good Life

Among classical Christian educators, there is a lot of discussion about “the good life.” Teachers want students to heed the ancient philosophers’ call to live an examined life, one that is virtuous, contemplative and wise. Yet, there are many tensions and challenges as school communities seek to realize the principles and vision they promote. Often schools are institutions that feel hurried, overworked and exasperated. Thus the “good life” can be missed, or at least obscured, by the myriad of too many “good” pursuits.

What is the good life? Jesus said, “no one is good except God alone” (Mk. 10:18). That means that any conception of the good life is inseparable from God’s character and Will. Miroslav Volf said that the good life is “righteousness, peace, and joy,” which implies that the good life is not fully achieved by individuals. Rather, it implies a life that enriches and imparts good to others within the community. The good life must include habits and practices that are oriented toward the kingdom of God. As Dostoevsky observed, “the second half of man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.” What are these good habits? How do we instill them in our students and ingrain them in the culture of our schools? How do we embody the good life for our students and exemplify the things we teach?

The Society for Classical Learning invites classical Christian educators to join us at the 2017 summer conference to discuss these questions and the ways in which we can understand, pursue, and live the good life. We are honored to have Jamie Smith, Rod Dreher, David Kinnaman, and Joshua Gibbs lead the plenary sessions and help us frame this important conversation. We look forward to seeing you there and invite you to join the conversation.

Pre-Conference Tracks

  • The Dynamic and Disciplined Board
  • Starting & Leading Urban Classical Schools
  • Classical Christian Education 101
  • Math in Focus in the Grammar School

Plenary Speakers for SCL 2017

James. K. A. Smith

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview.  The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring  the Kingdom, his recent books include Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Who’s Afraid of Relativism? (2014), and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014).  His new book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, was just published by Brazos.

His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and First Things and periodicals such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  Smith is also a Senior Fellow of Cardus and serves as editor of Comment magazine.

Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher is a writer and journalist who focuses on Christianity and culture. He is a senior editor for The American Conservative magazine, and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, and its sequel, How Dante Can Save Your Life. His latest book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians In A Post-Christian Nation, contends that traditional Christians will have to become profoundly countercultural and communal for the faith to survive the coming darkness. Classical Christian education is a key part of that strategy. Rod lives with his wife Julie and three children in Baton Rouge, La., where his kids attend Sequitur Classical Academy, and his wife teaches in the grammar school. The Drehers are Orthodox Christians.

Joshua Gibbs

Josh Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs is the editor of FilmFisher, a frequent contributor at the CIRCE Institute, and a teacher of great books at Veritas School in Richmond, VA. He has been labeled “insane” by two Pulitzer Prize-winning poets and once abandoned a moving vehicle for fear of his life. He married a girl he fell in love with in high school and has two daughters, both of whom have seven names.

David Kinnaman


David Kinnaman is the author of the bestselling books Good Faith, You Lost Me and unChristian. He is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services. Since 1995, David has directed interviews with nearly one million individuals and overseen hundreds of U.S. and global research studies. He and his wife live in California with their three children.