Craig Detweiler: Image Journal Artist of the Month

As we prepare for the 2012 relaunch of the Two Handed Warriors community under our new domain name we’re sending up trial balloons to gather feedback on various features. One issue is how to help members of the community get to know each other and the leaders of the movement. In the era of Two Handed Warriors we attempted to do this through interviews and features on two handed warrior leaders from the world of filmmaking, education, business, spiritual formation, etc. such as Jessica Reider, Jay Barnes, Margaret FeinbergBrian Bird, Scot McKnight, Monica MacerKevin Chesley, Dean Batali, etc.

A new feature we are considering is a weekly “column” highlighting a rotation of “Filmmaker of the Month,” “Educator of the Month,” “Faith Leader of the Month,” “Philanthropist of the Month,” etc. Image Journal does a great job on this kind of piece, and since Image Journal’s November artist of the month happens to be a member of the Two Handed Warrior Hollywood Community–Craig Detweiler–I thought I would run their piece on Craig for your consideration and feedback.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of being part of  two presentations on Faith and Filmmaking Craig did in San Francisco as part of the Evangelical Theological Association’s Theology and Culture dialogue.  As in every time I have ever heard Craig speak–Act One, CCCU, etc.–I was struck again by his remarkable ability to “reverse the hermeneutical flow” and allow film to help us better apprehend and interpret our faith.

Image, a literary and arts quarterly founded in 1989, is a unique forum for the best writing and artwork informed by—or grappling with—faith. Their focus has been on writing and visual artwork that embody a spiritual struggle, that seeks to strike a balance between tradition and a profound openness to the world. Each issue explores this relationship through outstanding fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, interviews, and dance. Image also features four-color reproductions of visual art. To read more about Image and its suite of programs, check out




Craig Detweiler

Commentator Andy Crouch calls Christians to what he terms “culture making.” He wants us to move away from being consumers and critics of culture toward being active creators of cultural goods, makers of everything from novels and laws to iPads and pea patches.

Filmmaker Craig Detweiler embodies this kind of life. While he is a commentator (he has written on the theology of film and video games), an academic (he directs the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine, where he is a professor), and a longtime writer of popular films, he is also emerging as a skillful and sensitive maker of documentaries.

His award-winning doc Purple State of Mind draws us into the particulars of the American social landscape through the idiosyncrasies of politics, friendship, and the dance of argument, by bringing together two college roommates whose lives and politics took very different paths. By focusing on this single relationship, the film pursues true dialogue and reconciliation between red and blue Americas who seldom attempt to talk to each other, preferring to satirize and condemn from a safe distance. The filmic voice is playful, honest, inquisitive, and gently persistent—with a dash of good-humored humility.

In his newest project, Detweiler turns his sights internationally, to parts of the world where people of different religions maintain a fragile community life together. In a mistrustful and suspicious age, his documentary work is a healthy reminder that believers don’t need to fear the engine of American culture that is Hollywood—that we can not only engage with it, but can contribute to it, and by our participation, shape it.

Current Projects

Growing up in the South made me curious about the things that divide us. In my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, it was the freeway. At Davidson College, it was railroad tracks. In both places, white folks didn’t live near black folks. Working with Urban Young Life, I walked into housing projects that many avoided. Not because the residents needed my help, but because I desperately needed their perspective on how things worked (or didn’t work!)…

Read Craig’s complete comments and biography on the Image Journal website.

Tomorrow: Craig’s Image piece, “The Myth of the Independent Film.”