Craig Detwiler and John Marks
Courtesy Photo

In Santa Barbara, we rarely experience the type of religious conflict which is present not only internationally, but throughout much of the nation. While this conflict may not usually result in violence in the U.S., there’s certainly a divide between those who are very devout in their faiths and those who tend to live more secular lives.

That’s why John Marks, author of Reasons to Believe: One Man’s Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind, teamed up with college friend Craig Detwiler to explore the ways in which Evangelical Christianity interacts with secularism in America and within individuals.

Marks was raised as a Christian, and considered himself “born again” for many years. He went on to a journalistic career, and while reporting in the Balkans he saw horrors which caused a crisis of faith: how could the God he had always believed existed tolerate or allow such events? Many years later, after losing his job as a producer for 60 Minutes, he began to reevaluate what Evangelical Christianity meant in his life; the result was his book, and an entirely new direction for his career as a writer and reporter.

Craig Detwiler, a minister who found faith around the time that Marks lost his, approaches the issue of Christianity in America from a very different perspective. These two viewpoints, one of a man who lost his faith and another who believes, are expressed in Marks and Detweiler’s documentary, A Purple State of Mind. The film is a conversation between the two, ranging from their personal lives to larger questions, and fits into a roadshow they’ve been taking across the country. The goal of the tour is to extend the conversation between the two friends to as many people as will participate.

On Sunday, April 27, the Purple State of Mind Roadshow will be making a stop in Ojai. The event consists of a screening of the film, a question and answer session, and Marks reading from his book. The event is for anyone who has an interest; participants of many faiths and none at all have attended the Purple State of Mind events in ten cities.

Interestingly enough, the events have drawn praise not only from Evangelical Christians, but also from mainstream Christians and from what might be called liberal media. It’s a testament to Marks and Detweiler’s balanced presentation of the philosophical and lifestyle differences between Evangelicals and both mainstream Christians and secular Americans.

The Purple State of Mind Roadshow will be in Ojai on Sunday, April 27, at 4:30 pm, at the Ojai Playhouse, 145 E. Ojai Avenue. Call (805) 646-1011 for more information.


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