This week on the text.soul.culture podcast, Dr. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics, is joined by our new president, Dr. Craig Detweiler, to talk about the journey that led him to The Seattle School. Our community has been in the process of getting to know Craig, and we’re excited for you to join that conversation today.

After growing up in North Carolina and working as a filmmaker, author, and teacher in Los Angeles, Craig says that he sees this move to Seattle as a sort of third act in his life—both personally and professionally. He and Derek talk about what stood out about The Seattle School, and about how his past work and formative experiences prepared him for this role.

Craig: “As I read the job description it was very strange, like ‘Oh, that is eerily similar to who I am and what I do.’ […] Then I waded through the website and saw layer and layer of intentionality, thoughtfulness, depth.”

Craig shares about how early encounters with films, including Casablanca and Raging Bull, inspired him to engage and tell stories, and to believe that God is often found in unexpected places. He and Derek reflect on the beauty in stories of hard-won redemption—another way Craig connected with the work of The Seattle School, where we believe that healing is rarely quick or easy, and that we can’t use Band-Aids for deep, systemic wounds.

Craig: “I believe that God can use unlikely people, places, and things to wake us up. That’s what film did for me.”

Derek and Craig also talk about the practicalities of a whole family adjusting to a big move, the challenges of making a home in a new place, and the speed and frenzy of our society, particularly in a tech hub like Seattle—themes that Craig was engaging before coming to Seattle, including in his books iGods and the upcoming Selfies. Craig shares how he resonates with the missionality of The Seattle School and the emphasis on sustainability and intentionality.

Derek: “The speed is stimulating but has some emptiness to it. Speed is not bad, but if you become intoxicated with the speed and lose quality of life or wholeness, then you feel more empty after you come down off the ride.”

Craig: “And here is a community that is doing, essentially, the opposite. They’re going slow, they’re going thoughtful, they’re going deep. It genuinely intrigued me.”


Go deeper with the books and movies that emerged in this conversation:

iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives
Selfies: Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age
Raging Bull