Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Purple State of Craig
Because the conversation continues….
One of the most profound pleasures of my life has been reaching across the aisle to John Marks at PurpleStateofMind.com.
Almost everything about this project was experimental and accidental. It started with John’s phone call, inviting me to take a look back at where we were as roommates at Davidson College. He was starting research for a book at the same moment I was itching to make a movie. We began in the wake of 2004 presidential election, when America seemed horribly divided along issues of faith and politics. We embarked on this journey with a far-fetched notion that thousands of people might join us in a conversation across the cultural divide. We aimed to air our differences, but keep it civil, to promote the best ideals of democracy. John and Ed Priddy supported our vision from the beginning. May their investment be rewarded in all kinds of ways.
As we toured the country with our film, Purple State of Mind, we met an amazing cross section of people. Our screenings generated passionate arguments and heartfelt tears. We made so many remarkable friends along the way, whether in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Texas, Colorado, or Idaho. That is perhaps the most tangible reward to emerge from this project.
This website heated up around the 2008 presidential campaign, when faith and hope seemingly coalesced around an unlikely winner. We will now sign off on the eve of the formal start of the 2012 presidential election process, the Iowa caucuses. Each month has been marked by another contender, rising to the fore, only to find Republican voters increasingly indifferent toward that rising (and falling) political star. Civility has seemingly been tossed aside due to the national economic panic that has gripped us since 2007-2008. As we rebuild our economy in light of 21st century realities, we still desperately need some new rules of engagement, a recovery of civic discourse that forges a way forward.
John and I have each changed jobs, houses, and towns since Purple State started. We find ourselves in a different stage of life, taken away from this forum by professional challenges. At Pepperdine University, we are launching a new masters program in media production. I am eager to invest in the next generation of storytellers and media entrepreneurs. John is also engaged in the media, making provocative programs about Jesus’ last 40 days on earth and the nature of evil. So the questions we brought to the Purple State project remain as vital as ever. We are thankful for all who have joined in with comments, suggestions, and debate. And to those who stumbled across PurpleStateofMind and listened in, we hope you’ve been enlarged by the conversation.
We love these United States, no matter how frayed and unkempt that unity may appear. We can get pretty shaggy as individuals as well, but even on our worst days, we remain committed to the conversation. Godspeed, Purple State! May you continue to find places of refuge, sanctuaries of sanity.
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