The REEL SPIRITUALITY INSTITUTE at Fuller Theological Seminary

Every month, we will feature a ministry within Los Angeles and spotlight their accomplishments in bringing faith and entertainment together. These groups, organizations and churches have already taken steps to embrace and utilize the media and teach others how to, as well.

The Reel Spirituality Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary brings pastors, filmmakers and television producers together to explore their common ground as influential storytellers. Reel Spirituality is a creative think-tank, committed to educating the church about Hollywood and deepening the entertainment industry's understanding of religious faith. The Institute's name comes from Professor Robert K. Johnston's seminal book, Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Baker, 2000). Johnston noted, "When we began, churches often kept movies at arms lengths. A decade later, more and more pastors are recognizing film as an important conversation partner with faith."

Featured guests at Reel Spirituality have ranged from filmmakers like Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty), Wes Craven (Scream), Stephen McEveety (Braveheart) and Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose), to leading thinkers like Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy), Barbara Nicolosi (Behind the Screen), David Dark (Everyday Apocalypse) and William Romanowski (Eyes Wide Open). The most recent edition focused upon television, including interviews with the producers behind Saving Grace, The Bernie Mac Show, and Battlestar Galatica.

Reel Spirituality also creates resources for church leaders to "get culture" in the most timely and thoughtful manner possible. Co-director of Reel Spirituality, Craig Detweiler said, "We equip ministers in the art of interpretive leadership - helping congregations understand how to respond to what they're watching." Detweiler added, "Instead of turning off our brains in the theater, we encourage audiences to search for divine fingerprints in film and TV." Study guides have been produced for blockbusters like Spiderman 3, Superman Returns, and Walk the Line as well as smaller, independent films like Water and Lars and the Real Girl. These free resources are downloadable at

Reel Spirituality is located at Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center ( in Pasadena, California. As part of an ongoing effort to renew creativity within the Christian community, Fuller now offers Master's degrees with emphases in Worship, Theology and the Arts. Reel Spirituality's yearly conferences are held in conjunction with the City of the Angels Film Festival ( This is the largest annual gathering of leaders in theology and film from around the world. As the co-directors of Reel Spirituality, Rob Johnston and Craig Detweiler bridge the gap between the church and Hollywood. Detweiler concluded, "Rob brings expertise from an academic seminary setting. As a filmmaker, I represent the entertainment industry. We've found that Reel Spirituality continues to be a mutually beneficial dialogue."