J. Robert Parks' principal job is tutoring Chicagoland children in the basic subjects of reading, writing, and math. This heart for education also manifests itself in his volunteer job as an editor and movie critic forThe Phantom Tollbooth. Through the Christian Webzine, he hopes to educate the church about the wide variety of opinions Christians may hold, educate young writers to grow and hone their craft, and educate readers to understand film as an art form."What we wanted to do was say, 'There are a lot of unique ways to look at movies that are all Christian-they're valid,'" says Parks, explaining why the Tollbooth invites writers other than himself to submit movie reviews. "If people are only reading one critic, they're missing the point. … The message [God] has for me is different than the message he has for you. Sometimes he works through films in different ways. … So we have evangelical Catholics on staff; we have people who would be very conservative theologically and very liberal theologically but still within the broad evangelical framework." The purpose of such diversity is to challenge the church's tendency to compartmentalize culture. "[Christians] have these boxes, and everything has to go into a box. If it doesn't, they don't know what to do with it and they just throw it out. And movies so often don't fit into the boxes Christians have. And so they can't think about it. … I think it's really important for Christian writers to try to encourage Christians to think [more] broadly, and to give them the vocabulary to be able to do that."Parks is excited about teaching other Christian writers to develop such a vocabulary. "There are some people who made a big difference in my life," he says, "both with my writing ...1
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