for a growing number of Christians, a night out at the movies is more than mere entertainment—it's an avenue toward ministry. Past Christianity Today articles have highlighted David Bruce's outreach to seekers at Hollywood Jesus and Doug Cumming's mission to ministers at Movies and Ministry. This week in Film Forum we're forgoing our usual summary of Christian film reviews to focus on another critic using movies to minister: Christian artist Jeffrey Overstreet, whose GreenLake Reflections reviews help serve other artists.Overstreet feels a burden for Christian artists who have not been accepted by the church. "Artists have unique visions and voices, but the church often tells them that their art is only valuable if it serves some practical purpose for the church or if it blatantly advertises Jesus." Instead, he believes, artists must be true to their own experiences of the world. "An artist's focus should not be on the audience, but on encountering and manifesting the subject of his or her attention as fully as possible." If artists do their job well, he says, an art work then "invites others to explore and to find the same insights—sometimes to discover greater or altogether different insights."Overstreet uses his role as a critic to give the church an example of how to be a responsive audience of art. He places a large importance on the artistic excellence of a film, even assigning a separate letter grade to each movie for craft. "In the film Chariots of Fire," says Overstreet, "Eric Liddell's father tells him 'You can praise God by peeling a potato if you peel it to perfection.' … It's our job as Christian thinkers to test [art], lift up what is excellent, and give glory to the Creator."Excellent art, he says, will ...1
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