What a rush.

From 2001 – 2009, I wrote the “Film Forum” column for Christianity Today and served on the CT Movies team of film critics, publishing weekly reviews. Then, as my day job became increasingly demanding, my resources for writing began to diminish, and I had to give up all of my deadline-driven film writing.

This summer, I determined to leave what had become a very unhealthy work environment and seek work where people are encouraged to exercise their strengths, respect one another, and treat writing as an art worthy of time and careful attention.

In doing so, I have been blessed with some new opportunities that will be bring new benefits to readers of Looking Closer.

On Friday, September 23, one of those new endeavors began: I have found my way back to Christianity Today, where I am now writing a weekly column called…



With this new column, I look forward to introducing readers to some of the movies that have expanded and enriched my understanding of the world. And wherever I have the opportunity to teach about film, I’ll write about those schools, those classes, those films, and those students in the column, in order to highlight communities that are cultivating education, empathy. and compassion through moviegoing.

In the first installment, I get to mention the conversation I had with The Chrysostom Society about the movie Timbuktu. If you’ve been reading Looking Closer, you’ll remember that I wrote about that experience before.

timbuktu image
Timbuktu is the focus of “Viewer Discussion Advised” this week.

Many thanks to Richard Clark, Christianity Today‘s online managing editor, for making this real.

I also began teaching a new online class for home-school students.

Guess what it’s called?

vda-logoThat’s right.

Every week, I’m talking with a group of high school students about their moviegoing habits, their favorite films, and about how to develop insight and discernment as we look closer at the movies. Over the course of 15 weeks, we will study challenging questions about how to make wise decisions, how to recognize beauty and truth in cinema, and how to become more courageous in our exploration of art, so that we can come to understand and appreciate the lives of those who are different than ourselves.

In short, it’s a movie class designed to help us love our neighbors better.

You can bet that you’ll be hearing more about this endeavor as it unfolds. And if you’re interested in being a part of it, stay tuned: More classes are coming soon — for high school students and for adults.