This week marks the end of an era at CT Movies. Jeffrey Overstreet, our very first critic when we launched in the spring of 2004, is stepping aside to more fully pursue other writing opportunities. As Jeffrey explained to me and in a recent post on his blog:

“It’s a sad day for me, in some ways: I’ve contributed to CT’s online endeavors regularly since sometime around the beginning of 2001. … It was tough to make this decision. But I’ve been taking a lot of steps lately to reclaim a healthy lifestyle. Cutting back on major projects is a part of that, even though that means I have to give up some things that have given me great pleasure …

“When I look at how the cultural conversation about Christian engagement with art and entertainment has changed in the last 20 years, I am again impressed with the spirit of courageous engagement at CT. CT has blazed trails that are so much more rewarding than those paths of cultural condemnation and fear-mongering still traversed by so many in religious media.”

Jeffrey says he’ll continue writing about movies, but on a more selective basis; he’s even considering another movies book to follow 2007’s Through a Screen Darkly—which, by the way, I can’t recommend enough for Christians who are serious about learning how to better watch and think about film. It sure helped me in the process of looking closer.

As Jeffrey says, “I’m not tired of writing about these things. I’ll keep on, so long as there are folks interested in reading. This journey’s still in the early stages. Thanks so much to all of you, too, that have been encouraging along the way.” And, good news for us at CT Movies: “I hope that someday I’ll find myself in a position to contribute there again.”

We do too. Thanks, Jeffrey, for all of your good work, thoughtful articles and reviews, stimulating conversations, healthy debates, and your friendship. Godspeed, brother.

Several of Jeffrey’s CT Movies colleagues also chimed in with kind words:

“Jeff was the first writer I found while looking for a Christian film critic who also seemed to care about excellent craftsmanship. Since then he’s become a colleague and a good friend, one who helped me along in my own work as a budding critic. His work truly inspires and encourages me.” —Alissa Wilkinson

“A reader of my own blog once told me that I’m ‘kinda like Jeffrey Overstreet.’ I’m pretty sure he meant it as a compliment, and regardless, I’m going to take it as one. I found Jeffrey’s writing even before the genesis of CT Movies, and it was largely his example—and his encouragement—that inspired me to start writing my own film reviews. His passion and his eloquence make him a mentor to many of us Christian-perspective movie critics, and it’s not hard to see why: Rather than simply spout his opinions about this movie or that, Jeffrey actually gives us the tools we need to consider what art means in our own lives. No wonder his website is called Looking Closer—Jeffrey doesn’t just teach us about movies, but about how to see.” —Josh Hurst

“Jeffrey’s book Through a Screen Darkly showed me a whole new way for Christians to think about film—and I’m personally grateful to him for connecting me with CT Movies.” —Annie Young Frisbie

“When I was just starting out as a film critic, writing movie reviews for the Wheaton College Record, Jeffrey was THE model I looked to. Another Christian film critic who loved Malick, Kieslowski, and the Dardennes? Someone else who found ‘Christian’ elements in the grace of a long shot or a slow pace? Jeffrey was a pioneer in the type of Christian film criticism that takes visual aesthetics as seriously as Christ metaphors, and for that I am extremely indebted. His passionate, intelligent, nuanced writing about film was an inspiration to me, and his support of my early writing was most generous. Thank you Jeffrey, for your example as a Christian thinker/writer/creator who truly takes joy in cinema and the act of thoughtfully engaging with it. We will miss you at CT.” —Brett McCracken

How have Jeffrey’s writings impacted you over the years? Let us know by taking our poll, sending us an e-mail, or posting your comments below.

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