An English Professor Reports on Using “Through a Screen Darkly” in the Classroom

Many thanks to Christine Chaney, Ph.D., in the Department of English at Seattle Pacific University, for sharing these kind words…

Jeffrey Overstreet’s Through A Screen Darkly was a remarkably compelling book for my university students in a recent core course on the arts and faith – for some students even a transformative experience. His powerful and honest testimony about his own life, education, and faith — and the role that film played in coming to terms with all three — helped students in this class to reach often profound new insights. Many of them felt that their growing-up experiences mirrored Mr. Overstreet’s and were that much more willing, as a consequence, to follow him in his arguments about the power of God to speak truthfully and even prophetically through artists of all kinds, including filmmakers. But even for those students whose upbringing was very different than his, Mr. Overstreet’s book challenged them all to think deeply about the arts in new ways, as university students should, and to look with insight and intentionality toward the unexamined areas of their engagement with popular culture. And because Through A Screen Darkly centered on such a popular art form as the movies, too, I found my students very willing to go deeper into their learning about the function and specifics of the arts in general, another strong plus in using this book as a core text. I highly recommend it in every way.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.