Welcome to Cinemayward.com, an online cache devoted to my reviews, essays, and writings on film and theology. I’m Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, Theology and the Arts at George Fox University in Oregon. I received my PhD in Divinity (Theology, Philosophy, Film Studies) at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
I started writing on film in 2007 at my personal blog, JoelMayward.com, mostly as an amateur outlet for processing the variety of movies I was viewing. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of reviews and essays on cinema, as well as a popular-level Christian ministry book about film and theology, Jesus Goes to the Movies: The Youth Ministry Film Guide (The Youth Cartel, 2015). I’m the author of The Dardenne Brothers’ Cinematic Parables: Integrating Theology, Philosophy, and Film (Routledge, 2022), and I also have an upcoming academic monograph on philosophical theology and the films of Christopher Nolan (Lexington Books / Fortress Academic, forthcoming 2023). I’ve been published at RogerEbert.com, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Think Christian, Fuller Studio’s Reel Spirituality, Christ and Pop Culture, and Christianity Today. I’ve also published academic articles and reviews in the peer-reviewed journals Pro Ecclesia; Horizons; Theology; Journal of Religion & Film; Journal for Religion, Film and Media; Journal of Youth and Theology; and ARTS. I’m a member of the Online Film Critics Society and INTERFILM, as well as a “Tomatometer-Approved” film critic on Rotten Tomatoes.
I write as a theologian, a philosopher, a film scholar, and a pastor. With degrees in biblical studies and theology, as well as over two decades of pastoral ministry experience serving churches in Oregon, Arizona, British Columbia, and Scotland, my writings are informed by my Christian faith. I am fascinated by the intersections of Christ and culture, faith and film, spirituality and the arts. Regardless of your faith or beliefs, I write for any readers interested in the deeper truths and ideas found in the movies. If you’ve ever had what can only be described as a “transcendent” or “spiritual” experience while watching a film, you’ve found a kindred spirit.
To make the most of Cinemayward, come with an open mind to receive and contemplate films with patience, humility, and grace. C.S. Lewis writes about this posture of receiving any work of art, such as a movie:
The first demand any work of any art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)
You can send me a message through the Contact page. Thanks for reading Cinemayward.com, and let’s keep searching together for truth, beauty, and goodness at the movies.