Welcome to Cinemayward.com, an online cache devoted to my reviews, essays, and writings on film and theology.
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 also have an upcoming academic monograph on philosophical theology and the films of Christopher Nolan (Lexington Books / Fortress Academic, forthcoming 2022). 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 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.
Presently, I am a final-year PhD candidate studying theology, philosophy, and the films of the Dardenne brothers at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. I’ve taught as an adjunct faculty member at Portland Seminary (George Fox University) in Portland, OR, and I’m the Theology Editor for The Other Journal, an interdisciplinary journal exploring the intersection of theology and culture.
I write as a theologian, a film scholar, and a pastor. With degrees in biblical studies and theology, as well as over a decade of pastoral experience serving churches in Oregon, Arizona, and British Columbia, 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” experience in watching or experiencing 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 find me on Twitter or Facebook, or 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.