Welcome to Cinemayward.com, an online cache devoted to my movie reviews, essays, and writings on film, theology, and spirituality.
I started writing about film in 2007 at my personal blog, JoelMayward.com, mostly as an amateur outlet for processing the variety of films I was viewing. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of reviews and essays on movies, culminating in a book about film and theology titled Jesus Goes to the Movies: The Youth Ministry Film Guide (The Youth Cartel, 2015). I have an upcoming academic monograph on philosophical theology and the films of Christopher Nolan (Lexington Books / Fortress Academic, forthcoming 2022). I’ve written on film for 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 for Religion, Film and Media, Journal of Religion & Film, 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, where I’m currently an associate editor for Transpositions, the online journal for ITIA. I’m also an adjunct faculty member at Portland Seminary (George Fox University) in Portland, OR, and the Theology Editor for The Other Journal, an interdisciplinary journal exploring the intersection of theology and culture.
I write as a cinephile, a pastor, and a theologian. With degrees in biblical studies and theology, as well as over a decade of pastoral experience in various Christian churches, my writings are informed by my Christian faith. I am fascinated by the intersections of Christ and culture, faith and film, spirituality and cinema. 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, be sure to add your thoughtful and courteous remarks in the comments. Check out my Film Journal for the myriad of films I’ve watched and rated over the years. Like the Cinemayward Facebook page. As you explore Cinemayward.com, come with an open mind to receive and process films with wisdom, humility, intentionality, and grace. C.S. Lewis writes about this posture of receiving any work of art, like 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.
Grace and peace,