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Cinematic Faith

A Christian Perspective on Movies and Meaning

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This engaging book explores how Christians can most profitably and critically hear, read, and view popular culture through the lens of film. William Romanowski, an expert on American culture, offers new insights on theology and the movies as he highlights the benefits of a faith-informed approach that centers on art and perspective. He shows how the cinema functions "religiously" as popular art and how Christian faith contributes to the moviegoing experience, leading to a deeper understanding of movies and life. The book draws examples from classic and contemporary American movies and includes illustrative film stills.

Cinematic Faith will appeal to professors and students in popular culture, theology and film, worldview, and communication courses; Christians looking for an introduction to engaging film and faith; pastors, youth ministers, and church leaders; and campus ministry and student development leaders in undergraduate settings.

This book is accompanied by free online resources. Click the red eSources banner above for more information.

List of Movie Musings
1. Why a Christian Approach?
2. Culture Communicates: Biblical Principles for a Peculiar Means of Expression
3. Moviemaking Magic: Poetic Portals and the Power of Perspective
4. Creating an Illusion of Reality: Film Form and Content
5. Connecting the Dots: Style and Meaning
6. Redemption American-Style: The Melodramatic Vision
7. The Yellow Brick Road to Self-Realization: Classical Hollywood Cinema
8. A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do: American Action-Adventure Movies
9. Stop Taking My Hand! Gender and Mainstream Hollywood


"William Romanowski has written another accessible, probing, and stimulating book which engages one of the fastest-growing fields of theological reflection today. Throwing into relief the ways in which movies convey meaning and articulate 'life perspectives,' the book will make an ideal 'way in' to thinking about film for virtually any Christian reader."

Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

"In Cinematic Faith, Romanowski explores what it means to be a Christian viewer who values the film medium but thinks critically in terms influenced by basic Christian theology. Primarily focused on mainstream films, the book is filled with details and examples that provide a clear understanding of his aesthetic approach. Different aspects of Christian belief are described and applied to specific themes such as gender, form and content, and poetic metafictions, with incisive interpretations of contemporary films. Romanowski's work is engaging, persuasive, and novel on its own terms: a handy guide for Christians looking to navigate the complexities of the film industry and the culture from which it comes."

Terry Wandtke, professor of literature and media, Judson University; founder of the Imago Film Festival

"This rich and lucid book sheds fresh light on a wide range of American films. By interacting creatively with many cinematic gems, Romanowski helps to reveal the layers of meaning in both classic and recent movies. Full of thoughtful and nuanced interpretations, Cinematic Faith provides a catalyst for empowering engagement, robust reflection, and dynamic discussion about film."

Jolyon Mitchell, professor and director, Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh

"In this highly engaging book, William Romanowski demonstrates the importance of informed movie watching. Without ever losing the sense of the sheer joy of film viewing, he shows how films are significant and explores how they work. In so doing he reminds us that stories shape us and that Christian stories and Christian thinking interweave with the many stories which make up Western culture."

Clive Marsh, University of Leicester

"Cinematic Faith is the book I didn't know my college-level film students needed. William Romanowski effectively blends cultural insight, critical evaluation, and honest analysis to make this book a fantastic, faith-based follow-up to Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture."

Kimberly M. Miller, professor and department chair, communication studies, Grove City College

The Author

  1. William D. Romanowski

    William D. Romanowski

    William D. Romanowski (PhD, Bowling Green State University) is Arthur H. DeKruyter Chair in Communication at Calvin University and speaks frequently on subjects dealing with American culture and the entertainment industry. He is the widely respected...

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