2017 Themes

Off the Page Submissions

Off the Page publishes short personal, cultural, and journalistic articles for those on the margins of faith—many of whom have grown up in evangelicalism but have been disappointed by the church. Despite their disillusionment, our readers are still deeply interested in Jesus and faith.

Off the Page seeks to create a welcoming place for questioning and wondering. We and our readers have been given sorry or trite answers to good and serious questions, and are no longer willing to take traditional and institutional explanations at face value. Instead, we seek to wrestle with profound spiritual questions at the place where they affect our lives.

Given recent events and their far-reaching implications, 2017 projects to be a year against The Other—those people groups often marginalized or ostracized because of perceived differences. This flies in the face of who Jesus is and who his followers are called to be. The gospel story is one of God and his chosen people standing for and with those on the margins. For this reason, Off the Page feels compelled to speak into this crisis. However, merely speaking against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and fascism can quickly turn despondent and negative. We would like to steer away from both the evils of exclusion and of fear in 2017, and instead lift up the dignity and worth of the various “others” in our society. With that in mind, Off the Page is requesting submissions on the following themes:

January – What does the Other look like? Personalize the Other for the audience. Give them skin, eyes, a voice. We are looking to introduce the concept of the Other at a general level. Showcase practical ways you engage with, care for, and love the Other.

February – Why care about racial reconciliation? Discuss injustice, privilege, and the history of racism for the audience. Offer hope in the midst of lament; peace in the midst of violence. Give practical ideas to introduce justice and reconciliation work into families, churches, and /or communities.

March – How does God uphold women, and how do our families, churches, and communities transform when women’s gifts and dignity are upheld? Women have been and continue to be a marginalized and abused people group. Give specific ways to honor women and work for equality.

April – Should Christians be environmentalists? Discuss why God and scripture are “green” and how caring for the earth is a way of caring for our souls. In what ways have you changed you mind and actions in regards to creation care, and what precipitated that change?

May – Who are the mentally and physically impaired? Talk about the good of health, why mental and physical health are often overlooked as a society and church, and ways we can be an accepting and healing community for persons with disabilities. Give a blessing to those with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, or physical pain and disability.

June – How do we love our neighbor of another faith without an agenda? Showcase the commonality we share with people of other faiths, such as their devotion, humanity, and struggles. Touch on ways their practice of faith has influenced your life and changed your own spiritual practices.

July – Does God care for the incarcerated? Do Christians? In this month that celebrates freedom, discuss the forgotten inmate and how we can identify with him or her. Offer suggestions to bring the incarcerated to mind at home and work and to fight for individual and systemic justice.

August – Who are refugees and other displaced people? Discuss the millions of people thrust out of their homes, the forces in place that cause this, and the response you, your family, and your community has had or you feel should have. Suggest tangible methods of offering help to those in and out of the United States.

September – How do we care for children who are not our own? Whether they be orphans, our kid’s classmates, neighbor kids, or others, what is our responsibility toward them? Share what you are doing or have seen within your community to be Jesus to the little children.

October – How would Jesus love your gay neighbor? Getting away from dividing over the rightness/wrongness of homosexual sexual relationships, offer profiles, struggles, hopes, and blessings for people of any orientation and “label.” Talk about the ways we can come together for people in the LGBTQ community.

November – How do we rightly respect, honor, and care for our elders? Compare and contrast the biblical view of age with the current prevailing attitudes toward the elderly, discussing the ideas of usefulness, dignity, and wisdom. Highlight ways you have shown honor and care for your elders as well as what it takes to confront and change your attitudes on your own aging.

December – This Advent, how can we invite the poor to be a part of our lives for the next year? Discuss the stigma of poverty and why many treat the poor as lazy, unintelligent, and sometimes inhuman. Offer examples you surround yourself with the poor – not to offer a handout or leg-up, but to befriend, love, and live among.

 

Submission Guidelines:

  • For each of these themes, we are looking for a variety of formats: prayer, lament, personal narrative, interview, creative non-fiction, fiction/parable, poetry, or film or book review.
  • The deadline for each month’s theme is the 15th of the previous month. Please give us 2 weeks to respond to your submission. We will let you know when we have received your submission.
  • 800-1200 words (approx.)
  • All submissions should be original, never before published.
  • We do not publish teaching, sermons, or devotionals. This is not a place to be preachy or polarizing, instead think of it as starting a friendly conversation.
  • If you are telling someone else’s story please receive their permission before submitting the work.

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