2018 Themes

Off the Page Submissions

Off the Page publishes personal essays, short interviews, and regular columnists promoting spiritual practices for those who love Jesus but not the church or its culture. Much of the audience grew up in evangelicalism but has been disappointed by the church. Despite their disillusionment, our readers are still deeply interested in Jesus and faith.

 

Fewer people wish to be associated with church or evangelicals anymore. But those who love Jesus and desire to faithfully follow him remains high. For too long, though, we relied on the church to guide and propel our spiritual growth. If we do not take part in the traditional church, however, how do we follow the way of Jesus as he did? More importantly, how do we do so with others, so our faith doesn’t become “Jesus and me”?

 

In 2018, Off the Page desires to showcase the stories and lives of people who are living out a new reality of faith. Being a disciple of Jesus is not merely about collecting the right beliefs. Instead, belief needs to be actionable, something we practice, and that we practice with others. We want to wrestle with faith and hold to it only when it affects our lives and the lives of those around us. We want to share stories, interpretations, experiences, and ideas of following Jesus faithfully in church or outside of church. We are not interested in bashing the church and evangelical subculture but instead will zero in on expressions of faithful living and community. With that in mind, Off the Page is requesting submissions on the following themes:

 

January – Practicing Forgiveness. Tell when you experienced mercy or chose to set aside being right to extend mercy to another. Along with this: how have you dealt with your past—the past has a very real influence on our present. How have you had to re-learn what it means to be in relationship with family? In what tangible way did this affect your relationship with God?

February – Reading the Bible. We all have incredibly busy lives, filled with news, emails, family, friends, and hobbies. How do you read the Bible in community and understand it for today? What resources, fresh takes, or understandings of the Bible helps you deal with difficulties in this ancient text? Share how you approach scripture and what concrete difference it makes in your day-to-day life.

March – Why participate in Lent? Explore a time you denied yourself something in order to deepen your relationships with God or others. Does denying yourself lead you to have more for someone else? Conversely, look at how over-indulgence affects your attitude or approach to God. Give specific ideas for self-denial and how you keep focus on God.

April – Announcing the Good News. In the gospels, Jesus couldn’t get people to keep quiet about him. Today, the opposite is true. But does announcing the good news mean traditional evangelism? Tell the ways you share the gospel with others, be it in speech or action. Consider what was your tipping point from grasping the gospel as propositions for belief to a story to be lived.

May – Why pray? Open the windows on your prayer life. What spurs you on to pray, how do you pray individually and/or with others, and what have you learned of God’s character through prayer? Offer hopeful suggestions that you practice to participate in prayer.

June – Living with Others. Following Jesus could be simpler if other people weren’t around; especially those who are always there. Discuss how those closest to you (spouse, kids, roommate, parents) make you a better disciple. Offer the practices you engage in with or for others that you wouldn’t if they weren’t around.

July – Blessed are the Peacemakers. Shalom means a sense of wholeness or completeness. Tell of a time you or someone you know brought this idea to a situation or community and how it directed those involved toward God. Give specific ways you bring peace to the chaos of home, work, or neighborhood.

August – Remember the Sabbath. In a month known for vacations, share how you rest in God and bring rest to the world through your practice of Sabbath. In what ways does observing the Sabbath bring Shalom to others? Suggest tangible methods of holy rest.

September – Is it better to serve than to be served? Talk about this upside-down axiom from Jesus. When have you served another and it drew you closer to God? Offer simple ways to serve every day: family, neighbor, and the world.

October – Live Simply. Greed and materialism run opposite to the life of a follower of Jesus. But living simply is counter-cultural and runs against deeply ingrained practices and lifestyles. How do we cut the cord on our desire for possessions and more and live simply and peacefully? Discuss how it allows you to focus on relationships with others, with family, with God, etc.

November – Pursue Hospitality. The most natural thing to do is to overlook hospitality. How do you readily welcome people into your home who don’t ordinarily live there? Consider both hospitality toward those you know but also the poor and the stranger. What successes and failures have you experienced in your practice of hospitality?

December – Sharing your Life with Others. Work friends, a writing group, book clubs, MOPS, or even small groups: who is regularly in your life that you can share things with and who could call you out in necessary? Share the ways this community drives you to become more like Jesus. Tell how you can to trust this group with your life to encourage those who might not have a such a bond of friendship.

 

Submission Guidelines:

 

  • 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.
  • You are able to send in multiple submissions at the same time and on the same theme.

Send Us a Message

Our message form is not working, so feel free to email me directly at chris.fann@odb.org