About

Writer Guidelines

Introduction

The Upper Room is a global organization dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. We specialize in book publishing, magazines, group resources, and community formation in both physical and digital spaces. Our website will begin featuring content written around specific themes each month in the fall of 2016. We are seeking pieces that will generate authentic conversation among our diverse and multicultural audience. Monthly themes range from gratitude to hospitality to leadership.

Who Is The Upper Room Audience?

Our audience encompasses people of all ages with various religious backgrounds. Most are currently affiliated with a church or have been in the past, while some are unaffiliated seekers. Our resources speak to the needs of clergy and laypersons interested in spiritual formation and growth, single people, couples, families with children, youth, and youth workers.

Submitting a Feature Piece to upperroom.org

Once you have determined that your material shares the objectives of The Upper Room, please submit your piece via email to ureditorial@upperroom.org and specify which month/theme are you submitting for. Currently we are accepting submissions of 400-500 words. We will accept submissions on a rolling, first-come-first-serve basis. Email ureditorial@upperroom.org with any questions.

We appreciate your interest in writing for upperroom.org.

2016 Monthly Themes

September 2016 – Doing a New Thing

The Judeo-Christian tradition is founded on the hope that comes from a new beginning. The biblical creation story declares that God formed the heavens and the earth and called them good. Born of the dust of the ground, Adam and Eve created new life, and it was good. Exodus recounts God’s birthing of Israel, and the prophets foretell a rebirth of God’s people through an outpouring of the Spirit. For Christians, God’s creative work manifests in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again. The same pattern and fulfillment of Jesus’ death and resurrection shape Christian spiritual formation. And it begins anew with each passing moment. Henri Nouwen writes, “We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. . . . Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises.”[1] What practices help us to live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life? How do we invite others into this way of living?  What gifts await us as we walk the path of Jesus together? Where do we see God doing a new thing in our lives, communities, and world? How can we participate in God’s creative goodness in our daily lives?

October 2016 – Discipleship/Following Jesus/Leadership

The call to discipleship begins with a divine initiative and comes to fruition as righteous action. “Follow me,” Jesus said to his disciples. Immediately they departed on a shared journey to heal the sick, cast out unclean sprits, and proclaim that the kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:17-18; 6:7-13 and par.). Along the way the disciples learn that the way of Jesus means a willingness to serve others, even to the point of death (e.g., Mark 8:35; 9:35; John 15:12-13). For Henri Nouwen, discipleship means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.”[2] For Bernard of Clairvaux, it begins with knowledge of self and one’s own encounter with the Spirit of Jesus. This month we ask, What does it look like to be a disciple of Jesus today?  What disciplines can we practice that create space for God to act in, through, and around us? From what wells can we drink to sustain us on our shared journey toward healing and wholeness? How does following Jesus change our interactions with our neighbors and with the world? How are we yet called to die for the gospel of Christ?

November 2016 - Gratitude/Prepare the Way

The beginning of the holiday season places many demands on our time and attention—so many demands in fact that we can become distracted from the real significance of the period that marks the beginning of the Christian year. Advent is a season of both preparation and waiting—a time of great anticipation as we look toward Jesus’ birth and God’s presence among us. As we anticipate Christ’s arrival, our posture can become one of gratitude—gratitude for what God has done and will do in the world. Paul writing to the Colossians says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving” (4:2). For Paul, attentiveness and gratitude go hand in hand. We cannot enter into Advent, and the anticipation and attentiveness it requires, without a spirit of gratitude: gratitude that God the Creator of the universe has entered our lives in human form; gratitude that God knows what it is like to be one of us—to think as we think, to have the same desires, temptations, sufferings, and joys as we do; gratitude for a new creation in the making. How can we foster a spirit of both alertness and gratitude? Why is gratitude important? How might living with a spirit of gratitude shape our relationship with God, with one another, and with the world?

December 2016 - Hospitality

Hospitality has always been a hallmark of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  For the Hebrew people who were strangers in Egypt, extending hospitality by caring for the vulnerable strangers in their midst was part of their understanding of what it meant to be God’s chosen people. Jesus ordered his disciples to be dependent upon the hospitality of others as they traveled. He told them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic” (Luke 9:3, NRSV).  Jesus also showed hospitality to others by eating with the outcasts of society, touching and healing the sick, and receiving children. He proclaimed that the hospitable acts of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and welcoming the stranger were ways of showing hospitality to the Son of Man himself. In the New Testament epistles, Paul instructs Christians to show hospitality by welcoming others just as Christ welcomed them. Henri Nouwen expands our understanding of hospitality when he writes, “In the context of hospitality guest and host can reveal their most precious gifts and bring new life to each other.”  How do we as Christians practice hospitality in our daily lives?  In this season of Advent, how do we once again prepare to welcome the Christ child?  How can acts of hospitality bring new life to both host and guest?

We will update this page with new topics periodically. Please check back for updates.

[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1994), 16-17.

[2] Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Living, ed. John S. Mogabgab (Nashville, TN: Upper Room Books, 2011), 18.