Call for Papers
Issue 34: Organizing
Closing Date: January 31, 2022
The beginning of 2021 was marked by a cacophony of political activity. Trump supporters, right-wing terrorists, and militia folks stormed the US Capitol on January 6. Two days later, on January 8, Democrats learned that they would take control of the US Senate, thereby giving them majority control of the US House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House. There is little doubt that both events were the result of discrete forms of intentional organization. Prosecutors have highlighted Reddit threads, Facebook conversations, and Parler posts as laying key groundwork for the Capitol siege, whereas the church-based organizational work of Stacey Abrams has been rightly lauded for enabling Democrats to flip the Senate. Our political realities depend on organization.
But organizing is not limited to partisan politics. Organizing is at the heart of our responses to natural disasters or pandemics. Organizing is, perhaps, the tool that the Holy Spirit used to ignite the early church under the leadership of the Apostle Paul. Organizing is what we do as families and individuals to get all our people or ideas squared away under one roof.
Although the act of organizing can be an intensely personal imposition of order on things and ideas, there is often a sense in which organizing is something we do together. To protest wealth inequality, we gathered in city squares as part of the Occupy movement or took part in solitary acts, like investing in GameStop, that then became infused with improvisation and the power of communities.
And organizing is rarely glamorous. Conventional wisdom is that you don’t put glitzy lights around the word and make it the subject of an entire journal issue. True organizing is the slow, careful work of coalition-building, work that is forged through hours of conversation wherein parties seek common ground on which they can partner. It is an endless to-do list of emails and phone calls, door-knocking and pavement-pounding, exhausting work aimed at achieving only an approximation of an original goal or highest ideal. Organizing is the work of exchanging a faulty system for something better. It is rooted in particular places and serving particular people with particular unmet needs. It is the work of protecting people from the powerful forces that feel too big for anyone to confront on their own.
In the next issue of The Other Journal, we take up these ideas as we seek theologically infused contributions on the theme of organizing. The following are some—but certainly not all—of the questions authors might wish to consider: What does the (re)organization of genre make available in creative writing? What experimental forms of writing are opened when we think beyond the standard boundaries of genre? How has the theory and practice of organization—at the social, political, ecclesial, or doctrinal levels—been (mis)appropriated in the Christian tradition? What resources can contemporary theological reflection offer to promote generative organizational practices for society today? What kind of commitments might be involved in constructing theologies of organization that offer hope in a culture of despair? How can the church’s organization of liturgical rhythms and practice bring theologically grounded unity amid global chaos? What roles do order and chaos play in life, art, or Christian theology, and what is the relevance of these roles for our cultural moment? What theological concepts are present in organizing strategies of the past and present, whether they are named or not? What understandings of God help us bring both order and disorder to the powers that be?
We seek essays, creative writing, art, and reviews that uniquely engage this complex conversation. As always, we are particularly interested in contributions that tackle these themes with verve and slant, contributions that open our ears to the peacefully contrarian Christ by way of their distinctive style, ideas, and progressive consideration of the other.
More information on our submission guidelines, including our email address, can be found on our Submissions page.