So I’ve talked with a few people about this previously, but I’ll do a proper release about it now. If you’re interested in writing about video games or religion/theology, I’m starting up a slot for guest writers on my blog. Basically it’s just an open slot, probably Friday afternoons, and if you want to have something published on either of those topics, hit me up. It’s a cool opportunity to work out some thoughts about your favourite game, or if there’s a particular religious idea that you’re interested in, it can be a platform for that too. It’s also an opportunity to start building up a body of publication, if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s not desperately prestigious, in the sense that it’s just some asshole’s online blog, but it’s better than turning up with nothing. There won’t always be posts on the Friday either – it’ll just be if/when anybody decides to send me something – but that slot will always be exclusively for guest writers.
There are a few practical nuts and bolts which I’ll go through below, but to begin I’ll just lay out the vision. The two organising themes here are Narrative and Belief – you can see how they generally correspond to the topics of video games and theology. I’m not super strict on topics, in the sense that if you just wanted to focus on video game mechanics, or how a game is balanced or whatever, that’s probably fine. The theology half doesn’t have to be exclusively theology, either – I spent a chunk of time looking at politics and Nazis with Hannah Arendt. I tied it back to theology, at certain points, but I was more interested in the different beliefs at play in Nazi Germany. There’s lots of room for negotiation.
In practical terms, I aim for about a thousand words for each article – that’s primarily because there’s a lot of shit on the internet, and I don’t want to waste people’s time. If I want to deal with a theme over several weeks, I’ll try and make sure each article is relatively self-contained – again, it’s just a respect thing. People got shit to do. I also try to make sure everything’s approachable for an amateur audience, so that even if they’ve never really looked at the field before, they’ll still be able to get something out of it. That doesn’t mean avoid terminology or complex intellectual things, but approachability is important to me here. I’m trained in an academic setting, and I’m aware that the jargon excludes people who aren’t professionally trained. I respect the need for specificity of language, but I resent the exclusion of your average punter.
Regarding video game posts, if you can it’s generally good to include screenshots, just because it makes the posts more interesting. It also makes the article more accessible for people who’ve never played that game before.
Regarding theology posts, ah, there are stricter rules. If your post is anti-gay, misogynistic, racist, or otherwise oppresive, it’s not welcome. I’m also not interested in articles bashing religion. We have to be specific here: I spend a lot of time criticising Christianity, but I’m also a committed Christian. I believe that Jesus was and is God – I just also believe that the culture and institutions of Christianity are fucked up. From that perspective, when I criticise Christianity, it’s fundamentally affirmative. It’s because I have beliefs about who God is, and I see that the Church betrays its ideals through its actions. So I’ll accept criticisms of religion on the understanding that they come from committed believers who want to make their faith better. The posts also don’t have to be about Christianity. If you want to talk about Islam or whatever, that’s awesome, hit me up. Also if you’re not religious at all but you’re really interested in the ideas, go crazy. You don’t have to be religious, you just have to not be anti-religion.
I also tend to focus more on ideas and structures than my personal story, so I’m not super interested in testimonial-type content. Historical or sociological stuff could be really interesting though – I’ve not focused on that more practical side of things, but it’s a possible avenue to go down.
I’m not entirely sure that I’ve covered everything with regards to the guidelines for religious posts – it might be an evolving idea. I’m sort of assuming people generally understand where I’m coming from, and we can work out the specific details as we go. If you’ve got questions or specific pitches on either topic, hit me up and we can chat about them.
In terms of contacting me, I’m primarily writing this for the people who already know me, so that when I post it on FB they’ll see it and message me. However, if you’re a stranger and you want to write something, drop a comment and we’ll figure out some contact details.
In terms of privacy, I’m sort of imagining that we’ll publish it with your first name, so that readers are able to keep track of who’s written what, but we can avoid using your second name so that there’s still some privacy involved. Alternately you can make up your own fabulous pseudonym.
Aside from that, ah, I think that’s everything. I’m looking forward to the immediate slew of posts that’ll be flung towards me with great enthusiasm. Heh.