David Aikman, former journalist with Time Magazine and a friend and colleague of mine, has organized a writing contest designed to revitalize the genre of the “Testimony.” That’s not just a conversion narrative, though it can be, but it can also refer to any true story of faith in a person’s life. (For example, think of the tradition that ranges from St. Augustine’s Confessions and Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the more recent The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, and The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.) The contest is for writers 35 and under, and it features a grand prize of $20,000! And the contest doesn’t require an entire manuscript, just a proposal of 1,000-1,500 words!
We Lutherans tend to be leery of focusing on our lives, since we need to be focusing instead outside ourselves, on the Cross of Jesus Christ. But there is a Lutheran way to write in this genre. Notice too that you don’t need to write about yourself. You can also write about someone else whom you’ve interviewed, researched, and whose story you are telling. (For example, refugees from Ethiopia who have fled Muslim persecution; a survivor of the Soviet Gulag; an ordinary member of your congregation who has undergone great hardship with great faith). Here is the website. [More details after the jump.]