[Editorial note: This post appeared originally at my old site (www.genxrising.com). I add it here as a ‘bridge’ of sorts to the new website. I hope you’ll make the switch with me and bookmark www.andrewthompson.com on your web browser. Feel free to comment and offer feedback!]
As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, I’ve got some news to share as we close the chapter on 2011 and prepare to launch into 2012. This blog post is intended to follow-up on my most recent article in the United Methodist Reporter.
I began this blog over five years ago as something of a companion to my regular column in the Reporter. The column itself has been running for seven years (and began with this piece still available online).
Put them together and you’ve got a lot of words, sentences, and paragraphs published under the “Gen-X Rising” theme. I’ve written somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 columns for the Reporter, and a conservative estimate of the word count would be around 105,000 words. This current post is my 564th for the blog over the course of 5 1/4 years (averaging about 9 posts per month).
The point of all this writing has been to speak to the church from the perspective of a Generation X Christian on issues of faith, discipleship, and culture. At times my readers have mistakenly thought that I only wanted to speak to other Gen Xers, but nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t believe the church should allow itself to be divided into ghettos defined by age, station in life, etc. But I do think different cohorts within the body of Christ have different perspectives to share; hence, the generational angle on much of my writing. At any rate, I think most readers got that. In fact, much of my reader responses in the form of e-mails and letters have come from older readers who tend to have as much desire to raise up younger leaders in the church as I do.
Still, all good things must come to an end. And for a number of reasons I’ve decided to retire the “Gen-X Rising” moniker. Let me mention four of them. The first reason is that the purpose of my writing in this vein was largely fulfilled with the publication of Generation Rising: A Future with Hope for the United Methodist Church by Abingdon Press this past spring. If you want to know my views on how the generational perspective bears on the health and future of the church, check it out. The parts of the book that I personally wrote (the introduction, chapter 1, and conclusion) lay it all out.
The second main reason to shift gears a bit in my writing is due to the vocational and professional changes I’ve undergone in the past six months. After ministry appointments as a campus minister and local church pastor, I am now serving as a professor at Memphis Theological Seminary. At MTS, I am called to help form other men and women for ministry in the church. And my specific area of teaching is church history and Wesleyan studies. So reflecting on the Wesleyan tradition and its relevance for ministry & discipleship is at the forefront of what I’m doing as a pastor these days. I want my writing for the church to reflect that ministry focus — which it always has to a degree, but will even more from here on out.
And then a third reason I’m making these changes is that my bishop, the Rev. Charles Crutchfield, has recently appointed me to serve as the Wesley Scholar for the Arkansas Conference. This is really a new thing in United Methodism (so far as he and I are aware) and amounts to me serving as the canon theologian to the annual conference in Arkansas. I am extremely excited about the opportunity, and the fact of it gives me all the more reason to define my ecclesially oriented writing toward what I’ve been trained to do.
Finally, the final reason I’m retiring the “Gen-X Rising” label and branching into a new direction is that I’ve got a wonderful partner here in the Memphis area who is helping me to develop a new web presence. The first step in this new venture is a new site that can be found at www.andrewthompson.com. It isn’t quite finished yet, but feel free to visit it and let me know what you think. This site will be the first step in an effort to expand what I do through writing, speaking, preaching, and (hopefully) podcasting from here on out.
That’s all the news that’s fit to print. The old Gen-X Rising site will remain up and its archives accessible to people who are interested in digging through them. And I’ll continue to write for the Reporter under my own name. In that sense, not much will have changed. But it seemed like a tune-up was in order and that’s what I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the past few months.
So Happy New Year to all! I’ll look forward to seeing you in 2012.