A Future with Hope for the United Methodist Church
Edited by Andrew C. Thompson
Contributors include: Sarah Arthur, Presian Burroughs, Jeffrey Conklin-Miller, Timothy R. Eberhart, Joy J. Moore, Julie O’Neal, Arnold S. Oh, Douglas Powe, Shane Raynor, Andrew C. Thompson, Eric Van Meter, and Kevin M. Watson
Computers, mass media, consumerism, and family instability have transformed our society dramatically over the past three decades. These cultural shifts undermine the stability of real, authentic community and make it more difficult to fulfill God’s call to live in love and connection to one another. Jesus calls us to reconciliation, but life today moves toward ever-more alienation.
The adults now known as Generation X had a unique firsthand experience of the cultural shifts now affecting the way the church works in the world. Growing up, Gen Xers were isolated and independent and had no common cause in terms of war or revolution, but had a common experience of life as increasingly less concrete, increasingly more detached. Because of this, Gen X Christians have a deep hunger for authentic community and the possibility of lifelong growth in grace because those things have become more and more difficult to achieve.
Generation Rising is the collaboration of twelve Gen X authors who believe passionately that the Wesleyan vision of Christian discipleship in the holy community called church is the most exciting life we can live. They offer a vision of what the United Methodist Church could be, if we will faithfully respond to the call God continues to give us, and where our very identity as disciples will never be separated from the community God calls us to join.
Generation Rising made me marvel at the ability of Wesleyan Christianity to reinvent itself in each generation. Here is Wesleyanism and our church imagined as having a future as bright as our noble past.
Generation Rising is a book of hope. The intelligence and energy represented by these young Methodists gives me hope that Methodism has a future. These essays, while drawing on the gifts of the Wesleys, offer a constructive alternative for all churches.
This collection is a hopeful sign for the church—showing that affirmation of the particularity of a new generation does not have to come at the expense of embracing wisdom from earlier generations of God’s people. These pages reclaim and develop some of Wesley’s deepest convictions about our dependence on grace, the vital role of community, and the formative power of disciplines.
Randy L. Maddox