Kriss: The Spirit in the details

Nov 25, 2019 by

Over the last few months of the reconciliation process of Eastern District Conference and Franconia Mennonite Conference, I have grown to better understand the idea that “the devil is in the...

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Kriss: Appreciate your pastor

Oct 14, 2019 by

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. While one month is not enough to show appreciation to pastors, it’s an opportunity to focus on the work, ministry and difficulty of being a pastor. I was called to a...

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Kriss: I’m learning to yield

Sep 2, 2019 by

When teaching classes on Mennonite polity, I say “Gelassenheit is all we have.” In our hyper-individualized world, it’s both risky and countercultural. This gelassenheit — or yieldedness, as it’s...

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Breathing shared air

Jul 22, 2019 by

Mennonite Church USA’s MennoCon19 at Kansas City, Mo., was a reminder of who is still in the room after about a third of the denomination has exited. MC USA has weathered a difficult transition with the...

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Kriss: What does it mean to be Anabaptist?

Jun 10, 2019 by

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s recent research expanded the pool of groups included under the Anabaptist umbrella. The Community of Christ has moved toward declaring itself a peace church....

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Kriss: Peace in the midst of turbulence

May 13, 2019 by

Recently I was in Sarasota, Fla., due to the forces of what church historian Phyllis Tickle describes as the church’s every-500-year rummage sale. Tickle’s words in her book The Great Emergence have...

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Kriss: All too human

Mar 18, 2019 by

The church is fully human. This thought crossed my mind in the midst of Sunday morning worship. There was no particular reason for it. Just a simple reminder, maybe a divine nudge, raising my awareness of the...

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Kriss: Much more to Mexico

Feb 4, 2019 by

For two weeks I have been in Mexico, far south of the proposed border wall, in a place people from the U.S. come to frolic in the sun. The Yucatan peninsula resisted colonization from Europeans into the 20th...

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Kriss: Once we were the ones who knocked

Dec 17, 2018 by

This is the great seriousness of the Advent message and its great blessing. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of people around us. Will you therefore leave the door locked for your protection, or...

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Kriss: Paradox of the call to serve and lead

Nov 5, 2018 by

Credentialed Mennonite ministers are a unique lot, yet our experiences are diverse. In some congregations, a theological understanding of the priesthood of all believers diminishes the significance of pastors....

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Kriss: Pastors and scandals

Sep 24, 2018 by

For Mennonite pastors, conversations about boundaries can be difficult. Recent cases of boundary violations have rocked theological and institutional understandings of ourselves. In Pennsylvania, the public...

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Kriss: The power of a simple greeting

Aug 13, 2018 by

One deep grateful breath, One small step forward Has the power to change everything. — from Through and Beyond by Bonnie Thurston I live in a city of 1.6 million people, in a time of contention, in what...

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Kriss: Encountering truth takes more effort

Jul 2, 2018 by

About a decade ago, somewhere in the labyrinth of Marrakesh, Morocco, I told a shop owner I was a writer. I responded to his questions in garbled Spanish. He asked where I had come from. I said Spain; I was...

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Kriss: Millennials’ invitation to lead and learn

May 21, 2018 by

At Casa de Esperanza, an Anabaptist/Mennonite community in Oaxaca City, Mexico, Pastor Luis Rey Matias-Cruz invited a 20-something member of his congregation to assist in setting up tables for a midweek meal....

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Kriss: Change is constant; control is not

Apr 9, 2018 by

The idea of progress and continual growth is a lie we’ve believed from modernity. Growing up in western Pennsylvania during the collapse of industry and manufacturing, I’ve learned things don’t always...

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Kriss: Our political tension

Feb 26, 2018 by

Mennonites first came to Pennsylvania more than 300 years ago, attracted by American values like freedom of religion and the ability to act according to one’s conscience. An initial act for those early...

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Kriss: Trying to see from another’s view

Jan 15, 2018 by

The final project of our Christian Ethics class last semester was a field trip rooted in the implications of what we learned. My small class of four students chose to focus on learning African-American history...

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Kriss: Waiting with a smartphone during Advent

Dec 4, 2017 by

Advent is about waiting. The two most celebrated portions of the church year, Lent and Advent, both feature a similar framework of preparing and waiting. In Spanish, the verb for waiting (esperar) has the same...

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Kriss: A falling tower

Oct 23, 2017 by

We came to the party late. Mennonite Church USA created a national denominational superstructure just in time for the whole idea to crumble in Protestant circles. I still remember my hopeful response as we...

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Kriss: Our sighs and our work are our prayers

Sep 11, 2017 by

Houston Mennonite Church Pastor Marty Troyer told me on Aug. 31, “I’ve sighed a lot in these past few days,” referring to the Spirit’s pleading on our behalf through sighs and groans as outlined in the...

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