Kriss: Connecting with refugees in France’s ‘jungle’

Jun 19, 2017 by

Last week, I traveled from the U.K. to Calais, France, to bear witness to the greatest human migration in Europe since World War II. Last year, a refugee city emerged at Calais with an estimated 10,000...

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Kriss: A good neighbor, Lydia is there

May 8, 2017 by

I live in a section of duplexes in northwestern Philadelphia. Tucked back from the street, I have the option of less interaction, compared to others who have front doors that open directly onto the sidewalk. I...

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Kriss: Pastoring in polarities

Mar 27, 2017 by

Many who preach regularly are finding it a tough navigation in the pulpit in the United States. Our highly politicized environment means it’s difficult to find ways to speak that are both relevant and...

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Kriss: Talking politics in Indonesia

Feb 13, 2017 by

I spent the two weeks preceding President Trump’s inauguration in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country. Conversation about the U.S. presidential transition was lively. Some Indonesian...

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Kriss: Immigrants are the church

Jan 2, 2017 by

Soong Chan Rah’s The Next Christendom points out that most immigrants to the United States are already Christian. This ongoing influx of Christians bolsters our churches and keeps an abundant percentage of...

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Kriss: Sweet communion

Nov 21, 2016 by

At 3 a.m. Nov. 9, my phone flashed updates so vigorously it woke me up. I rolled over to verify what I had expected from the election news coverage before going to sleep. Donald Trump had been elected...

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Kriss: The road to 2042

Oct 10, 2016 by

According to U.S. Census figures, white people will be a U.S. minority by 2042. Comedian Hari Kondabalu jokes this shouldn’t make white folks nervous, as the 51 percent of people of color aren’t...

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I confess: I am a pastor

Aug 29, 2016 by

I rarely identify myself as a pastor. Other trades I inhabit — writer, nonprofit administrator, professor — require less explanation. They come with lower expectations and fewer inhibitions. If you meet me...

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Encounters with grace and dogma

Jul 18, 2016 by

A few days before Ramadan began I visited London Central mosque. It’s a huge building at the edge of Regent’s Park in the middle of the city. London is a bustling and diverse city with its first Muslim...

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Coming to terms with millstones

Jun 6, 2016 by

I read the 150-page report from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office about the abuse cases of the Altoona-Johnstown (Pa.) Catholic Diocese in the midst of writing a doctoral dissertation on...

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Spirit’s strange words

Apr 25, 2016 by

I am fascinated by the power and possibility of Pentecost. Whether the speakers were suddenly gifted with new languages or the hearers simply understood the gibberish in some way, it’s among my favorite New...

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Resurrection through tears and change

Mar 14, 2016 by

Several years ago during the Easter vigil at Resurrection Catholic parish in my hometown of Johnstown, Pa., I found myself weeping almost uncontrollably. The Saturday Easter vigil is among the grandest of...

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Freedom from fear in Indonesia

Feb 1, 2016 by

The news of violence broke late in the evening in Phil­a­delphia, mid-morning in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan. 14. Philadelphia, where I live, has the largest concentration of Indonesian immigrants on the East...

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Speaking, listening in feverish days

Dec 21, 2015 by

These last weeks have seemed feverish both in personal and online spaces as people have sought to respond to incidents in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. These days I get a lot of my news via social media. I...

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Our history is absorbed into our whiteness

Nov 10, 2015 by

In the beginning of his acclaimed book Between You and Me, written as a letter to his adolescent son, Ta-Nehisi Coates wonders how Mennonites came to be included within the “people who think of themselves as...

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Finding the Spirit in anxious times

Sep 28, 2015 by

Author Peter Steinke suggests Old Testament understandings of salvation are connected to openness rather than constricting. Steinke writes about how healthy communities behave in times of anxiety. His...

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Building connections with Jews is in season

Aug 17, 2015 by

The Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are soon upon us. I grew up celebrating these days of the Jewish calendar because my mom worked for a Jewish-owned business and had these days off of...

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More than rending the Confederate flag

Jul 7, 2015 by

Tearing cloth is not enough to show you are sad; let your heart be broken. — Joel 2:13 In the Jewish tradition, as part of the period of mourning after a death, the mourner wears a torn piece of clothing....

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The church is changing, so keep moving

May 25, 2015 by

The Pew Research Center’s study on religion in the United States, released this month, revealed that the church is in the midst of significant changes. Mennonites are too statistically insignificant to be...

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Refusing to fight the culture war

Apr 13, 2015 by

The Mennonite Church USA credentialed leaders survey has opened a conversation that research coordinator Conrad Kanagy says highlights a growing divide. Kanagy sees homosexuality as a proxy issue that brings...

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White privilege, guilt

Mar 2, 2015 by

The night in November when the news broke that officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., I joined a group of religious leaders intent on providing a...

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Finding hope at the border

Jan 19, 2015 by

There are never enough winter jackets in the stacks of sorted clothes in the salon de fiestas (fellowship hall) at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. The stream of Central American refugees who arrive...

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Giving that changes me

Dec 8, 2014 by

The powerful words of Advent readings from Isaiah tend to get lost in this feel-good season of tinsel and twinkling lights. Familiar music, family gatherings and special worship times mark the holiday with a...

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Beyond our Christendom, signs of life

Oct 27, 2014 by

I remember wincing when British Anabaptist Stuart Murray Williams suggested wryly in one of his trips to southeastern Pennsylvania that we had managed to create our own Mennonite Christendom. Murray Williams...

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The news is biased

Sep 15, 2014 by

I’ll start with a confession: There is no such thing as objective reporting. I know this after working around journalism for 20 years. If you and I were to see the same thing occur, we would likely see it...

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