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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Kriss: Shaky present, bright future

Jul 31, 2017 by

I hadn’t been a delegate at a Mennonite Church USA convention since San Jose a decade ago. It wasn’t a positive experience then and, to be honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the renewed...

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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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