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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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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