Living on the Edge of the Edge
Letters to a Younger Colleague
Ruth Elizabeth Krall and Lisa Schirch, PhD
There are several divisive issues that separate Christian from Christian in the current century. One issue is the church’s management of clergy sexual abuses of children, teens and adults. A second is the issue of sexual gender orientation and church membership. Contemporary Christian denominations often intermingle the divisive issue of clergy and religious leader sexual abusiveness with the equally divisive issue of sexual gender orientation. In this book Professors Krall and Schirch disentangle and discuss these two issues. They discuss their personal and their professional opinions about ways in which religious and spiritual teaching communities can avoid the institutional perils of abusive clericalism and divisive denominational management practices. Throughout the book, they apply Anabaptist-Mennonite principles of peace-making in situations of sexual violation. Case studies are provided. A feminist hermeneutic is applied.
Each letter-essay is auto-ethnographic in style: the professional and the personal are deliberately blurred inside a framework of narrative and story. Each essay is deeply rooted in its author’s academic interests and in her personal life history.
This book can be a text in graduate and undergraduate classrooms. It can also be used in denominational self-study programs.
These letters point out the incongruity of the witness for peace and the risks inherent to women in a word based theology. Like any masterful teacher and mentor Ruth Krall opens up the questions and offers amazing insight, but doesn’t close the door as if everything is finished.
—Jerry Holsopple, Ph.D. Professor of Visual and Communication Arts, Eastern Mennonite University
Living on the Edge of the Edge is the writing of a faithful follower of the “gospel of peace.” Ruth Krall amazes us with honesty in addressing the tragedy of our churches that do violence to persons in the name of peace-making. Her wisdom is for all thoughtful Christians. With brilliant scholarship and unflagging clarity, Ruth Krall challenges us all to take the most difficult path of all: continuously examining our own hearts for unacknowledged prejudices, fears, and resistances to the increase of God’s commandment of love.
—Dwight H. Judy, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Formation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Dr. Ruth Elizabeth Krall is Emerita Professor of Religion, Psychology and Nursing and Emerita Program Director of Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. She is a cradle Mennonite and an adult Methodist, The author or co-author of five books, her ecumenical approach to pastoral theology provides us with pathways of successful non-violent advocacy in situations of affinity sexual violations and in situations of armed violence. Throughout her professional career, she has had direct and personal contact with hundreds of survivors of sexual violence, domestic abuse, and war. In 2006, she was included in Love and Cott, Feminists who Changed America: 1963-1975 (University of Illinois Press). In 2015, she convened an Anabaptist-Mennonite Chapter of SNAP – the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She maintains the webpage www.ruthkrall.com which is devoted to personal violence eradication inside the Christian tradition and to the building of more peaceful communities.
Dr. Lisa Schirch is Research Professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. She is the North American Research Director for the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research In addition, she is a Senior Policy Adviser with the Alliance for Peacebuilding. She is the author or co-author of seven books on the theme of creating a lasting global peace. She is a founding member of the Anabaptist-Mennonite Chapter of SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She is married and the mother of two children.
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