Phil Kniss

I am grateful for the way Nate’s life, intellect, faith, and pastoral wisdom enriched my own, especially in his last several years. For many years prior, we were friendly acquaintances, speaking only occasionally when our social circles overlapped. From a distance, I admired how Nate functioned as a bridge between the conservative heritage he faithfully represented, and the left-leaning parts of the church and academy that he always engaged with grace and compassion. After he fully retired and was deeper into his journey with declining health and capacity, our connection deepened, at his initiative. He sought me out as a conversation and prayer partner, and we met multiple times one-on-one. Nate opened up about tender matters of faith, suffering, relationships, and the like. I don’t know whether I added anything of substance to his own deep insight. He seemed to be buoyed simply by having a safe place to talk and process deep questions with someone outside his own family, church, and professional connections. I’m grateful he invited himself into that space with me. It was a gift to me, and it set an example of how to be both strong and vulnerable in suffering. Rest in deep shalom, brother!