An Introduction

June 14, 2011
Adam Klassen |

It seems appropriate for my first post to be one of introduction. This way you can get a bit of a sense where I am coming from; of who I am and what I plan to do with this space. This will also give me something to hold myself accountable to. So in six months when I have failed to do most of the things I outlined here and gone of on wildly divergent tangents, I can look back here and see the differences of where I planned to go, and where I've been.

My name is Adam Klassen, though that doesn't tell you much about me. There are a few Adam Klassens about. I come from Winkler, Manitoba, where I was inundated with all things Manitoban Mennonite from an early age. From food to faith I have always considered myself Mennonite. But that does not necessarily mean much. In that there are likely as many or more Mennonite's I feel estranged from as those I feel connected to. I suspect from the inside all groups seem divergent, which the Mennonite's certainly do.

High school came and went and I found myself at Canadian Mennonite University, a place that shaped me in every way imaginable, and many unimagined. There I gained a hunger for social justice and many of the abilities to begin to understand the deep brokenness of our world. I also came to better understand my love of the arts. After 5 years I landed up with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in History.

While still at CMU I was doing my practicum with Open Circle, a Restorative Justice based prisoner visitation program of Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba. After graduation I was offered a job there. Before this position I had interest in restorative justice in only the most passing sense. I had heard about it and thought is was probably a good idea. During my two years with Open Circle I became enmeshed with issues related to our justice system. There is much broken in our world, but few as fatally and tragically as our justice system. I worked as the Prison Visitation Coordinator, a position that allowed me the honor to sit and talk with those in prison. I have learned more from this hated group than any other, and much of what I write will come out of these experiences.

After this I found myself in Istanbul, Turkey. A combination of vacation and life discernment I had many amazing experiences, some of which I have written about online before. After returning I have again found myself in Restorative Justice work, again with the Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba. This time with a new program called Journey to Justice.

All this biography can be helpful, but my writing will be the best way to get to know me. Here are some of my thoughts for this space:

I love the personal essay form and like to experiment in it. This may create wildly different types of posts. I will not always be sure which will be successful until after the fact. I hope to look back on my experiences and see both what I can learn from them, and how I can present them in an entertaining and engaging way.

I have, on occasion, preached a sermon, and I may again in the future. If I do this I will also post those here.

I have great interest in sexuality. It is such a main aspect of how we define ourselves. We are constantly barraged with different ideas and understandings of sexuality, yet it is hardly talked about in any ways that seem truly honest. It is the loudest and quietest subject in our society. I hope to explore notions of sexuality and gender.

I have a deep and abiding love of all things pop culture. Movies, music, and books largely, but also some budding interests in architecture and photography. These are my loves. Those things that give me joy and energy. More than that I believe strongly in the place for art in a society. The arts are our space to explore, debate, rage, cry, whisper to one another, philosophize, analyze and record. As I read, watch or listen to interesting things I will likely write some reviews/thoughts.

I do write fiction as well, poetry and prose. I have no particular plans to use this space for that, but if some creep in there will likely be little I can do to stop it.

One idea I have been playing with is working through the sanctoral cycle or a book such as the Martyr's mirror. Summarizing and commenting on the stories of the saints or martyrs of the Christian tradition. The goal is at least two posts a month. Perhaps one post would be an entry in the cycle and the other a free floating post that can shift back and forth through my varying interests.

On a final note, I would like to say that I am open to any and all ideas. If there is something you have interest in reading about please tell me. I would like this space to be one of conversation, not just monologue.

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