Elaine Klaassen

Spirit and Conscience, columns by Elaine Klaassen

Elaine started at Southside Pride in 1996 selling ads, maintaining the religion calendar and writing articles that eventually became a column called Spirit and Conscience. Since 2011 she has been the paper’s managing editor.


A slim glimmer of a conscientious shopper

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN My friend Alex Chandler, who describes herself as a person with a passion for making the world a better place, is part of the ethical consumer movement. She looks for “companies that are committed to Fair Trade and environmentally-friendly practices, treat their employees well, and do not…

Continue reading

It takes a neighborhood to write a book

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Seward Neighborhood has written an intriguing book about its own history. The project has involved a “cast of thousands,” and took seven years to complete. Its 19 chapters start before the arrival, in 1850, of the first non-Natives who built homes and settled, and end in the…

Continue reading

Bells Chime Again at St. Joan of Arc

FROM ST. JOAN OF ARC CATHOLIC COMMUNITY After years of silence, the bells of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community are ready to bring their joyous sound to the neighborhood again. Church bell ringing goes back thousands of years. Historically, church bells announced the time of day, ringing on the…

Continue reading

Pollinator population urgently needs plant diversity

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Daily emails to my inbox plead with me to “save the wolves, save the polar bears, save the bees … !” Two environmental films I saw recently at Transition Longfellow warned me of the fragile state of our Earth. I am still shaken. I know the Earth…

Continue reading

Spirit and Conscience: Hope Lutheran Church remembers remarkable choir camping trip program

Hope Lutheran Church is celebrating its unique choir camping trip program, which ran from 1967 to 2003, with a reunion on Saturday, Sept. 15. All choristers and chaperones that made these trips possible are invited. These were not singing or performing tours, nor were they educational programs or religious retreats. They…

Continue reading

The Power to Change (peaceful intention)

BY ELAINE  KLAASSEN In the year 2000, the U.N. developed the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs, an initiative to decrease extreme world poverty, to guarantee primary education for everyone, to support equal rights for women and men, and to fight major diseases. The initiative ran until 2015 and…

Continue reading

Holiness (emerging)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN If I were to rank different activities in the order of physical difficulty, that is, the amount of effort required, from the most difficult to the easiest, it would look like this: 1) giving birth 2) emerging from the ocean not having drowned 3) playing Chopin Etudes…

Continue reading

Legacy of Hope

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN I read FB posts too many times a day. I am shattered time and again by the evil afoot in our world. I despair. Then I remember my dear friend Rev. Harry Maghakian, who retired from pastoring Andrew Riverside Presbyterian Church a few years ago, and died…

Continue reading

Summer Song (love)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN “I’m having an affair with a married man,” my friend Allie, who is a pillar of respectability, told me. “What???” I said. Of course I had to act surprised, but anybody who ever saw her and her husband together would NOT be surprised. Could they ever laugh…

Continue reading

Migration (chance)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Where you are born is the luck of the draw. We don’t choose our birthplace. Why is THIS my home? The rippling grain, the lone tree, the curling creek beds and endless sky. The prairie is my home. Not the desert, not the mountains, not the sea,…

Continue reading

Vulnerable citizens, opportunity for the unscrupulous

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Everybody hopes they will never be jumped, assaulted, robbed, held up, mugged, etc., on the street. But it happens. It’s hard to imagine what gives perpetrators permission to traumatize vulnerable victims, such as the disabled, the elderly, young mothers, unarmed people. At the end of January, Mr.…

Continue reading

The Children (fear and hope)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN War is waging and we picture the children, 4 years old, 8, 10, 12. It is dark, they’re hungry. Anything could happen tomorrow. There is nothing to count on. They have to believe that somewhere a great big unseen father, or mother, looks out for them. They…

Continue reading

Stillness (contentment)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN In my garden grows memory, knowing and imagining. I imagine a garden. I really do. My keyboard is a protected garden, maybe an arboretum, and I imagine that my fingers are droplets of dew touching leaves, grass, branches, stones. There is no frenzy in my garden. The…

Continue reading

Spirit and Conscience: Work and Poverty

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN I think about my white privilege. First of all, both my maternal and paternal grandparents OWNED farms in southwestern Minnesota, that is, they were in control of land that was stolen, but if they ever had a passing thought about it, it probably went something like this:…

Continue reading

Healing

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Thirteen years ago, within a period of 18 months, Mary Bergerson’s losses were more than anyone could imagine. Her mom died of brain cancer, her soldier husband took his own life, her youngest brother died suddenly, her step-children were taken away because her disability eliminated her right…

Continue reading