Posted by: Mark Nielsen | September 5, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-check out these great opportunities

Today, some shameless promotion. Your support of the following would benefit me only indirectly, as I am mostly just passing on the word about the good work my friends and associates are doing.

1) for Mennonites, Folk Art lovers, educators, and west suburban Chicagoans in particular,

You’re invited to the annual Chicago Mennonite Quilt Auction, a fundraiser for the school where I teach (Chicago Mennonite Learning Center). The event is next Saturday morning, Sept. 8th in Elmhurst, IL (Redeemer Lutheran Church on St. Charles Rd. is hosting us). This auction features many terrific and authentic Amish/Mennonite quilts, plus nice modern variations on the art form –some are like “living history” artifacts, others are excellent for display or daily use. There also will be other smaller stuff available to buy or activities to try out, for kids and adults. I’ll be there helping out, but can probably hang out some also, if you can make it. Here’s the website to check for info: . Hope to see you there (oh, and tell your friends… or else clip and forward them this info…)

2) just added to my Blogroll at right: Quantum Pork – a site for lovable geeks, adventurous thinkers and all who wish to know what being a Cub/Sox fan has to do with Einstein, the church, and Sigmund Freud . (I have an article there, in the Philosophy section.)

3) just out, Forty to Life, an exciting new work of fiction from esteemed author Dave Jackson. It’s the story of a teen provoked by a gang leader into committing murder, and how he comes to know forgiveness from the victim’s family, from God, and finally from himself… on the road to genuine rehabilitiation. The novel is based on actual events that happened in Evanston a few years ago. I don’t normally go for fiction that has such an overtly evangelical message and voice, but something about this one stuck with me.  (Usually I’m a silly elitist, preferring vague, “literary” fiction that leaves moral questions open-ended in the name of “art”.) I banged it out over a long weekend, and have had parts of it come back into my mind as I’ve interacted with the real urban pre-teens in my day job at school. Plus its message of sticking to nonviolence, even when that’s a costly choice, resonates with me deeply.  Available in bookstores, at,, or by calling 866-241-6733. Go to for more information on this and other books by Dave and his wife Neta (author of the Yada Yada Prayer Group series… which I also recommend).

Now go… go gawk, buy, eat, read, chuckle, submit your opinions, cry, whatever. Don’t just sit there all weekend, lazybones. Winter will be here soon, and you won’t want to go out.


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