I'm publishing this blog post for the purpose of sharing information about several projects in which I've been particularly involved, especially since moving from Chicago to Bellingham, WA in November 2010. The following is a summary of those projects:
THE CHRISTIAN ARTS INITIATIVE
The Christian Arts Initiative is an ambitious multifaceted project pertaining to my desire to help to start a "righteous Renaissance" by empowering and encouraging artistic Christians such as myself to more effectively use our various artistic talents and skills for the purpose of bringing glory to Jesus Christ, thereby making this world better, and more beautiful, than it was before we came here.
Admittedly, that's a pretty vague "mission statement", but if you'll contact me with an e-mail message, I'll gladly answer any questions you might have, and I'll also send you some relevant links which will enable you to better understand my vision, in terms of some specifics.
My e-mail address is currently mwp1212[AT]gmail.com.
I especially recommend that you visit the Artistic Christians' Network, which I created slightly less than two years ago. The ACN is an online social network which currently has roughly 30 members. Its name is pretty self-explanatory, to some extent, but you'll learn more if you visit the site for yourself. The web address for the ACN is: http://artisticchristians.ning.com. I invite you to visit that web site, check out the numerous blog posts I've written, and otherwise investigate the web site in order to get a better idea of what it has become, and what I hope that it will become once people have begun to use the site more fully.
Keep in mind, when you visit the Ning.com site, that any references to www.ArtisticChristians.com are references to a web site which is currently out of commission due to financial difficulties which caused me to fall behind on the web hosting fees for that site. But I hope to get a new version of that site back online again, once I've addressed various issues I'll need to address in order to bring that site back again.
In addition to developing the Artistic Christians' Network, site, I hope to start local fellowship meetings and planning meetings in the Bellingham, WA area, in relation to the local chapter of a group to be known as the ACE Fellowship of Artistic Christians. (ACE is an acronym, in this case, which stands for Artistic Christian Endeavors.) With the help of the members of the ACE Fellowship, I believe that it's feasible to achieve great things in the Pacific Northwest! If you like that idea, please e-mail me in order to discuss the idea of having such a meeting soon.
THE NEED MEETERS' NETWORK
More recently I created a second online social network which, like the Artistic Christians' Network, is focused on a specific objective. In this case, the objective is to create a Christ-centered network specifically for the purpose of empowering people who have a wide variety of urgent and not-so-urgent needs, such as the need for employment, the need for adequate and affordable housing, the need for medical and dental care, the need for friendship, and much more. The idea behind the Need Meeters' Network (NMN) is that many of those needs can be much more effectively met if needy people can become part of a "caring community" in which they are encouraged to openly share their various needs more clearly with one another. People can't usually meet the needs of others if they don't know what they are! That's just logical.
The Need Meeters' Network (NMN) only has two members so far, including myself, because I only created it a few weeks ago, and I'm still tweeking its design and developing the concept, not to mention the fact that I'm dealing with other issues in my life which are in some cases quite urgent. Based on feedback I've gotten from others when I've discussed the project with them, however, I think that the project has huge untapped potential, especially when one considers that I also hope to use the NMN to similarly empower various nonprofits, social service agencies and churches which are regularly involved in helping to meet the needs of others in various ways. The interactive nature of the Need Meeters' Network will enable various "need meeters" to develop active partnerships and alliances with people and organizations whose agendas and missions overlap to some extent. I'm committed to the goal of maximizing the usefulness of the NMN to such organizations, especially if they in turn will help to publicize the Need Meeters' Network.
Now, I'll openly confess (because I see it as no cause for shame) that I myself have a vested interest in the success of the Need Meeters' Network. Specifically, I have often found myself in situations where I needed a more effective way to communicate my own needs with people who might be both willing and able to meet those needs, or at least to help to meet those needs. One such need (which I'll discuss more in future blog posts, unless the issue is fully resolved before it becomes necessary to do so) is my own need for emergency housing, if my current housing situation should become even more unstable than it already is.
[As I said once in this blog post already, my e-mail address is currently mwp1212[AT]gmail.com.]
Time limitations often prevent churches and other traditional institutions from offering adequate opportunities for people to share their needs with others. Fortunately, web sites such as the NMN are usually accessible 24/7. So there's really no reason for failing to use such communication options, other than not caring about the needs of others. I'd like to think that most people (especially Christians such as myself) do care about people in this world who are hurting in various ways. So I invite you to visit and join the NMN (for free), in order to help make this world a better place, while simultaneously making it more likely that your own needs will be met in the future.
MY CURRENT JOB SEARCH
Ever since moving to Bellingham from Chicago, I have known that I needed to procure employment so that I could be relatively independent, instead of relying upon the help of Everett Barton, who generously invited me to stay with him when I lost my room at the Lawson House YMCA in Chicago on account of having fallen behind on my rent. I've spent some amount of time in pursuit of that goal. But probably not as much time as I ought to have spent, since I was preoccupied to a great extent with the other projects listed and described in this blog post.
Part of the reason, I must admit, was that I found it very discouraging to have to try to find a job in this economic climate and this job market, especially when I considered the impediments I faced when seeking employment, particularly in terms of my age (of 54 years), and when I considered how long it had been since I'd even had a part-time job, to say nothing of how long it had been since I'd worked full-time.
While it would be accurate to say that this has been a "crisis of confidence" to some extent, I want to emphasize that the crisis pertains to my ability to persuade someone to hire me for the type of job I need, and for which I'm qualified. There is no crisis insofar as my ability to actually do such a job, if I can procure such a job. I'm a skilled worker, with a strong work ethic, and I merely need a chance to prove that that is the case. Ever since I first entered the job market in 1972, I've worked in a number of restaurants, retail establishments and offices, and I've also worked in other positions, such as the time I worked as a news announcer at KSOZ, a 20,000 watt FM station at College of the Ozarks (or School of the Ozarks, as it was known at the time in late 1977). Also as a telemarketer, a telephone surveyor and more.
Any assistance I could get with regard to my current search for a suitable job would be greatly appreciated, because my ability to achieve the other goals discussed in this blog post is contingent first and foremost on my survival! If you believe in the value of those other goals, then please help me to achieve them by assisting me in finding employment in the meantime. I'll be happy to furnish you with my resume if you'll e-mail me at mwp1212[at]gmail.com and ask for the resume. If you have any questions related to my job search, I'll try to answer those questions as well.
MY OWN ART, MUSIC, POETRY AND PHOTOGRAPHY
For years, I have been forced by my circumstances to rely for my financial support on the income from a variety of jobs in a variety of work environments, from restaurants to retail businesses to various offices. I would never claim that I was "too good" to do so, but even when this country was not afflicted by its current economic woes, it was more than a bit frustrating for me to have to support myself in this manner, because it always felt like something of a compromise, when I gave serious consideration to what I believed to be God's vocational calling on my life.
This fact would not and will not detract from the quality of my work, if I find myself employed in a "normal" job again, nor will it cause me to seek to end such a job as soon as possible. Once hired, I generally do my best to keep that job as long as possible. In this economy, it would be foolish for me to do otherwise. Besides, I don't plan to rely solely on an outside job in terms of the totality of my income. Rather, I hope and plan to spend a lot of my "free time" when I'm not clocked in by focusing on the goal of raising additional funds, by means of entrepreneurial efforts involving the online sales of various high quality products of my own creation, such as greeting cards, fine art prints, books of my poetry, CDs of my music (once I have adequate time and equipment with which to create those music recordings) and more.
That has been my goal for many years, but it's only been recently that it was feasible. I now have the ability (and at least some of the equipment) with which to implement a plan to sell art-related products online. Every online sale of such products will take me closer to achieving my other financial goals, in a manner which will be consistent with my overall agenda, and which in fact will help me to achieve those other vocational objectives. So please visit this blog page (and other, newer posts at http://markpettigrew.blogspot.com), and check out the links I plan to periodically add to this blog post, in order to learn about my progress in terms of setting up an online storefront and/or selling various products in other easy-to-implement ways (some of which may involve income-earning opportunities for individuals, churches, etc. who are willing to help me to market my products)
If you're visiting this blog post as a result of being directed to the post by materials connected with another artistic expression of mine (such as a piece of my visual art), please consider putchasing a copy of that work of art so that I can spend more of my time developing the Christian Arts Initiative and the Need Meeters' Network, and less time trying merely to survive. Thanks!