As probably all of you know, the blog was originally conceived, designed, and begun as a way to raise money for charities dealing with hunger and homelessness. Every penny raised from the membership fees and donations go directly to the four charities that the Bart Ehrman Foundation supports (I’ll say something about the four in a moment). I myself pay all the administrative costs of the blog as part of my contribution. My technology and media assistant, Steven Ray of Innovative Design, who designed and setup my website, blog and YouTube channel, keeps the show running — it would be literally and completely impossible without him — and he often provides me with a serious discount for his services as part of his contribution. Together, all of us participating in the blog have had remarkable and considerable success. My hope is that things will continue only to get better.
I do enjoy posting and interacting with people on the blog. I see it as a way of getting important knowledge about the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the history of early Christianity out to non-scholars, and as a forum for people to express their own views and ideas through the comments. But to be completely honest – as I have been before! – if it were not for the fact that the blog raises money for charity, I absolutely, no-way-in-world, positively would not do it. It is way too much work, and I have so many other things that I want and need to be doing with my time. If other things were equal – and they are not! – I would prefer spending the hours I put into the blog on my own research and writing.
But the positive feedback I receive from all of you makes it worth it, as does, in particular, the fact that we are doing such great things for charity. That’s ultimately what keeps me going at it, and I have no plans, designs, or intentions to stop any time soon. I am still posting five or six times a week, usually around 1000 words a day, on topics of mutual interest, and anticipate doing more of the same for the forseeable. I haven’t yet run out of things to talk about. And when I do, then none of you will remember what I said years ago anyway….
When I started the blog my intention was to support four charities, two that were more “local” and two that were more international. I continue to support all four, and no others. But I do not support them all equally; I have become a big *especially* for the most local of the four charities (UMD, listed first below), both because (a) this is where I live and I want to do the most I can for people in need in my community and (b) it is an unusually effective, efficient, creative, dedicated, and inspiring organization. But I am fully committed to the others as well, and think that it’s important to be concerned with the whole world, so far as we can be.
As a refresher, these are the charities that the blog supports:
• The one nearest and dearest to my heart is the Urban Ministries of Durham, which is the agency that deals with hunger and homelessness in my own locale. It is an absolutely amazing “ministry” (it is not religious in anyway; the term is used in the secular sense),. Anyone interested in seeing what a local organization can do, and do brilliantly, should check out their work at http://umdurham.org/ — and please, donate some money!
• The other “local” is a terrific agency that deals with food distribution to the needy throughout my part of the state, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They do an amazing job; the logistics sometimes boggle the mind. You can see what they are about at http://www.foodbankcenc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FBCENCHome
• CARE. An international charity, dealing with heart-rending problems with dignity and integrity: http://www.care.org/
• Doctors without Borders. A bright light shining in our universe. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
Many, many thanks to all of you for paying your membership dues, and many more thanks on top of all that to those of you who have been generous in making additional donations to the blog, and especial thanks to those of you who have donated much. May your tribe increase! It is what keeps me committed and eager to do the blog, and I consider myself deeply in your debt.