I am happy to announce a milestone in the life of the blog.

As everyone who has been on the blog for any length of time has heard me say ad nauseum, the principal reason I started the blog, and continue to do it, is not – is decidedly not – because I feel constantly driven to post my views about the intellectual matters that are important to me:  the historical Jesus, the writings of Paul, the formation of the New Testament, the early Christian apocrypha, the Apostolic Fathers, the history of early Christianity, the manuscript tradition of the early Christian writings, etc. etc.   I started the blog, instead, as a way of raising money.   And I continue to do it in order to raise money.

I don’t mean to sound crass about it, but if it wasn’t for the money, I wouldn’t do it.  There’s no way on God’s Green Earth I would do it.   I continue to post 5-6 times a week, almost always around 1000 words per post.   That takes about an hour of my life, nearly every day.   Adding up the attendant demands of the post – answering related emails, taking care of administrative duties, and so on – I probably spend 8-9 hours a week on the blog.   That’s over 400 hours a year.  That would be 10 regular work weeks a year.   I really (REALLY) could use that time for other things.   My God, I would love to have that time to bank.   Think of all the ESPN I could watch!!!

But I don’t begrudge the time, for two reasons.   First, people seem to appreciate the blog and are glad that I’m willing to talk about all the things that we cover on it.   So it’s a public service, and I’m happy to do it for that reason.   But even more, secondly, it is because of the money.

So here’s the milestone we have recently reached.   The blog has now brought in just over $200,000 in the time of its existence.   That’s a significant chunk of change.  I think it is both amazing and fantastic – and I have all of *you* to thank!

As you know, every penny ever brought in to the blog has gone to charities dealing with hunger and homelessness.   That money has made a very big difference to the organizations we support.   The highest percentage goes to my local group The Urban Ministries of Durham, which does absolutely spectacular work in the community, not only feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, and providing emergency housing for those down on their luck, but also working to help END homeless by working to help people find permanent work and permanent housing – nearly 300 success stories just this past year.

Other money goes to the Food Bank of North Carolina (another absolutely fantastic organization) and two deservedly well-known international organizations, who are in constant and real need as they deal with mind-boggling crises around the world, CARE and Doctors without Borders.

Those of us on the sidelines stand in constant awe and admiration for the people in these groups doing the hard work.  They are models for us all, and none of us can thank them enough.

So we have passed the $200,000 mark.  When I started in on this blog just over three years ago, I didn’t know what to expect.   But I don’t think I expected that we would do this well this quickly.  Now that we have, I have very big ambitions to do very much more.   You can help.

I have as a middle-range ambition to raise $100,000 a *year* on the blog.   Last year we raised $78,000, which was a $20,000 increase over the year before.  So it is *possible* that my goal is reachable, even this year.  But it won’t happen simply on the basis of adding new members.   New members join the blog all the time, and we are highly grateful for that and hope that newcomers will like what they find and renew their subscriptions year in and year out.    Still, we need more than that.

Here are several things that you can do to help us reach my goal.  PLEASE think about taking on the challenges with me:

  • MAKE A DONATION. We have some members who give a monthly amount to the blog.   This is fantastic.   Consider doing so yourself, simply arranging to have a monthly amount come to the blog as part of your charitable giving (by clicking the appropriate tab on the home page).   Others give lump sums on occasion.  Please consider doing that as well.   The blog currently has two or three people that can be considered “major donors.”   These generously give substantial sums to keep us encouraged and keep us going.  I can’t tell you how deeply appreciative I am to them.   Please think about joining their ranks.  If you want to talk to me about it, just send me an email.
  • GIVE GIFT MEMBERSHIPS. It is easy to gift a membership to someone.  It’s a great idea.  It means getting someone something that is really valuable that isn’t something they’ll just stick in a closet and forget about, something instead that can bring meaning and interesting information regularly, all the time, into their lives.   Just click the Gift Subscriptions tab on the homepage, and follow the directions.
  • ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO JOIN. You probably have family members, friends, work associates, neighbors, email connections and others who would enjoy the blog.  Encourage them to come onto it and start enjoying the benefits.  Spread the word!
  • GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS. As always, I am open to suggestions about what to do to make the blog even better than it is.   We have made tons of improvements (to what was already a good product) since beginning over three years ago, and the blog as a result has gotten better and better.   We want it to be as good as can be.  I take all suggestions seriously, so feel free to rain them down upon me.

Let me end simply by thanking you for your involvement.   The enthusiastic reception the blog has received is in part what keeps me going.  My plan is to continue the efforts for as long as we find success.  (And as long as I have anything to say.)    If you have any questions or concerns or comments, as always, please let me know.