Here at the end of the year, on this New Year’s Eve, I’m reflecting on the blog and how it has gone over the past 12 months.   I’d say this has been a fantastic year.   Every now and then (like, every ten minutes) I wonder if it is really worth all the time and effort.  I’ve continued to post five or six times a week (usually six), and each post is about 1000 words long.   But in addition, I need to approve all the comments that come in, and respond to the ones that have asked for a response.  Altogether it takes about an hour of my day.  On one hand, that doesn’t seem like much – hey, it’s only an hour!   On the other hand, I already don’t have enough hours in the day.   We need longer days and more days in the week!  I’ve often wished there could be some kind of trade-off system, where people who are bored with nothing to do, for whom the hours and days drag on and on (a lot are like that, I know) could trade some of their hours with those who need them.   It would make everyone happier.

In any event, as you all know, I do the blog not only because I want to disseminate knowledge about the New Testament, the historical Jesus, the history and literature of early Christianity, and so on but even more important because I want to use it as a tool to raise money for charities dealing with hunger and homelessness.  I’m completely committed to this ideal, and it’s what keeps driving me.

And it has been paying off in a serious way.   The blog began in April 2012, and for the first twelve months we – all of us – raised $37,000.  I thought that was very good.  But it keeps getting better.  This past calendar year, starting exactly a year ago from now, we have raised $61,000.   That’s a lot of money.   And I see the potential as being more and more and more.

That will only happen if you help, by telling your family, friends, associates, lovers, despisers, next door neighbors, pets, colleagues, hairdressers, and random people you see on the street about the blog.   Word of mouth is what does it, especially, I suppose, if your mouth is electronic.   I know for a lot of people $24.95 is a lot of money for a year’s subscription.   But it works out, obviously, to little more than $2/month.   And for the value, I’d say it’s amazingly good.    It’s a lot more bang for the buck than you get by buying a non-fiction book on religion once a year (or a fiction one) (if you’re thinking O’Reilly, there’s nothing I can do to stop you).   So please, tell everyone you know and everyone you don’t know.

I’d like to conclude the year by thanking my computer guru who keeps this show running, Steven Ray.   He’s a genius for all things computer, and if you need a webpage, or a website, or anything else that involves keyboards and electronics, he is definitely your guy.   He designed the whole blog, he keeps it up, he answers all questions, he solves all problems.   Among many other things he has reorganized the categories so you can see more readily what has been posted on and when; he has  updated the search function on the site (that magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner; it’s a pretty good searcher!); he has added a print function, so you can print off all those comments you heartily disagree with and use them to light your fire; and he has moved us to a special dedicated server.  You probably noticed – and if you didn’t, you should have – that the site has speeded up *significantly* starting a couple of months ago.  This is why.  We anticipate no more crashes and ongoing real speed, in perpetuity, world without end.

So thanks to Steve.  And thanks to all of you: for your decision to join the blog; for your commitment to it; for your comments; for your patience; for your donations.   I’m looking forward to a great year ahead.

And now it’s party-time.  Happy New Year!