Last night I hosted a dinner here on my home-turf of Durham NC. If you recall, I put out an invitation about a month ago and limited the table to six of us. I was most impressed with my dining companions. Most of them came from out of town for the occasion, as far away as Pittsburgh and Dallas. Amazing. We had a fantastic time and it was great getting to meet members of the blog and hearing their varied and intriguing life stories. I am planning on doing this sort of thing more, not just here where I live, but in various places that I will be for speaking engagements in the months that lie ahead.
Everyone at dinner had things they wanted to talk about – and so did I! My main question was how we could improve the blog and do so in a way that would generate more income for the charities it supports. Over the five and a half years I have been doing the blog, I have never made any secret of my ultimate purpose: it is to raise money to help those in need. As much as I love all of you, I simply wouldn’t do it otherwise. It’s not easy writing 1000-word posts five days a week, dealing with something like 50 comments a day (I have to read and approve them all, and I answer all the questions I get), answering correspondence, and doing all the other things connected with the blog. But the fact that we can raise significant money for the needy keeps me going. As do all the bright and interesting people I get to engage with!
Now that we are moving further into the holiday season and toward the end of the year, I am paying close attention to the income the blog has generated. I’m afraid giving is down this year, and I would love to see it bump up again before we hit December 31. Would you be willing to help?
This topic did not consume most of our discussion last night – far from it. But we did talk about it a bit, and two suggestions came out of our evening that I would like to implement. The first is that unless someone has been a member of the blog in approximately forever, they may not know about the charities that the blog supports and so may not be inclined to be that concerned about that end of it (however concerned I myself am about it). It was suggested that I say something more regularly about the charities we support, and I think it’s a good idea. For a start, I give here, below, a description of the four worthy places to which our money goes.
Second, it was suggested that I not be bashful in making a flat-out request for donations. I’m not averse to that either!
So here’s the deal. Some people on the blog aren’t that interested in it. They give it a look now and then. Others are pretty well into it and look at it regularly. Yet others have found it to be a significant part of their lives, a chance to learn about all sorts of things they are interested in connected with the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. And yet others have found it to be a bona fide life-changing experience.
Whichever category you fall into – but especially if it is one of the final two – if, that is, you have found that what I am doing here has made an importance difference to your life — would you be willing to show your support by making a generous donation to the blog, here at the end of the year? “Generous” of course will mean very different things to very different people in very different circumstances. But if you could be generous for *you* in *your* circumstances, I would be most highly appreciative.
It is dead-easy to make a donation. Simply go to the bottom of the landing page and click the DONATE button, and go from there. Please think, about it!
And now, for the charities that the blog supports! Two are local to my community, and two are international:
- The Urban Ministries of Durham, This is the one nearest and dearest to my heart. It 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). Among other things instead of (or rather in addition to) putting a band aid on the problems through their homeless shelter and community kitchen and food pantry and clothing pantry, Urban Ministries actually work to get people off homelessness and into permanent jobs and permanent housing. Last year they ended homelessness for 287 people. Anyone interested in seeing what a local organization can do, and do brilliantly, should check out their work at http://umdurham.org/.
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. This too is a terrific agency that deals with food distribution to the needy throughout my part of the state. The quantity of food they collect from all kinds of sources and the complex distribution process they undertake are logistically mind boggling. They literally keep people from starving. You can see what they are about at http://www.foodbankcenc.org
The other two agencies that the Blog supports are internationally well known and do not need much comment from me. I have supported their work for years and am a true believer in what they do.
- CARE. Care is an international relief agency that works in nearly 90 countries. As they say: “implementing long-term programs to fight poverty, responding to humanitarian emergencies, and advocating for policy change to improve the lives of the poorest people.” They deal with heart-rending problems with dignity and integrity: http://www.care.org/
- Doctors without Borders. This is one of the truly great humanitarian charities in the world, without a question, a bright light shining in our universe. By their own summary: “Doctors Without Borders provides medical care to people in nearly 70 countries worldwide, saving lives threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. As a humanitarian organization, we treat people in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
IF YOU DON”T BELONG TO THE BLOG YET, now is your big chance! You can see it does great things for needy people. Most important, by joining you give yourself a great benefit — access to masses of information about the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the history of early Christianity. So JOIN!!!