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Is the Blog Meaningful for You?

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!!!

 


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Comments

  1. randal  December 8, 2017

    I love the Blog. My problem is having time to read it with work, family, & keeping current on my honey-do list. I don’t know how you do it all Dr. Ehrman. Thank you for all that you do.

  2. godspell  December 8, 2017

    Very meaningful, but so is my credit card balance. Yet you hit a responsive chord. I do come here a lot, and you do answer my questions quite often, and I made a donation.

    Guilt still works. It’s not only theists who use it. Sound strategy, posting on payday. 😉

  3. chrispope  December 8, 2017

    I live in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, and am unlikely ever to have the chance to join Bart for dinner.
    But … I have learned so much from this blog that I am happy to continue to support it and the ‘good causes’ that the blog supports. I encourage my fellow readers/students to do likewise.

  4. RonaldTaska  December 8, 2017

    Growing up in a small town in south Texas with a population of about 7500, there was no religion or politics that was not very, very conservative in nature. Indeed, I never met a non-conservative in my childhood. Hence, when I started to learn stuff on my own, that differed a lot from what I had been taught, it was a very lonely journey. Dr. Ehrman’s trade books and textbooks and blogs and youtube debates have really meant a lot to me for finally there was someone out there who made sense to me and wrote and talked in a way that I could understand. I will gladly donate for Christmas to the four good causes he cares deeply about.

    It is amazing that someone would come from as far away as Dallas for such a dinner event. I did not ask to be included because not being a scholar in the field I thought the few places should be filled with such scholars. I did not really feel that I had much to add or contribute just, as always, a bunch of questions. When I finally figured out, with Dr. Ehrman’s help, that the Gospel accounts differ from each other a lot and were probably not written by eyewitnesses, but, instead, were accounts passed down and embellished orally for decades, that changed everything for me and my long search had finally more or less ended except for a few details here and there. Merry Christmas!

    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  December 13, 2017

      Ronald, I thought you of all people would have attended that dinner. The blog isn’t made up of scholars, my friend. And so what if you had questions to ask—ask them! No person is better than another on here or anywhere else for that matter.

  5. Boltonian  December 8, 2017

    Hi Bart
    I probably fit into the second category you listed – I subscribe because the Bible (Old and New) and biblical history have been interests of mine, off and on, for about 45 years. It has not been life-changing: I have been agnostic for all those 45 years and more; in fact I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. Reading your blog and your books, of which I have several, is certainly interesting, informative and life-enhancing – but not life-changing. Just as you wouldn’t do this if it weren’t for the money it raises for charity, so I wouldn’t pay £20 or thereabouts a year if I didn’t learn something of value from your scholarship.

    Turning now to donations and the charities you support, I have made an additional donation in the past and I’m considering giving a year’s membership to a friend as a present. The charities all sound laudable and worthy of your generosity; two of them, however, are local to your neighbourhood and I would rather support charities local to my area if I make an additional donation – not that I have anything at all against those you have selected but we in the UK also have our homeless and our food banks. I hope you understand my position.

  6. nbraith1975  December 8, 2017

    Bart – I was the one that suggested you have a dinner meeting in your home town but was unable to attend because of business circumstances. I hope to make the next dinner meeting.

    As a business owner and marketing consultant, I would suggest blocking a space in the right column of your blog during the months of November and December dedicated as a “fund drive” for your charities. This space can have a “target” amount of funds and a “tally” board indicating current donation totals.

    You could also offer some of your books (Personally signed) as “gifts” for specific amounts given. Maybe even “tier” the gifts to specific amounts. I.e., $50 donation for a single signed book and $250 donation for a complete library of your books.

    Thanks – Neil

    • Bart
      Bart  December 10, 2017

      Interesting idea.

      • mathieu  December 17, 2017

        I already have most of your books but I’d kick in $250 for a copy of the full library with a signed cover letter. Can we work something out?

        • Bart
          Bart  December 18, 2017

          I’m afraid it wouldn’t be possible. For one thing, there are 31 books! Even if we just dealt with the trade books, that would be well under cost — and I don’t have extra copies to give out! Sorry.

          • mathieu  December 18, 2017

            I thought of that after I posted. Sorry for being shorted sighted. I’m going to put in something anyway. Love your blog.

    • webo112
      webo112  December 12, 2017

      I agree on the signed book idea, I would rather buy a new copy of a book singed, for more $, than regular version – perhaps you can offer this for your new book Triumph of Christianity.
      I will be giving a donation this week too.

  7. Josephsluna
    Josephsluna  December 8, 2017

    Dr. Ehrman, this is my ceremonial speech I presented today in this semester’s public speaking course.

    In life we all have that someone we consider a role module, admire, and teaches us important life lessons. Some maybe is it their father or mother, or just a friend. When it comes to that someone for me, I think of Dr. Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is a professor at the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Ehrman has earned a Ph.D.s from Princeton theological seminary, with his work focusing on things like, the historical Jesus, early Christianity, and the New Testament. Dr. Ehrman has written or edited thirty books, including five New York Times bestsellers: How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus Interrupted and Forged. He also is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. I have been a member of Dr. Erhmans blog, the “Bart Ehrman blog” for about three years. In this blog anyone is free to ask any question they feel in regards of we know as historical facts of what happened two-thousand years ago; I have question and I get an answer. Dr. Ehrman once was preacher of faith and now is known an agnostic, which is they do not believe or believe, the truth of God cannot be proven. Dr. Ehrman has stated one reason he has lost his faith, is due to suffering in the world. He had mentioned, in other words, if there is a God, then where is he when all this suffering is going on. Even though Dr. Ehrman does not believe, his blog still helps with numerous of charities and 100% back. I can recall one year the blog made over a $100,000; which makes me proud to be a member. I have exchanged personal emails with Dr. Ehrman in regards of the blog as well, with personal life things. One email Dr. Ehrman has sent me, he said, “keep going in life, you have a lot to offer this world”. It may not seem like much to others, but with those simple words, whenever I am down. I will look like back to that email. Whenever I feel life is too difficult. I will look back to that email, when I feel as if I am not capable. The lessons Dr. Ehrman has taught me, is whether you believe in God or not, we are living on this earth together, and positive actions are positive actions, and negative are negative. Dr. Ehrman is one of my main inspirations to earn my degree, and when that happens, I will take the torch that represents Dr. Ehrman’s legacy of, be good person even if you do not believe, because it makes the world a better place. I am not necessarily where I am because of him, but he has been a large portion of my motivation to keep going even further. He does not know I am doing this speech, but I want to verbally express, I am thankful. So, thank you Dr. Ehrman, thank you for being an inspiration for many people to follow. Thank you for being a great person on this earth, even with being agnostic. Thank you for sharing knowledge that can be intellectual and hope for some. You were once a father and teacher of faith, in my opinion, you were just hurt, and because of you I will add to the number of positive people, and I will keep my faith, even when others lose theirs.

    • Bart
      Bart  December 10, 2017

      Congratulations on your speech Joseph. I appreciate your kind words.

  8. fishician  December 8, 2017

    Made a donation today, knowing it is going to worthy causes!

  9. Judith  December 8, 2017

    There is no way this blog could be better than it is. However, we could do better in supporting it with efforts to increase the number of members and the amount of our donations. I will do more!

  10. tskorick  December 8, 2017

    I go through short periods during which I’m not as attentive to posts here as I’d like, but I always get caught up. This is perhaps the most fascinating topic to me out of any in the academic disciplines, and you dish the info out regularly. It’s awesome. And that’s also a great list of charities!

  11. Thomasfperkins  December 8, 2017

    You could do like the United Way and post a visual representation of where we are with respect to your goal. That might spur people to donate.

  12. DavidNeale  December 8, 2017

    The blog is extremely meaningful to me – indeed it’s been one of my main comforts during a time of deep depression in my life. Without wishing to over-share, I’ve had a lot of professional and personal problems this year, and becoming obsessive about early Christian history has been a good and healthy pursuit for me.

    And I will donate some extra money. I currently give to GiveDirectly, Against Malaria Foundation, UNICEF, and homeless people in the street, but clearly not as much as I could. (I’m far short of “go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” But then I’m an atheist.)

  13. Adam0685  December 8, 2017

    I’ve been a member since the blog started, and I have read every post. I greatly appreciate the time and effort you have put in year after year to raise money for the charities that you have selected. The quality of the posts are consistently excellent. I donated $25 today.

  14. talmoore
    talmoore  December 8, 2017

    Dr. Ehrman, I’m sure your publisher is going to want to send you out to promote your new book. When they do, you should push them to book you on the Stephen Colbert show. Why? For one, Colbert is a devout Catholic who is absolutely obsessed with religion (e.g. his Midnight Confessions segment), so I can guarantee you he would love to get you on as a guest (second guest, let’s be real). Then, while you’re on Colbert’s show, promote the blog; say how you’re doing it for charity, and so on. If you do this, the blog’s membership will explode.

    • Robert
      Robert  December 10, 2017

      I remember Bart already being on the Colbert Report several years ago. I’m sure the publisher would love to do that again but apparently it is not an easy gig to book. Excellent idea to use it as an opportunity to promote the blog and its charities.

      • Bart
        Bart  December 11, 2017

        Yes, trade publishers assign a PR person to each author for each book, whose full time job involves trying to secure media attention.

  15. Lev
    Lev  December 9, 2017

    I love this blog – and it has made a significant difference in my life. It has elevated my study into the new testament and the historical Jesus tremendously. I’ve made a donation, it’s not much, but it’s as much as I can afford (I have a very meagre income).

    I really hope you achieve your donation target this year, Bart, and thank you again for all the work you do in helping the poor, the hungry and the homeless. Jesus would be very pleased with you! 🙂

  16. DEGlaze  December 9, 2017

    Would you consider an (extra) donation to a local food bank as an equivalent commitment to funding your blog? We have plenty of needs here in the SF Bay Area. Regardless, this site has provided many hours of enjoyment along with your sound insights as I strive to inch a way up the long trail of increased NT understanding. DEG

    • Bart
      Bart  December 10, 2017

      I can’t count it as funds the blog has raised, but I heartily support it!

  17. jdub3125  December 9, 2017

    C’mon everyone!! Help the Professor reach last yesr’s contribution total. Send in an additional $25 and maybe some recipient can have a 2 year subscription to the blog. But mainly, the beneficiaries of your donation are hungry, or cold, or unsheltered, or sick, and they need your help.
    BTW Professor in your early Carolina days did you ever happen to meet some of the more outspoken liberal church ministers in the area, such as Bob Seymour or W. W. Finlator? Those guys were Baptists, and there were Methodists, UU’s, etc also.

  18. Jana  December 9, 2017

    Yes extremely meaningful although admittedly with health issues and a spate of Caribbean hurricanes, it’s been harder to keep up. Reading your blogs has altered my relationship with specifically Catholicism and my pueblo is 95% Spanish Inquisitional styled Catholicism with a touch of local folklore thrown in as well. I can now separate fact from fiction. I am excited too about the February release of your next book!

  19. jan.kriso  December 9, 2017

    Just wonder – do you keep records of how many ppl on blog are from USA and how many are from different countries?

  20. Telling
    Telling  December 9, 2017

    I’ve made a lifetime study of metaphysics, and more recently am writing articles, stories and several novels on the subject. Christianity wasn’t my focus, but it is a method for communicating metaphysics to people havig little interest in the subject. The discovered Gospel of Thomas was a game-changer however. It offers a clear path to metaphysics through the Jesus sayings..

    Your generous time spent on this forum is of benefit to my efforts. I knew that Mark was the oldest written gospel, for example, but didn’t know why. You’ve here provided concise information, giving away the “secrets” in a sense.

    Briefly, I would like to share my comprehensive thoughts on who I think Jesus was and what he accomplished. It is different from yours, given my lifetime background studying metaphysics. My view of the Jesus ministry follows a blueprint laid out in a general sense in the Jane Roberts “Seth” books, a voluminous collection of metaphysical information written by an advanced entity beyond the grave. The quality of this information gives me no doubt that it is genuine. It couldn’t be explained as it is by a physical person, not such a wealth of very detailed elevated information, which incidentally fits what we know like a glove, quantum physics, psychology, etc. — Beware, however, for the Roman Universal Church says it’s heretical.

    The world is a mental construct, dreams are of such same nature. Lucid dreams are experienced, providing such evidence. The world sometimes becomes more fluid, and this is probably the source where we historically find an “explosion of forms” called macro evolution, our minds being the guiding intelligence..

    Now, Jesus enters at a time where things are more fluid. Per Seth. Miracles were happening at that time, and Jesus became the central focus of such miracles, happening not actually through him, but within the society. In metaphysics, our thoughts literally create our reality. Individually and en-masse we build narratives in our imaginations. If we believe the world is hard and solid, as do Americans generally, the world will follow that mold. When that breaks down, it will become more fluid. We really have just one purpose for living this life, it is to understand that we create our reality by our thoughts. When we die, we are shedding this identity, and will be taking on a new identity, and this will happen again and again until we learn the necessary lesson to quiet and control our minds, whereupon we’ll have more choices on our future, which of course we are creating ourselves without conscious realization. An eternal hell of fire and a paradise of bliss are here with us in a single thought. They are states of consciousness which we may enter and exist as our emotions and thoughts dictate. There is no all-powerful God to pamper and punish us, but there is a source energy we can focus on for receiving higher healing energy. The biblical God does these things, but it is us really doing to ourselves by denying the unlimited source energy.

    The metaphysical understanding allows for miracles, myths, it little matters. How we prepare and understand the nature of reality is all that matters.

    I look forward to your posts, and it is wonderful that you do indeed answer every question. So, thanks.

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