I’m happy indeed to be writing this end of the year assessment of the Bart Ehrman blog. And so, how we doin’? Yowsers!
To start with the climax: We blew the top out of our charity-giving this year, by bringing in and distributing $503,000. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that, well, is half a million dollars. Whoa. Many thanks to ALL of you for paying your membership fees and for MANY of you for making separate donations to the work of the blog. This is a magnificent outcome, well beyond what anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.
For some perspective, in our first full (calendar) year of operation (2013) we raised $51,500. More interesting, just three years ago (2019) we raised $144,000. We have more than tripled that this year.
None of this would be possible without significant help from generous supporters of the blog, including, I say again!, you, the members. In addition, there are several specific groups of blog participants I’d like to mention:
First: two blog employees:
- Ben Porter: Chief Technical Officer. Ben does everything connected with the technology of the blog, including making it run and fixing it when it’s broke. The blog would have crashed and died long, long ago if it weren’t for his skills and willingness to apply them. He is currently at work to produce an entirely new platform to improve significantly what we can do.
- Diane Pittman: Chief Operating Officer. Diane does all the administrative work for the blog, from customer support to coordinating and scheduling and running events to disbursing funds, to many hours of advising the boss, so that he needs to do little now besides provide content. Diane keeps all the trains running on time and the blog wouldn’t be happening without her.
Second: a group of a group of volunteers who generously give of their time to do much of the work that the blog needs in order to function:
- Brandon Bender: Reader of Gold-member Audio Posts
- Dave Bohn: Devoted Business Manager
- Lance Boyer: Coordinator of the Blog Book Club
- Robert Gilbert: Director of the Blog Forum
- Chris Huntley: Provider of Social Marketing strategies
- John Paul Middlesworth: Reader of Gold audio posts
- Vanessa Porter: Coordinator of Social Media
- Sharon Roberts: Reader of Gold-member Audio Posts
- Glenn Siepert: Graphic designer for social media
- Doug Wadeson: Structural organization of the site
Third: An anonymous group of Special Donors called “The Inner Circle” who generously provide funds to pay overhead costs of the blog and supply me with much needed advice whenever it is much needed. Without their help, we could not afford to keep going, and whom I cannot thank enough for their generosity and support.
For my part I continue to have two goals for the blog.
(1) To spread and propagate knowledge about what scholars have learned and think about the historical Jesus, the New Testament, and the history and literature of Christianity over its first four centuries or so, and in doing so to generate more interest, dispel more ignorance, and encourage more thinking on religious, historical, and literary issues that are of particularly keen interest to the two billion Christians in the world and also of keen interest to the billions of others who are not believers but who recognize how important such matters are to our history, culture, and understandings of the world; and
(2) To raise funds for charity in doing so.
I have already mentioned our progress on the second goal. With respect to the first:
- This past year I have continued to post 5-6 times a week – as I have done every week of every year since we started in April 2012. For the life of the blog we have just over 3200 posts. All of them available on our archives for all blog members to see (whether you are Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum level).
- As you know, blog members at the Silver tier or higher are allowed to make comments on the blog. This past year we have had about 16,000 comments. Over the life of the blog we have had over 136,000. About a third of those have involved questions to me, and I have evidently responded to 44,903 of them (not that I’m counting). I have tried, or at least meant, to answer every question I have received – even when I have to admit I have no idea… So keep the zingers comin’!
We have plans for making the blog better and better, that is, to achieve both our goals even more — to increase our membership,and by doing so spread an informed understanding of the New Testament and early Christianity more broadly and thus raise more funds for the charities we support.
You yourself can help us in a big way. Do you know anyone who might be interested in what we do? Family member, friend, acquaintance, neighbor, dentist, plumber, bookie? Tell them about the blog! Encourage them to take a look. Offer them a bribe.
Many thanks for your own involvement on the blog. If there’s anything we can do to improve your experience, please let me know. And if you like what you find here, please spread the word! I hope you have a happy and fulfilling 2023.