Earlier today, I learnt through Paypal that a reader had donated some money. I immediately wrote to thank him, and was deeply moved by his prompt reply:
No need to thank me. I am thankful for you and this blog. As just about everyone else i have had issues with being gay and believing what i was taught in church. This blog has helped immensely in understanding how gay people fit in. I am the one who should be thanking you. You will never know how much good you have brought, how much peace and acceptance by not only gay people but people who love them. God is using you and your blog to reach all of his children that the church, catholic and protestant have driven away.
God bless you and your partner
I had a similar response some month ago, when I thanked a different reader from quite another part of the world:
You really don’t have to thank me for anything. I must thank you for the splendid job you do.
I feel that it is important to let my readers know how important this encouragement is to me. When I started the project just under two years ago, I had no idea how completely it was to take over my life. At the start, I had fairly limited objectives – but that soon changed, as it rapidly became virtually the full-time (unpaid) occupation that it has become. I use the term “full-time” here advisedly, as that is literally true – when I am not physically writing, researching material, or fiddling with technical issues, much of my remaining time is given over to thinking about the content or direction of the site.
In material terms, the past two years have been exceptionally difficult. For much of last year, I had virtually no outside employment or income. I did not need much, as I have no longer have dependent children, and instead have a partner to provide food and shelter – but even finding train fare into London, for example to attend Mass, was difficult. This year has been a little easier, as I now have some modest, low level, part-time work from two sources. During university exam times, I do some invigilation at the local university. More recently, I have taken on more regular work three evenings or so a week – delivering pizzas. Both of these are paid at a low hourly rate, for a limited number of hours a week, but suit me on several counts:
- While the total income is low, it is sufficient to keep me supplied with at least my most basic needs – paying my computer costs, train fares, and some occasional books relevant to my writing, and to allow me to contribute at least something to the household expenses.
- Both invigilation and driving leave me with plenty of good time while working for thinking – thinking about possible content, or about solving technical difficulties, or about plans for possible further development.
- Above all, restricting the total time spent on delivery driving and invigilation leaves most of my daytimes free for what I see in my own mind as my real work – this site and its spin-offs.
My modest earnings from outside employment have also been supplemented from this year by a trickle of income from the site itself, from direct donations, from the advertising I have started to carry, and from Amazon.com, for books sold by Amazon product links. (Even taken together, the income from these three site based sources has been no more than a couple of hundred pounds, over nine months. Not exactly a fortune, then.
So, why do I do it, then? Simply put, because I must. I am convinced, from deep inside myself, that this is something that I simply have to do. Sometimes I think that this conviction is deranged, that I must be crazy to give it so much time, and so little to the practical business of making a living – but astonishingly, every single time that I have begun to think along those sorts of lines, something has come along to confirm me in my commitment.
For these reason, the money I have received from my few donors, and the £65 total received so far from advertising are immensely important to me on two counts. Obviously, the money itself is appreciated. But even more, is the encouragement I get from knowing that many of my readers find material of real value at the site, material that helps them to negotiate more easily the difficulties that we, as lesbians, gay men or trans Christians, so often experience in our lives in Church.
William has shown this value in a monetary contribution, but also turned my thanks on its head by thanking me instead. I have frequently read similar words of thanks and appreciation from other readers. It is this encouragement that leaves me convinced that I am indeed on the path I have to follow. This will remain my real work. In his own way, the Lord will continue to provide the material means for survival, just as He has done for me up to this point.
And so, I now offer heartfelt thanks to all of you, my readers, for your encouragement and support – whether this be by direct monetary contribution, by comments placed in response to posts, by writing to me directly, or simply by reading. In a very real way, you make it possible for me to carry on.
Deo gratias – et tibi, (Thanks be to God – and to you all.)