I have to get serious with you for a minute. There is something so heavy on my heart right now I can hardly bear it.
For some unfathomable reason, this blog of mine gets a pretty substantial bit of traffic. I'm deeply grateful for that, and I view it as a responsibility, one I take very seriously.
Because of this traffic, I receive many, many e-mail requests asking me to link to very good and admirable (and often heartbreaking) causes. People are trying to generate funds for a difficult situation, or they simply want to ask others to pray. I read every one of those e-mails. I often agonize over them. My heart hurts for every single one.
The truth is, if I linked to every one those, this blog would be a prayer request/fund raiser blog, plain and simple. If only linked to SOME of them, then I've been put in the position of determining which causes are "worthy" of a link, something I'm terribly unqualified to do.
Not to mention, while the majority of these requests are surely legitimate, I've received several requests that raise some serious red flags as to their honesty. I cannot stand the thought of linking to a scam, of vouching for a cause I haven't been able to verify personally and thoroughly.
I hope that all of this makes it clear that I simply cannot link to all these requests. I can't even link to some of them. I'm not qualified to determine which ones are deserving. And it kills me. You have no idea how many times this single issue has had me overwhelmed to the point of closing up this blog altogether.
I am very involved with Compassion International, both on my blog and privately. I'm committed to their vision and I enthusiastically use my blog to help them in their work, however I possibly can. Their financial integrity is highly regarded in the non-profit field, and they are following a model that works. In the interest of setting smart boundaries, both for myself and for my readers, I've determined that my charitable efforts on my blog will focused solely on Compassion. There are other causes and other needs that are legitimate, pressing and worth investigating, but I am simply unqualified to screen and manage them.
I've said this before, but I'll say it again for emphasis: the blogosphere is a wonderful community, but when it comes to reaching out and ministering to others, it does not take the place of God's chosen vessel for ministry, His Church. Always, always, when you have a need, or see one, bring it to the attention of your church. Organize meals, prayer requests, funds, whatever is needed, under the leadership of those specifically chosen and trained to handle these situations. If you don't have a church, that's okay. Any church that's worth its salt will reach out to anyone.
Of course there is a place for on-line fundraising and prayer--it's blessed many people. But, like everything else, it must be approached with careful discernment. Which is exactly what this post is all about--my silly, simple efforts to figure out how to manage this blog of mine with wisdom.