An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park is on a record-scorching pace of growing Web traffic.

We had 279,012 page requests in June. That compares to 93,074 in June 2005. Page requests represent the number of times articles are read.

As good as that record was, July numbers were equally impressive, especially given the July 4 holiday. We had 277,033 page requests, compared to 94,463 two years earlier.

We reached the 200,000 page-request plateau in six of 12 months in 2006. So far in 2007, every month has been above 234,000.

Simply put, is growing dramatically. In a time of declining attendance at religious meetings and plummeting circulation for Baptist state newspapers, has an expanding constituency for three likely reasons.

We don’t make promises about tomorrow. We deliver every day.

We deliver breaking news stories and cutting-edge opinion pieces that are read around the world. We post insightful sermons from some of the best Baptist preachers. We use the best of affordable technology, such as online video, to inform and motivate readers.

We don’t announce partnerships that fizzle. We create partnerships that sizzle.

For example, we organized this winter and spring a coalition to produce Bible-study material on Luke 4 to prepare the hearts, heads and hands of goodwill Baptists for the New Baptist Covenant Celebration early next year in Atlanta. Material is free and online.

We don’t talk about the need for an alternative national voice to fundamentalists. We are that voice.

From Fox News to local TV news, from editorial pages in major dailies to wire-service news stories, we challenge fundamentalism and the Christian Right more consistently than any other Baptist source. We provide both a voice and a platform for other centrist-to-progressive voices. We do so from a faith perspective rooted in biblical realism.

From speaking up for public education, to opposing the war in Iraq when it was at its highest jingoistic level, from breaking news stories about Baptist clergy abuse of children, to addressing immigration, has been at the leading edge.

“Golden Rule Politics: Reclaiming the Rightful Role of Faith in Politics” is a 35-minute DVD that will be released next week. “Good Will for the Common Good: Nurturing Baptists’ Relationship with Jews” is another new DVD scheduled for a fall release. The first illustrates our commitment to ecumenical efforts; the second demonstrates our commitment to constructive interfaith resources.

If this editorial sounds like I’m preaching to the choir, well, I probably am. Our readers know who we are. And we need our readers to know where we are financially.

Individual contributions are a critical component of our patchwork-quilt of financial support. After seven months, here’s a breakdown of the top five funding sources:

  • 15.4 percent from foundations.
  • 15.2 percent from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (undesignated and designated).
  • 12.7 percent from the Baptist General Association of Virginia (undesignated and designated).
  • 10.7 percent from local churches.
  • 9.5 percent from individuals.

As the individual primarily responsible for fund raising, I’ve spent most of this year working on educational partnerships and issues. I now need to squeeze in much more time asking individuals for their financial support.

Will you consider investing in success and productivity with a contribution this week? I hope you will.

If so, click here to make a secure online contribution or to obtain our mailing address.

We depend on our readers. Our readers depend on us. Together we make a difference for the common good.

Robert Parham is executive director for the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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