December 3, 2019 is “Giving Tuesday.” It’s a day designed to highlight the many worthy non-profit and charitable organizations that deserve our support — not just in December, but throughout the year.
May I humbly suggest that, on this Giving Tuesday, you might also consider supporting a creative professional — a writer (like me), or some other artist whose work brings joy to many people?
You probably know that my work as a blogger — maintaining not only my personal website, but also a regular blog on Patheos and a site devoted to Christian mysticism, Via Mystica — is primarily funded through Patreon, a membership website for people who want to be patrons for creative professionals like me.
Patreon allows people like you and me to offer monthly support to not only writers, but podcasters, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and game designers, for as little as $1 a month.
I myself currently support five different creative professionals through Patreon. The beauty of crowdfunding is that you can make a small, manageable monthly pledge — which adds up with the pledges from other patrons — to make a real difference for the artists you support.
This Isn’t About “Charity”
But Patreon is not meant to be a charity scheme. Those of us who receive support through Patreon are encouraged to offer something in return to our patrons. Something like a members-only newsletter, a special gift (like an autographed book), early access to new work, or even the opportunity for interaction with the artist you support.
So, if you’ve read this far (thank you!), obviously I hope you will visit Patreon and become a patron of one or more creators whose work you love. And I hope that includes supporting my writing. So today I want to highlight my newly revised list of benefits that patrons receive. I hope you’ll find these perks to be a meaningful expression of gratitude for your support.
Patrons who pledge $1 (or more) per month receive a special thank-you acknowledgment on the “Circle of Gratitude” page of my website, and a monthly newsletter for patrons only. If you pledge $3 or more, once or twice a month you’ll receive contemplative poetry that I have written, designed to inspire and support your spiritual practice.
For $5 per month you get all of the above, plus once a month I send you a meditation I’ve written on an aspect of contemplative Christianity. These are designed to “reframe” traditional Christian teachings in the light of mystical and contemplative practice.
For $10 per month you get all of the above, plus my “Contemplative Compass” column, specifically designed to offer practical advice and inspiration for supporting your daily spiritual practice. With an emphasis on cultivating a sense of wonder, deepening our relationship with silence, drawing on the wisdom of the great mystics, and fostering the virtues and values of a contemplative life, each month will offer new insight specifically geared toward deepening your spiritual journey. To learn more about Contemplative Compass, click here.
For $20 per month you get all of the above, plus an autographed book whenever I have a new one coming out — usually every 12-18 months. During years when I don’t have a new book, patrons will have the option of getting an autographed copy of one of my older books (note: this reward requires you have a USA mailing address).
For $50 or more per month you get all of the above, plus the opportunity to participate in a quarterly live event on Skype or FaceTime with me and the other patrons at this level (this will be limited to no more than 15 participants). We’ll explore a topic related to mystical or contemplative spirituality; you’ll have a chance to interact directly with me and with others who share similar interests.For $100 or more per month you get all of the above, plus the opportunity to engage directly with me on a monthly basis, via Skype or FaceTime. We can explore specific questions you might have about contemplative or mystical Christianity, or we can prayerfully focus on your spiritual journey, listening together for how the Spirit is leading your journey.
The Spirituality of Creativity: and the Gift Economy
In all candor, since my writing is spiritual in nature, I would love to just be able to give it all away.
But we all know that we live in a world where mortgage payments and other bills just keep on coming. Patreon gives me the ability to keep writing, and to make my work widely available on my blog, where anyone can read it for free. It is not my intention to give some of my writing only to “paying customers.” So the poetry, the monthly meditation and contemplative compass are all work that, eventually, I hope to make available to the public at large. But patrons get to see this work first — in most cases, probably years before it will ever be available publicly.
So while I hope patrons will enjoy these perks that I’m offering, I also hope you will recognize that your monthly pledge of support is not just for me, but for everyone who reads my blog, many of whom might not be able to afford to make a pledge or join a membership site. Together, you and I will be making a difference: making sure that new content on mysticism and contemplative spirituality will continue to be available online, for anyone who seeks to learn about this lovely and meaningful spiritual path.
What Your Support Could Make Possible in the Future
When I first learned about Patreon, for a while I resisted setting up a Patreon account for my work. I thought, “Who am I to ask my readers to support my blog?” But I changed my mind when I realized that the support Patreon provides allows me to devote more time to my writing — which is not only a joy for me, but hopefully will be a blessing to the many people who read my blog each year. The more I am able to write, the more people are likely to discover the spiritual blessings of the four topics I focus on: Christian mysticism, Contemplative practice, Celtic spirituality, and Interfaith exploration. No one has to pay to read my blog. This material is available free to the public, thanks to the generosity of those who freely choose to be patrons.
As my patron support grows, I have several ideas of how I can expand my work online. I hope to begin including videos on my blog. I’d like to develop contemplative commentary on the Bible — as well as on the writings of the great mystics. And of course, I want to continue to expand Via Mystica, which I envision as an online “knowledge base” for the practice of mystical spirituality.
These are ambitious goals. They will take many hours, over a span of years if not decades, to complete. Your patronage can help to make these goals a reality, thereby increasing the amount of contemplative spiritual writing available to the general public online.
I hope you can sense how this all is based on giving — giving away quality spiritual writing for free online, made possible by the giving support of generous patrons. Please join this circle of generosity, by becoming a patron today.
Thank you! Please visit www.patreon.com/carlmccolman to become a patron.