December 29th, 2014
03:52 PM ET

Why giving shouldn't be a solitary activity

By Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Editor's note: Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are the authors of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. This is the second in a series of three guest posts.

Secular people often make giving a solitary activity at the end of the year, one that feels like a sacrifice. That’s the wrong way to think about giving back. We learned a lot from churches and temples and the way they turn giving into an enjoyable, uplifting social activity. Our profile of a master pastor at a mega-church, Bill Hybels, reveals some of the magic he employs.  We all are social animals and when we do things with a group of people we like, the activity becomes more fun.

So form a book club and engage in a few volunteer or giving activities together—or link your book club to Book Clubs for Change, bookclubs4change.org. Choose a need in your community or an area of the world that you all care about. Then choose a topic and an organization you might work with. Or maybe consider an on-location trip to the area and meet some of the people you want to help?

Or join a chapter of Dining for Women, which is one of the secular organizations that borrows from the religious notion of fellowship and joyous giving for a cause.  DFW has guests bring a pot luck dish to a host's home and then they all donate the money they would spend at a restaurant to a chosen cause empowering women worldwide.   Some groups have a subcommittee screen a list of finalists and the group votes on a final selection. In A Path Appears, we list some other great organizations—there’s even one called Beer for Books—that make giving a social and fun occasion.

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  1. bobcat2u

    Three couples, an elderly couple, a middle aged couple and a young newlywed couple wanted to join a church.

    The pastor says, "We have special requirements for new parishioners. You must abstain from having se x for two weeks."

    The couples agreed and came back at the end of two weeks.

    The pastor goes to the elderly couple and asks, "Were you able to abstain from se x for the two weeks?" The old man replies, "No problem at all, Pastor." "Congratulations! Welcome to the church!" said the pastor.

    The pastor goes to the middle aged couple and asks, "Well, were you able to abstain from se x for the two weeks?" The man replied, "The first week was not too bad. The second week I had to sleep on the couch for a couple of nights but, yes we made it."

    "Congratulations! Welcome to the church," said the pastor.

    The pastor then goes to the newlywed couple and asks, "Well, were you able to abstain from s ex for two weeks?" "Well Pastor, we were not able to go without s ex for the two weeks," the young man replied. "What happened?" inquired the pastor. "My wife was reaching for a can of corn on the top shelf and dropped it. When she bent over to pick it up, I was overcome with lust and took advantage of her right there." "You understand of course, this means you will not be welcome in our church," stated the pastor.

    "That's OK," said the young man, "We're not welcome at Stop & Shop anymore either."

    January 1, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Pastor Rick

      Ya'll will be burning in hell for your sezual misdeads. Puhraise da lawd.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  2. Philip

    The fire-fighting techniques employed by today's "modern" fire fighters are no different than those employed by ancient Greek fire fighters. (pouring simple water). The water damage inflicted upon US by stupid firemen using ancient technology to fight fires is worse than the damage caused by the fire itself.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Fire fighters cause more damage than they alleviate. Care to debate? Bobsnot?

      January 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    Well let us hope YOU dont ever have a need for those "stupid firemen" to put the flames out if your pigsty is on fire @ philip!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Get the hell off of my property you firehose men trying to take a simple fire damage and make it into water damage too, you stupid firemen using ancient tech to fight fires which actually causes worse damages than the fire itself! (is what I said already, Chrissy)

      January 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  4. chri§§y

    And HOW does one "debate" with the village idiot??? Go drown yourself in some more whiskey! Youre keeping them people in business after all...be proud! Im sure YOUR real daughter is very proud of her drunk for a bio-dad!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  5. Philip

    How can one not defeat the "village idiot" in a debate, Unless one tries. Rather.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  6. bobcat2u

    One dark night outside a small town, a fire started inside the local chemical plant. Before long it exploded into flames and an alarm went out to fire departments from miles around.

    After fighting the fire for over an hour, the chemical company president approached the fire chief and said, “All of our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved! I will give $50,000 to the engine company that brings them out safely!”

    As soon as the chief heard this, he ordered the firemen to strengthen their attack on the blaze. After two more hours of attacking the fire, the president of the company offered $100,000 to the engine company that could bring out the company’s secret files.

    From the distance a long siren was heard and another fire truck came into sight. It was a local volunteer fire company composed entirely of men over 65. To everyone’s amazement the little fire engine raced through the Chemical plant gates and drove straight into the middle of the inferno. In the distance the other firemen watched as the old-timers hopped off of their rig and began to fight the fire with an effort that they had never seen before.

    After an hour of intense fighting the volunteer company had extinguished the fire and saved the secret formulas. Joyous, the chemical company president announced that he would double the reward to $200,000 and walked over to personally thank each of the volunteers.

    After thanking each of the old men individually, the president asked the group what they intended to do with the reward money. The fire truck driver looked him right in the eye and said, “The first thing we’re going to do is fix the dang brakes on that truck!”

    January 1, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  7. Philip

    My real daughter loves me, @Chru$$ty. Though you do not like it for some strange and ungodly reasoning.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  8. Philip

    One dark night a man awoke with a sore arm and a worn-out penis. That man was bobsnot. A jokester who plays with himself daily on the blogs.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  9. chri§§y

    Dont flatter yourself philip, i dont care nor believe a DAMN thing you have to say! You are nothing more than a blight on society! And im certain im not alone in that thought!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      No you're not chrissy. Anyone who can be as crass towards someone who is facing a very critical time in their life doesn't even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as humankind. Truly sad.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  10. Revrund Jessie Jackyasome

    Your daughter is in deep doo doo.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • Revrund Jessie Jackyasome

      ...is a coin toss. Heavens oh hells.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  11. Revrund Jessie Jackyasome

    Is your girl going to heaven or to be burned alive in hell forevermore, @Chrissy. You be the judge? Yet Jesus say Judge Not.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      So why do you continue to do so, Philip?

      January 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  12. bobcat2u

    @ Philip

    I showed your comment to my friends here at the firehouse and they asked me what kind of idiot you are. I told them they should set their own scale of measurement for that, because just when you hit the top, you turn around and outdo yourself.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  13. chri§§y

    I just dont believe it is all philip! No daughter loves their dad being a drunkard. Especially one as mean as you! And just because you tell yourself that does NOT make it true! But since you lie about everyother damn thing im not surprised you would lie about that also! But hey have fun getting your drunk on today! Toodles!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Lol. First you claim "alcoholic" and now, out of consideration for your own hard heart, call it "drunkard". You are so obvious, Chrissy.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        You said you preferred to be called a drunkard.

        Make up your mind.

        January 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm |
  14. Philip

    True. Most all Jews, in fact over 99% of them, rejected the teachings of Jesus. Even his own mom would not listen to him.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  15. Philip

    People like Chrissy became very upset when Jesus told hem that their dead loved ones were only sleeping. Not burning in hell or with a free pass to heaven as fat Americans want to believe today.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  16. chri§§y

    Lmao typical when youve lost your arguement you change the subject! Idiot at his finest!

    January 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      We were arguing? Sorry, I missed that. It seemed you were calling yourself a judge, and judging that your daughter is worthy of everlasting life tho Jesus said "Do not judge".

      January 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Yet you judge people you don't know on a daily basis, hypocrite.

        January 1, 2015 at 12:56 pm |
  17. chri§§y

    No im not what @ bobcat???

    January 1, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      Not alone in thinking he is a blight .

      January 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  18. Philip

    You have exactly zero proof of me being a drunkard, Chrissy. Yet you stake your life on it. Liars will NOT inherit God's Kingdom, says The Word. You are in fact a liar about me, Chrissy. And you have no way of proving otherwise. You gab about the houses as your own daughter is dying. I fear for your eternal life, giz a ratz ass of how you live this one ouit to the full as your own daughter dies.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      We have your own words.

      Nothing more is needed.

      January 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  19. Philip

    Toodles.

    January 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  20. chri§§y

    Lol oh ok. Actually he isnt human at all. Hes the true SPAWN OF SATAN!

    January 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  21. Anti-Skeptic

    In fact, no scientific investigation into a "burning hellfire" has ever been conducted. No physical evidence to prove a physical "hellfire" is burning has ever been conducted.
    We pay NASA BILLIONS of dollars to search for another "Earth". Not one penny is spent on searching for a hellfire most believe in without question.

    January 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  22. chri§§y

    My daughter is in dialasys at the moment philip! Not that its any of YOUR business! And dont think for one minute you have a golden pass to inherent anything....YOU the biggest liar ever! It was YOU who told me you were a drunkard and not an alcoholic. Though there really isnt any difference!

    January 1, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • yot philip

      Why do you make your daughter our business. I wonder about @Chrussty.

      January 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • banasy©

        Why do you talk about the things you do?

        You staggering lack of self-awareness is appalling, Philip.

        January 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm |
  23. @banasy and Chrissty

    Your own leggy juices are the drool.of Satan. Any questions?

    January 1, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      You are an asshole.

      Any question of that?

      No.

      January 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  24. chri§§y

    I have one question for you pullup...when youre burning in hellfire...who ya gonna call? Hope it isnt "them stupid firemen" lmao! They may just spray gasoline on you! Lmao

    January 1, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      That was funny chrissy. I've got to figure the reason HELL is always burning is because all them damned firefighters are in the other place.

      January 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Reply
      • @banasy and Chrissty

        All them damn firefighters use ancient fire-figjting techniques, rather. In hopes that firemen die as do.policemen. In hopes we feel sorry for them and buy them a big refrigerator.

        January 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        So enlighten me, oh enlightened one. Just what new modern day techniques should modern day firefighters utilize in their quest to extinguish fires ?

        January 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm |
    • Philip

      I think Chrissy watches too much Beavis and Butthead TV. I said "I think", so is not a judgment as Donna Banas would claim.

      January 3, 2015 at 11:06 am | Reply
  25. @banasy and Chrissty

    Scientists know there is no physical place such as "hell". And so do not bother with searching for it. Only really dumb people believe that people never die but go on living after death. Scientists know better.

    January 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  26. @banasy and Chrissty

    Chrissy has judged her own daughter. Though Jesus clearly commanded "Do not judge lest ye be judged,.

    January 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      That doesn't seem to stop you, you monumental hypocrite.

      January 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • Philip

        You confuse observations with judgments, old cow, For example, I have observed Americans growing fatter and stupider by the year since Nazi-inspired "meds" began being pushed on Americans by Drug Money MD's. It's so bad by now, that the average Ivy League grad student, while entering university with a 12th grade education, find themselves at the 8th grade level 4 years later. But with a certificate that says "I'm smarter." Also have observed the Average American woman go from very attractive to very overly obese. In just a matter of 2 or 3 decades, no less. (cite: National US Adult Literacy Survey)
        Posting personal observations over many years, and using the 14 million dollar National Adult Literacy Survey and facts common to the average Joe are not making judgments as you claim. On the other hand, you have harshly judged me without ever citing any proof other than your own dumbed-down personal opinions.
        P.S. Cover your homes in a slurry of inert foam should they be threatened by wildfires. Homeowners near San Diego who did this still had homes to come home to after the fire blew by. Others, came home to much water and smoke damage. DO NOT allow eager-beaver fire boy's to cause more damage with their little hoses than is absolutely necessary.

        January 3, 2015 at 11:03 am |
  27. yot philip

    "Hell" is a myth. Care to debate?

    January 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  28. bobcat2u

    Green's Law of Debate:

    Anything is possible if you don't know what you're talking about.

    January 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      During wildfires that threaten homes, savvy homeowners pay to have their homes covered in a slurry of foam which not only prevents the home from catching on fire, but also prevents smoke damage. And water damage caused by eager-beaver fireboy's soaking everything.

      January 3, 2015 at 10:48 am | Reply
      • Philip

        I am none of your business, old lady. Why not reread some excerpts of the Bob'n Donna show when you get bored here rather than harping on younger men all day.

        January 3, 2015 at 10:50 am |
      • Philip

        Fighting and preventing fires using inert foam is the enemy of fire boy's everywhere. For they would hardly be needed if everyone living in high-risk areas for wildfires did this. Already, over 95% of all fire alarms ringing at America's firehouses have NOTHING to do with fighting fires. Rather, 1950's tech fire trucks filled with water and little fireboys aid and assist paramedics called out because another American overdosed on drugs.
        We all see fire trucks dashing hither and fro daily...dozens of times a day in most cities. Yet there aren't dozens of fires. Only dozens of overly-medicated American drug addicts.
        End prescription drug abuse and you could lay-off half of all city fire department employees and not have to pay them generous entytlements for sitting around all day cooking and eating and polishing old 1950's tech fire engines.

        January 3, 2015 at 11:12 am |
  29. chri§§y

    I DIDNT make my daughter YOUR business! I was talking to MY FRIENDS and you in your usual nosey fashion had to butt in asking about things that are none of YOUR business! You know what im talking about..."who are you? Whats your real name? Where do you live? What do you do?" that nosieness! Recognise it? Now S T F U!

    January 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      I am none of your business, old lady. Why not reread some excerpts of the Bob'n Donna show when you get bored here rather than harping on younger men all day?

      January 3, 2015 at 10:50 am | Reply
  30. chri§§y

    Lol there is no debate pullup...hell is wherever YOU are!

    January 1, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Where did you learn that, Chrissy? Or are you daydreaming-up things about me again. Using as proof excerpts from the Bob'n Donna show.

      January 3, 2015 at 10:46 am | Reply
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