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, 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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soundoff (1,377 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    BINGO @ bobcat...and i betcha he gets food stamps too! Lmao. I have so often thought exactly what you just posted!

    January 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm |
  2. bobcat2u

    You know ? It's been said that :

    Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

    I find that statement to be Particularly perplexing in the preposterous position this person has perpetuated this Pfaribcated

    January 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm |
    • banasy©

      Peppers cannot be pickled prior.

      January 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        Great Minds !!! What can I say ?

        January 1, 2015 at 9:13 pm |
  3. bobcat2u

    In a related report by the Inquisiter, predictions for 2015 already include multiple ways the end of the world could happen next year. The recently developed technology used to develop an artificial virus for medical purposes could be used to create a zombie apocalypse virus as a bio-weapon. Of course, if we are going to have zombies, might as well have zombie soldiers. In that regard, financial experts believe World War 3 is inevitable due to economic reasons, and it’s possible Vladimir Putin’s claim over Arctic oil could be a trigger point, since it’s believed worldwide oil reserves could run out by 2060. Of course, the skies would not be falling appropriately if a 2015 asteroid impact on Earth was not thrown into the hat for 2015 predictions.

    January 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm |
    • Philip

      We already have walking zombies, bobcat. Men and boys addicted to mind altering prescription drugs that cause weight gain, brain damage, increased reaction times, and suicidal ideations. Just as drug labels warn of. When the US gov/taxpayer can no longer afford to spend billions giving drug addicts their fix, then the zombie "apocalypse". (Apocolypse means "a revealing". So, then the true zombies will be revealed to the naysayers.

      January 3, 2015 at 5:35 am |
      • Zombie Apolypse Now!

        January 3, 2015 at 5:59 am |
      • Zombie Apolypse Now!

        Men on meds with labels warning of suicidal thoughts make suicide the number one killer of US troops:

        January 3, 2015 at 6:04 am |
  4. bobcat2u

    It goes on to say

    Surprisingly, 2014 was not the year the end of the world occurred. I say “surprisingly” because the the ancient Norseman predicted Ragnarok, which translates into “doom of the gods,” would take place on February 22, 2014. The wolf god named Fenrir was supposed to kill Odin, Skoll would devour the sun, and his brother Hai would feast on the moon. One hundred days before Ragnarok was supposed to take place, the Norse god Heimdallr would blow the horn called Gjallerhorn to warn about the impending Viking end of the world.

    January 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm |
  5. bobcat2u

    Surprisingly, 2014 was not the year the end of the world occurred. I say “surprisingly” because the the ancient Norseman predicted Ragnarok, which translates into “doom of the gods,” would take place on February 22, 2014. The wolf god named Fenrir was supposed to kill Odin, Skoll would devour the sun, and his brother Hai would feast on the moon. One hundred days before Ragnarok was supposed to take place, the Norse god Heimdallr would blow the horn called Gjallerhorn to warn about the impending Viking end of the world.

    January 1, 2015 at 9:38 pm |
  6. bobcat2u

    When the Mayan Armageddon came around, there were people worrying about World War 3, and some traveled to remote locations in order to prepare for the end of days. When the doom of the gods came around, the town of York threw a party to celebrate the coming of Ragnarok in true Norse fashion. The weather even blasted a large rainbow onto the town, and it was joked the gods had used Bifrost to reach York in preparation. They even had the mythical horn Gjallerhorn crafted to blow a warning. Instead of being doom and gloom, this end of the world date was all about partying, grog, and men with really, really long beards.

    January 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Ragnarok was so much fun that our 2015 predictions are calling for yet another end of the world.

      January 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm |
      • banasy©

        I'm going to have to check out your sounds hilarious!

        Mmmm. Grog.

        January 1, 2015 at 9:54 pm |
  7. chri§§y

    Lol you do realise @ bobcat that you made that awfully hard for pullup to understand right? Cuz its either a verb day or a noun day and theres an awful lot of both! Lol cant wait to see HOW he interprets all of that lmao!

    January 1, 2015 at 10:19 pm |
  8. chri§§y

    And melissa says your silly and thats what she likes most about you. And she totally gets why we are friends since im silly too. I sure never thought that about myself i can tell ya that! Lmao

    January 1, 2015 at 10:24 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Thank you for that Melissa. Silly is good.

      January 2, 2015 at 12:33 pm |
  9. bobcat2u

    And now some more news to wring our hands over :

    "Two Orange Dwarf Stars To Reach The Solar System Might Wipe Out Human Race"

    European astrophysicist Coryn Bailer-Jones who works at the Max Planck Inst itute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany is predicting that around 14 stars might come within the next few million years. The astrophysicist came to this prediction after analysing the computer-simulated orbits of more than 50,000 stars that are nearby. The prediction also says that among the thousands of neighboring stars, there at least two that humanity should worry about, Forbes reports.

    I guess we better start prepping. That few years will be gone before we know it.

    January 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm |
    • banasy©

      Not really worried about it. I have at least a couple million years until I have to act.

      January 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        Just please don't procrastinate. If it should happen in the million years or so, instead of the millions they predict, it could have detrimental effects on our life style.

        January 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm |
      • banasy©

        I still have a good 500,000 years before I have to get on it. Why do tomorrow when I can wait a few more centuries?

        January 2, 2015 at 4:57 pm |
  10. mypayout

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    January 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm |
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    YOU ARE PAYING TOO MUCH IN TAXES! See simple free ways to pay less or get bigger refunds. See this important article that I think many will find helpful.

    January 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm |
  12. chri§§y

    Lol plan on livin another million or so years? Why would you want too? Lmao.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm |
  13. Philip

    Not bad. Not bad at all. And a lesson to be learned; if you lack imagination yet would really like pose as me, simply spend a few hours researching and copy/paste! See? Just about anyone can do it! 🙂

    January 3, 2015 at 5:31 am |
    • banasy©

      Wrong story. You're being jacked on the first blog.

      January 3, 2015 at 11:27 am |
      • Philip

        Get off of my ass. Thank you.

        January 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm |
      • banasy©

        I'm not on your "ass." I'm correcting you.

        January 3, 2015 at 12:28 pm |
    • Eddie Haskel

      Why, thank you, Mrs. Cleaver. How is The Beaver doing today? Nice parfum. Or is that perfume you are using to drug men with?

      January 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm |
      • banasy©

        Or in your case, Philip, "chloroform".

        January 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm |
  14. Bobsnot2me

    Shut up and finish building your ark, Noah. For 50 years you've been telling us it's going to rain. And look. It hasn't. Shut-up you old fool.

    January 3, 2015 at 5:39 am |
    • Bobsnot2me

      Noah! Noah! Let me in your ark! It's freaking raining out here! Come on. Have a heart, buddy.

      January 3, 2015 at 5:44 am |
  15. The Bible

    "The earth is standing to times indefinite and the moon shall not be made to totter."
    Those thinking the bible predicts the end of the world are stupid.

    January 3, 2015 at 6:08 am |
  16. Philip

    What parent hasn't judged their own children as worthy of everlasting life in heaven? Hmmm, @Donna Banas of inner city Chicago.

    January 3, 2015 at 11:51 am |
    • banasy©

      1) Do you think that you using my name is in any way, shape, or form intimidating? Because it isn't. You merely look like a buffoon.

      2) Is there another Donna Banas that you're referring to? Because I don't live in the inner city of Chicago, no matter how much you'd like to lie about it.

      Hmmm, @Philip Douglas, who breaks the 9th Commandment on a regular basis, then hides behind the robes of Jesus to spread his malicious lies.

      January 3, 2015 at 12:34 pm |
      • Philip

        I wouldn't admit to living in the second filthiest city on planet earth either. (Lagos, Nigeria is #1...barely) And Christ released us imperfect men from trying to do the impossible: Keep God's perfect law. We are commanded to love our enemies now. Not carpet bomb them. And have intense love for fellow Christians, though I don't view you as one either. So all you will get from me is the bare minimum. 🙂

        January 3, 2015 at 2:31 pm |
      • banasy©

        You are really dense, aren't you?

        After all these years, you still don't know.

        And, likely, never will.

        January 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm |
    • Philip

      My name is Philip Douglas. And, your name is Donna Banas. There is nothing intimidating about our names. It's not like our dad's named us Bob or anything.

      January 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm |
      • banasy©

        You spelled your name wrong:


        There. Fixed it.

        January 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm |
  17. chri§§y

    Philip WHY must continue this obsession you have with banasy and i? As if i would EVER dream of a hateful p r i c k like you sheesh! Youre nothing more than a gossiping old goat! And what you dont know you make up! Did you buy that dress yet? The one that will make you appear to be a proper biatch, queenie!

    January 3, 2015 at 2:24 pm |
    • Philip

      LMAO. Lookit little chrusty pants making fun of gay men again. What a riot. LMAO.

      January 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm |
      • Philip

        ...or was she making fun of transgender women? Hard to tell. She writes like an 8th grader. Just as the average US adult does now.

        January 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    I dont make fun of gay men. I am making fun of you and your penchance for being a gossip queen! Big difference. And if you COULD comprehend the written words you would KNOW that so tis you that is at an 8th grade level! Or possibly less since you STILL do not know how to spell my name! Im sorry youre so miserable philip but i dont think that gives you the right to make us miserable as well!

    January 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm |
    • Why giving Philip grief shouldn't be a solitary act.

      I didn't use your name. I used the nickname I gave you. Sort of like pullup only way funnier.

      January 3, 2015 at 3:26 pm |
  19. Why giving Philip grief shouldn't be a solitary act.

    It should be an ongoing one perpetrated by the Fantabulous3. One man vs. a baboon, an orangutan, and a monkey.

    January 3, 2015 at 3:24 pm |
    • banasy©

      We do not want to know about your penchants for bestiality, Philip.

      Keep your fantasies to yourself.

      January 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm |
      • Philip

        Things are going to get really freaky weird before this old system of things we live under crumbles down around us. Money becoming worthless. Walking Zombies everywhere. (even worse than now). Children needing drones to protect them 24/7 from priest and per vert alike. From uncle Joe. WWF champ being president. Women with plastic boobs the majority in Congress. Idiocracy will replace democracy as it decays into an oligarchy.

        January 3, 2015 at 4:57 pm |
      • Philip

        Men will one day be legally marrying dogs in church. Women, donkeys. You heard it here first.

        January 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm |
      • banasy©

        If you don't shoot your fiancé for crapping on your lawn first, right?

        January 3, 2015 at 5:29 pm |
      • Philip

        At least I don't say millions of dogs are being burned alive in "hell" right now.

        January 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm |
    • Philip

      Watch out! @Dogna banasy. One day men will be legally marrying their dogs...and in your cgurch, too. Don't laugh. They laughed at me 30 years ago when I was saying one day men would be marrying men in church. It was foretold about 2000 years ago.

      January 3, 2015 at 4:51 pm |
      • Philip

        Already men are legally marrying their blow-up dolls in India.

        January 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm |
      • banasy©

        They laugh at you still.

        Anyone with a scintilla of sense knew that the faux Christians would not be able to deny equal rights to all citizens forever. You have forged no new path at all, so do stop patting yourself on the back as if you were some sort of prescient being.

        January 3, 2015 at 5:25 pm |
  20. chri§§y

    It was not funny! Most of what you say is NOT funny! You meant it to be mean and we both know it philip! God knows ive tried on many occassions to make nice with you. said the MOST UNFORGIVABLE thing any human being could say to me and you have yet to apologise. Of course knowing you it escaped your conscience as soon as you said it! To tell me that as a 3year old raype VICTIM i shouldve been punished is dis pic able! You are a mean and rotten human!!!

    January 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm |
    • banasy©

      He is bereft of empathy and basic human feelings. 'Tis an illness he will not confront.

      January 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm |
    • Philip

      But you calling me pullup is hilarious AND innocent. Right? Chrusty pants?

      January 3, 2015 at 4:49 pm |
      • banasy©

        She called you that after you started fantasizing on the state of her panties, remember? Everyone else does.

        January 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm |
      • Philip

        Men fantasize about women's panties? Katy bar the door. Bailiff! Whack his pee pee. Schoolmarms cover the kids ears. Unless they are already wearing headphones biatch slapping hoes playing Grand Theft Auto RPG.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:23 pm |
      • banasy©

        I didn't say men.

        Reading comprehension is key, here.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:47 pm |
      • Philip

        Yeah. I got that. As if I'm the only man ever to fantasize about women's panties. I get it. Most men do fantasize about TV and video games these days. Am pretty sure I'm not the only panty liker left. Or thinks Sissy Spacek is cute.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm |
      • banasy©

        You're the only one who posts "clever" nicknames about the state of another poster's panties.

        That "honor" is all yours.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm |
      • Philip

        Oh! I get it now. Silly me. You mean that I'm just the only man here on GPS that fantasizes about women's panties or lack thereof from time to time. Got it.

        January 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm |
  21. chri§§y

    Yup and now we got the smash and dash routine while he tries desperately to come up with some lame excuse for his behavior!

    January 3, 2015 at 4:20 pm |
    • Beulah Migator

      He rough. He is tough. He walks and he talks and he crawls on his belly like a reptile. But he won't kiss your ass even for a million bucks.

      January 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm |
      • banasy©

        Having seen a video of you, Homer hair, the only thing you've gotten correct on your self-description is your reptilian likeness.

        January 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm |
      • Philip

        That's why princess Di was spliced into the family tree. Eyes were growing too close together and ears too big on members of the Royal Family and their kinfolk like George W. Bush. And the oldest family members were starting to look like lizards before they finally got "taken away". By who I do not know.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:48 pm |
      • banasy©

        "Look! A butterfly!"

        January 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm |
      • Philip

        Look! Lady Di's limo driver was an MI6 agent. Just like the terrorist acting like he was slitting the throat of a journalist. Why don't they just place federal gag orders on people they don't want the public to hear out like is done here in the USA? It's cheaper and you don't have to make fake videos and stuff to fool the dumbed-down masses. You just have a federal judge tell them to shut the heck up about their rights to free speech. Easy peasy. How it's been done in America for years now. Ain't that right, Connie Chung and Sibel D. Edmonds.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm |
      • banasy©

        "Oh! A squirrel!"

        January 3, 2015 at 7:27 pm |
      • Schoolmarm

        Ok, little donna. What is What is 10 plus 4 take-away 3. "Look! A butterfly!"

        January 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm |
  22. Philip

    Smash and grab, more like. (is what you do to me) Not unlike that big fat man strongarm robber's friends did to Ferguson.

    January 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm |
  23. Barndaisy@

    You are stupid. Huh.

    January 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm |
    • banasy©

      Yes, you are, Philip. At last: a moment of self-revelation.

      January 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm |
      • Philip

        I think Barndaisy@ you. Not me. And I see you skipping over many of my posts. Cherry picking, as it were. Like a little ankle biter dog ignoring the rest of it's victim.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:20 pm |
      • Philip

        ...and for obvious reasons, I might add.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:21 pm |
      • Philip

        WhiteSmoke Online Editor gives you an Excellent rating for that 6 word / 32 character sentence, @banasy. Good job. Only your sentence length received less than a perfect score. A small stain on the statue of you. Don't feed any of my writings to an online editor. I know I'm a hick. Not some high-fullutin' city slicker all proper and stuff. More like chrissy, in that regard.

        January 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm |
      • banasy©

        You are, quite possibly, the most ignorant man alive.

        Your "insults" only display that level of stupidity.

        Ignorance pairs much better with humility than it does with belligerence. You might want to remember that next time you start to bray about your "achievements."

        January 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm |
      • Philip

        Lol. What is your greatest achievement, @banasy? Collecting over $79 in overdue book fines? Setting a new record?

        January 3, 2015 at 7:01 pm |
      • banasy©

        I don't have to brag online about the things I do in some sort of desperate attempt to garner attention.

        Those who can, do. Quietly. Humbly.

        I don't expect you to grasp that, because you're neither quiet nor humble.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:06 pm |
      • Philip

        In other, your noteworthy achievements amount to nothing. Come on. Did you ever set any school records? Did you play on the girls underwater volleyball team? Underwater basket weaving? Surely there is something you have done in your life.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:18 pm |
      • banasy©

        No. In other words, I do not need to brag in a desperate attempt to try and feel better about myself with online allocades the way you have to.

        I do not have to reiterate what I've done with my life, when I have, indeed, talked about these things in the past; if you have forgotten them, it is not my failing, but yours.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:23 pm |
  24. Philip

    Let's have it out about how many 10's of millions of legalized abortions have been conducted in the USA, and add that to the number of illegal ones. And see if the two of us can come up with a rough estimate of what the population of the USA would have been if America had staid her course.
    And then argue if legalized abortions are how the US government controls population growth in America, as snooty city folk look down their noses at Chinese for only allowing one child per couple.

    January 3, 2015 at 6:59 pm |
  25. Philip

    Let's find out exactly why DIA officials tore-down all the wall tapestries that used to hang at Denver International Airport. And see if that has anything to do with the over 180,000 American children the FBI says go missing each year in the USA, never to be seen or heard from again.

    January 3, 2015 at 7:07 pm |
  26. Philip

    Or lets just chew on each other?

    January 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm |
  27. Philip

    Or we could review military enti tlement and disability fraud in America, and see if we can figure-out why you don't know about just how fraudulent millions of Americans are. And the toll it takes on our economy. I know one man (my brother) who has been scamming California State disability for over 15 years! The $870 bucks per month isn't what's killing US. It's paying for his freaking medications! I estimate he has cost California somewhere between 10-15 million dollars. He suffered the trauma of being robbed at a liquor store, and found a doctor/lawyer combo team that sued Californian's claiming he would never be able to work again. Of course he can't, now. Brain damage and weight gain and all, induced by doctor drugs.

    January 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm |
  28. banasy©

    Conspiracy theories appeal to those who cannot handle the reality of a chaotic world.

    January 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm |
    • Philip

      Enti tlement and disability fraud is not a conspiracy theory. Holy crap.

      January 3, 2015 at 7:19 pm |
      • banasy©

        I don't believe I referred to that, did I?

        You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:25 pm |
      • Philip

        You didn't refer to anything. You got-up on your little soap box so you were as tall as me, and tooted your little harmonica is all you did.

        January 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm |
  29. chri§§y

    Control freak from hell. Better yet just a freak of nature! Dis pic able little man!!!

    January 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm |
    • Philip

      I'll take that as a chrissy would rather just sit around and chew on each other.

      January 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm |
  30. chri§§y

    You are without a doubt the most hateful, disgusting man on the planet! And im betting Mary is thanking her lucky stars she no longer has to deal with YOU and that she found herself a REAL man!

    January 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm |
    • Philip

      I'll take *that* as a double darn tootin' right chrissy would rather just sit around sniffing butts and tickling underbellies of her buddies. And grabbing a handful of my greying hair.

      January 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm |
      • banasy©

        That wouldn't be hard, as you only have maybe 4 greasy hairs left.

        Why do you always fire the first shot, then whine when you get it returned to you?

        January 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm |
      • Philip

        Oh. I was whining? I thought I was keeping it going to give you old ladies something to do this evening. Boo hoo? Is that better?

        January 3, 2015 at 8:29 pm |
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