Nick Kristof on How to Spur Compassionate Action

The current issue of Outside magazine carries a fascinating article by NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof challenging those who care deeply for the destitute to rethink the way we present human need to those we hope to spur to compassion and action.  Kristof’s discussion is focused on the question, “What motivates us as humans to respond to need?”  Admittedly, his analysis overlooks the spiritual dimension–and the motivations a Christian has for serving neighbor that can’t be explained by rhetorical analysis, psychology or game theory alone.   Even so, he makes a powerful case for moving away from what is often the mainstay of motivational pleas by even the most Christian organizations:  big stats on need and accounts of tragic situations.  Instead, Kristof argues, far more impact will be made by providing deeply personal snapshots of individuals that include reasons for hope–showing that despite the crushing need, human choices can make a difference.  For any who desire to stir to action the conscience God has placed in each of us, Kristof’s article is a must read…