Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence: Christian Churches and the Global AIDS Crisis

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Fortress Press, Jan 1, 2004 - Religion - 192 pages
Christian Churches and the Global AIDS Crisis More than twenty years into the global AIDS pandemic, the efforts of Christian congregations and denominations have been less than minimal. This book is aimed to awaken Christian compassion in the coming years to this fathomless tragedy. The worst health crisis in the world in 700 years, global HIV/AIDS epidemic is overwhelming in scale: 40 million people are infected worldwide (75% of them in Africa); 7000 people die daily; each day 1600 persons are infected. Some 26 million people have already died. ''At this unprecedented kairos moment in human history, '' says Messer, ''God is calling the church to a new mission and ministry.'' Drawing on his own involvement in global AIDS education in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, Messer uses stories, basic factual information, and theological insights to motivate lay and clerical Christians to assume leadership and form partnerships with Christians around the world in this struggle. Just as individuals must change their behavior to prevent and eliminate AIDS, so must congregations and church leaders. Compassion, not condemnation, is desperately needed, says Messer. But financial resources for education and prevention programs are also urgently required from churches. Messer shows how churches can partner with ecumenical organizations, relief agencies, volunteer mission programs, healthcare programs, and other agencies to engage global AIDS directly and effectively.
 

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Contents

Introduction
xi
Jesus in the AIDS Hospital
xiii
Word Becomes Flesh
xv
An Essay in Practical Theology
xvi
HIVAIDS
xix
The Church and Global AIDS
1
Global Emergency
2
From Denial to Constructive Engagement
5
An Equal Opportunity Disease
77
The Patriarchy Problem
78
An Ethical Response
79
Hearing and Heeding Womens Voices
92
The ABCs of Prevention
95
A Is for Abstinence
97
B Is for Be Faithful
98
C Is for Condoms
100

A Global Portrait of HIVAIDS
7
Updating Global Statistics
16
Toward a New AIDS Theology
18
Reclaiming the Essence of the Church
21
An Ecumenical and Interfaith Response
24
One by One by One
25
We Are All HIVpositive
27
Facing Stigmatization and Discrimination
28
We Are All Dying
30
Courage and Hope of Persons with HIVAIDS
32
Its Not Our Problem
33
Its Not Christian to Talk about Sex
34
Its Somebody Elses Responsibility
35
Compassion SelfInterest and Challenges Ahead
37
Facing and Responding to Sexual Realities
39
AIDS and Sexual Behavior
40
Responding with Christian Love
49
What If?
58
Stigmatization and Discrimination
59
Stigmatization and Discrimination as Sins
60
Resisting Sin
61
AIDS Is Not a Dirty Word
74
Women Children and HIVAIDS
76
Other Letters in the Alphabet of Life
104
Ethics in a New Key
111
A World without AIDS
115
An Unexpected Unwelcome Banquet Guest
116
Love in a Time of AIDS
118
Realistic Idealism
125
Ensuring Care Testing Counseling and Treatment
127
Care Not Cure
128
Testing Not Denial
134
Competent Compassionate Counseling
137
Treatment
141
Saving Grace
146
Global Hope in a Global Emergency
147
Awakening a Sleeping Church
149
A Liturgical Response to the Global Emergency
150
Signs of Global Hope
157
Partnerships to Save Lives
161
Faith Hope and Love
164
Avoiding HIVAIDS
167
Notes
169
Selected Bibliography
189
Copyright

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Page 186 - God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

About the author (2004)

Donald E. Messer is a United Methodist theologian and author of twelve books. Currently the Executive Director of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS, Messer was President of Dakota Wesleyan University from 1971-1981 and President of Illiff School of Theology from 1981-2000. He was named both President Emeritus and the Henry White Warren Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at The Iliff School of Theology. Concern for the escalating global HIV/AIDS pandemic has prompted Dr. Messer to travel and speak in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as to initiate a Center for the Church and Global AIDS that serves as a catalyst for Christian involvement in the major issues related to global HIV and AIDS, world hunger, and clean water. A college and seminary president for 29 years, Messer holds a Ph.D. from Boston University in social ethics. In 2005 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from a medical university in India for his humanitarian work. Among other awards received over the years was being named One of American's Ten Outstanding Young Men in 1976 by the United States Jaycees. Throughout the world, the Center supports various projects of education, prevention, care and treatment, aimed at helping to create an AIDS-free and hunger-free world.

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