Oh my Lord! I am going straight to hell for posting this…but I found this site online and it is hilarious! Her name is Betty Bowers, and she calls herself “America’s Best Christian”. Her site’s name is: Betty Bowers…welcome to the No Sin Zone!
She has ministries, interviews, interactive stuff….she is totally off the chain!
Anyway, if you want a little chuckle…have a listen: You’re Going Straight To Hell
Just got an email with the link to the World AIDS Campaign website. It has photos from the Interfaith HIV Conference that was held this past August. I am still clicking through all the links and remembering all the faces…
What have you been up to? Keeping your promise? I am keeping my promise, and have gotten off to a slow start. Am gearing up for a busy period the end of November and beginning of December. Have 4 preaching engagements about HIV/AIDS…pretty excited about that…would be more excited if I had a clue as to what I am going to preach about (depending upon the readings for those days)…
I have been pretty busy, and have almost forgotten about this blog. Didn’t get to tell you guys that a professional photographer that does work for The Lutheran Magazine came the beginning of October and did a photo-shoot of me in the refectory for an article they are doing on me for the December issue of The Lutheran. What started of as a little news blurb by the Chicago office of the ELCA, snowballed into a magazine article. So, I am pretty stoked about that, but will just be glad when it is published and out there, so I can get the reactions.
Will try to keep this updated more often….take care…and don’t forget to keep the promise!
I had a great day yesterday. I began my oral presentations to a congregation in Jamaica, Queens, NY. It was at my girlfriend’s church. Her church held a breakfast prayer meeting and had asked me to come and speak. And so I did. I didn’t preach, but put together a powerpoint presentation. I read the little vignette about Ranola and Ken first, and then launched into the powerpoint. It was all about the stigma and discrimination that keep people from reaching out, and getting tested or getting the proper treatment that they needed.
After the presentation, I then told them a little about myself and disclosed my diagnosis to them, and opened up the floor for questions. All the way from Philly to NY, I was kinda anxious about it. But once I got the mike in my hand, I had a good time (I am so full of myself…and something else you might say). Had them cracking up a few times, which I think was necesary, because the subject matter so charged full of issues that people don’t like to deal with, especially people that are in the church environment.
One slide, was the slide with the “sex-workers” in it. Didn’t know what I was going to do or whether I should even put the slide it. But I did. Because like I told them: I don’t condone it…but they need preventative care also. So, if you have a little time/or are interested, you can find the little short story here: A short vignette from a book of Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies) from the story: Knocking on Heaven’s Door, and the powerpoint presentation here: Promise
On a similar note, the article that Andrew Faiz did is published. You can find it here: Our Faith Demands More of Us. My piece is midway…can’t miss it…my pic is there.
Thanks Andrew! You really put a lot of work into this whole issue. I will be in the Lutheran Magazine in December. I’ll keep you posted.
Yesterday, I wore my “sex-workers” shirt. I had worn it before, but for some reason, yesterday was the day that I got comments. And who better than a woman on campus whom I believe to be conservative. I may be wrong. Anyway, I was entering the building, she saw me and commented on my shirt. I was with my son, and when she complimented how much she liked the shirt and the color, I said: “thank you, it is a prostitute” . My son giggled and went on in the building, he was probably thinking “oh lord, why did that woman say something about that shirt…now Mom is going to give her the prostitute talk.
And he was right! It is interesting. Being in seminary, almost ordained..and totally understanding why prostitutes (I mean sex-workers) need human rights and worker rights. Now, I am not saying that I condone what they do. But I do understand that in some cultures and societies, that is the only way of survival.
At the conference, there were actual sex workers from Amsterdam that didn’t speak any english and a translator had to be used. She spoke about their life, and how people think that it is a life of luxury. She said something that really made a lot of sense: Sex is not going anywhere. She said that if you treat sex workers and protect sex workers, then in actuality, you are really protecting the “wife or the girlfriend’. Makes a lot of sense to me.
Now, how do you preach that from the pulpit?
One more day of doing absolutely nothing, and so my son is doing what he does best: playing “Madden 2007”, while I am on the floor surfing away. I am thinking ahead of when I have to preach in November at an AIDS Day service, and so looking at things, hoping that the Holy Spirit may give me a nudge in which direction I am going.
I believe I already have a little idea of what I want to do…being that my work is going to be around the issues of “stigma and discrimination”. I don’t know what the congregational make-up is, I do know that a lot of seminary students and professors will more than likely be there. It is going to be a healing service. Instead of the usual healing service that usually entails healing for those that are affected or infected, I think I will turn it into a healing service for those that are negative and choose to harbor negative feelings towards those with the virus. A service that will call for the healing of people that are sitting comfortably in their homes, and cars –while others are suffering.
Anyway, during my surfing..I found this short little tape. It is really quite good. Check it out..it is called: Fear and Loathing.
If you had to choose, which character would you be…truthfully???
I used to be like the one who couldn’t wait to blab her big mouth about seeing Maria come out of the clinic. That is, until I became Maria….
As I began to surf the channels looking for something to watch, I passed by the PBS channel and saw a little baby named “Lucky”, who was obviously in the hospital suffering from full blown AIDS. It was a documentary called A Closer Walk. I watched the documentary, which was narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith.
There was nothing new that I hadn’t heard, especially since I attended the Conference. But the visuals were unbelievable, and heartbreaking.
Statistics that I heard:
10,000 people die from HIV/AIDS every day.
25 million have already died.
1/3 of all pregnant women in South Africa have HIV.
2,000 children are born with HIV everyday
650,000 children have been born with HIV in 2006.
5.6 million children have died since the disease was discovered.
There will be 40 million orphaned children 5-10 years from now.
HIV/AIDS particularly affects those that are poor, marginalized, dispossessed, not educated, and women and girls. They are the weakest in society. Women and girls are affected worse because they have no power.