Living with AIDS

Sojourners, January 2008

The worldwide body of Christ is finally getting its act together to respond to the global pandemic of HIV and AIDS. In ravaged Africa, the church has had no other choice; its congregations are being decimated. Churches in the West are coming to understand that the commandment “Love thy neighbor” did not specify geographical boundaries, and they are increasing outreach programs and partnerships for AIDS ministries.

Christian theologians, on the other hand, have some catching up to do. HIV and AIDS manifest in physical, personal, social, and spiritual catastrophes. The disease’s complexities deserve a nuanced theological re­sponse.

That one has not yet fully been developed in part explains the mixed success of the essays found in Reflecting Theologically on AIDS: A Global Challenge , edited by Robin Gill of the University of Kent. In December 2003, Gill attended a workshop of Christian theologians sponsored by UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS) in Windhoek, Namibia. This workshop fired Gill’s conviction that there needs to be a wider and deeper theological reflection about the challenge of AIDS, so he set about collecting presentations from the workshop along with other essays previously published (though none widely), a mixture of Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, and feminist perspectives. …

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