I am in the process of writing my first book entitled, "My Hope Is Built", which deals with the question of God, the Church and HIV/AIDS. I was inspired to write this book from a simple question that was asked of me from a social worker I have recently developed a working relationship with; that question being, "What is the position of the church on HIV/AIDS?" Being a licensed and ordained Black Baptist preacher from the South, I found myself wrestling with the answer to this question, and given my own HIV positive status, I was compelled to seek out an answer. Over the next several weeks, I will be posting articles and excerpts from my book to hopefully begin the discussion on HIV/AIDS in this country, and more particularly, the response, or lack there of, of the church in this area.
I start the conversation in my book with the idea that HIV/AIDS is much more than a health issue. HIV/AIDS is a human rights issue, a social justice issue, an issue of spirituality, and a human sexuality issue. It has moved from just being a "gay White mans disease", if it was ever just that in the first place, and has moved into every social group in the world. Being a product of the church and having the experience I have with the church at every level, I am outraged at the fear and lack of engagement I find from the clergy and congregations alike. The reason the church has found it difficult to engage human sexuality-related issues is because we have, in part, considered sex as an “act” that resides outside the sphere of Gods sovereignty. We have believed sex to belong to the devil only; that it is wicked, evil, and associated with darkness. Therefore, this ideology believes that anyone infected with HIV/AIDS must be associated with this “darkness” and has received their due punishment from God Himself, a view we will explore more within this chapter. Viewing sex as being demonic represents the tragic separation of human sexuality and spirituality; a separation that can be traced back to the earliest of theologians. It is for this reason, among many others, that we must engage in a theologically sensitive anthropology; one that understands the direct connection of the spirit to the mind and the body. This is probably the essential contribution of Christianity to anthropology; that a human being is a “psychophysical union”, in which the body becomes the “Temple of the Holy Spirit”. Thus, HIV/AIDS and human sexuality are church issues just as much as the issues of discipleship, salvation, heaven and hell, baptism and communion.