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Dealing with AIDS

Bruce C. Moyer  

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It is a disease that calls upon Christians to demonstrate compassion, love, and personal acceptance.

AIDS is not the sort of thing we want to talk about at the table over supper. We don't want to admit that this kind of thing affects us as Christians. But it does affect us. and we must talk about it.

The bad news is that HIV/AIDS is an equal opportunity pandemic. The HIV virus does not ask questions about our religion, age, sex, life-style, or sexual preference. It crosses all social, political, and economic lines. The good news is that AIDS can be avoided. But we must begin by not avoiding it. That is, we must face it, and talk about it. We must talk about it at church, at our schools. and in our homes. We cannot close our eyes and ears hoping that it will go away. It won't! We cannot assume that our children and youth are Immune. They are not!

A number of Adventists have been doing battle with this infection for a number of years. The church has not been silent, but the voices of those who have spoken have been partially muted by widespread denial. In the past year a number of these people, including some of the authors in this issue, have formed the Adventist AIDS Network. This is a network of Adventists who are concerned about and involved in a compassionate response to HIV/ AIDS, and the prevention of its spread. For further information about this network please contact the Adventist AIDS Network, Sutherland House, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103. The network can be reached on CompuServe at 74617,2465.

The articles in this issue have been carefully and prayerfully written and call for a new and clarion realization that we are dealing with a pandemic that has infected and is terrorizing millions of men, women, and children in every part of the world. This is a disease that easily has the potential of eclipsing the Black Death of Europe.

AIDS has been called, by some, the leprosy of the late twentieth century. It is a disease that calls upon Christians to demonstrate compassion, love, and personal acceptance. It calls us to reach out, as Jesus did, to the lepers of His day, touching people with healing, forgiveness and practical demonstrations of compassionate ministry and inclusiveness.

-- Bruce Moyer, S.T.D., is the associate director of the Institute of World Mission, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He formerly worked as the Senior Advisor of AIDS for ADRA International.

This article was published in the July 1996 issue of Ministry magazine,
the international journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association,
published by the Review & Herald Publishing Association at 55 W Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown MD 21740.

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