is a 30 year old gay man who lives in a small town in South
Carolina. When he discovered that he had AIDS, he reached out for
spiritual help and encouragement to a county nurse who put him in touch
with the minister of education of a local church. The minister
had no experience with gays or with AIDS and asked me to go with him to
visit Roy. We had a good visit together. Roy had a lot of
questions about the Bible and homosexuality and how to find support in
gave him my UFMCC brochure "THE BIBLE AS YOUR FRIEND." This was
the first material he had seen on how the Bible does not condemn
homosexuals and how God's love also includes him as a gay man.
Roy knew no other people with AIDS and had no support group. He
had never heard of MCC. Roy began a new journey toward spiritual
healing and growth. As I wrote this chapter, I learned that Roy
had died, but I am grateful that he was able to accept God's love and
accept himself even in the face of religious abuse and
experience made me realize that many of the victims of AIDS live in
small towns and rural areas where they feel alone and isolated.
Cities like San Francisco and Atlanta offer hundreds of medical,
social, spiritual and community resources for people with
HIV/AIDS. But the great wealth of help available to homosexuals
in the cities is unknown and unavailable to many thousands who suffer
alone and in secret.
AIDS epidemic has cast a shadow of gloom, confusion, despair, fear,
guilt, denial and desperation over the lives of multitudes of
people. What Jesus taught and did about sickness and suffering is
suddenly of far greater urgency to every Christian than it was before
AIDS. We as Christian lesbians and gays face questions and
opportunities related to AIDS that demand a fresh and detailed look at
sickness and healing in the life and teachings of Jesus.
was 21 years old and an active church member when he discovered that he
was HIV positive. Jim was overwhelmed by fear, self hate, and
confusion. He abandoned the church and quit school. He
began to use drugs, drink heavily and sabotage his life in
irresponsible behavior. He refused to tell his family of his
illness. Jim lives in San Francisco, where medical help and
counseling are available, but he rejected all offers of help from
people who cared about him. Drug and alcohol addiction along with
social, economic, housing, medical, and emotional problems grew worse
in Jim's life every day. Jim gave up. Nothing seemed to
slow Jim's headlong plunge into the abyss of self destruction.
is one of my best friends, but he is not an isolated case.
Thousands of gay men like Jim are sinking into lives of quiet
desperation. How can Christian lesbians and gays reach out
effectively to the increasing multitude of people like Jim and
Roy? What kind of help does Jesus Christ offer in the AIDS
epidemic? Does the Bible have any real answers?