Hello and welcome! My name is Hilary (often showing up around here as h.e.g.): for more about me, scroll down. But first, how about reading about this site?
faith & AIDS : connections
Let’s start with a quick dose of full disclosure. I am not an expert, on HIV/AIDS or anything else. I am far (and I mean far) from fully informed, highly insightful, or broadly experienced. Just so we’re all clear.
I am, on the other hand, passionately concerned about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and convinced that my faith in Christ should direct my response.
My primary goal for this blog is to provide a resource for Christians interested and/or engaged in AIDS advocacy (I use the term very broadly). I’ve tried to think about some of the things my friends and I might have found useful over the past several years, and what other people might want to see. I obviously can’t cover everything you might want or need to know, but I hope I can make learning about, keeping up with, and navigating this issue a little easier for some of you.
A few brief comments on perspective
HIV/AIDS is a massive, complex, messy issue. It raises a lot of hard questions and inspires a lot of debate: political, spiritual, and otherwise. There’s no need to go too deeply into that here, but it might be helpful to clear a few things up.
I intend this to be a nonpartisan site. This blog will deal with politics, because politics play a huge role in AIDS efforts around the world. I’m obviously not going to be totally apolitical – for example, I’m pretty likely to support a piece of legislation that provides funding for AIDS-related programs. But I don’t want to advocate for any political party on this site.
I am working from a specifically Christian perspective. Not everything on here will be specifically or exclusively Christian or religious in tone or content. Frankly, I’d be delighted if non-Christians find things of use on this blog. But this blog has “faith” in the title for a reason, and that’s always going to be a factor.
A few brief comments on communication
Just so we’re all on the same page, here are a few things to bear in mind:
The personal: Dialogue and discussion are always welcome. I hope that users of this site can feel free to ask questions, share ideas, and interact with one another. This is only possible if everyone sticks to some basic standards of courtesy. Translation: be nice! No personal attacks, keep the language relatively clean, etc. etc. … you know the drill. Comments that contain blatently insulting or offensive material will be deleted. (I don’t anticipate any problems here . . . just thought I’d let you know.)
The technical: If you want to post comments, please do! If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry. Comments from first-time posters automatically go into moderation, which means they have to be approved before they will appear. (This helps screen out spam and other potential irritations.) As soon as your post is verified as legit, it’ll go up, and your future comments will be displayed right away.
A few facts about me…
(…some of which might be relevant in figuring out where I’m coming from with all this.)
This blog grows out of four years of participation in the Wheaton College, IL chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC). More directly, perhaps, it grows out of a lot of time spent wondering what I could do to stay involved with this issue after I graduated in May 2008.
In college I majored in history and English lit. If you think that’s a bit quirky for someone so involved with AIDS stuff, you’re not the first one. But it does help explain why: a) I spent a lot of time at school as the only humanities major in a crowd of international relations and pre-med types; b) I’m writing a blog rather than working for an NGO or doing medical research; c) I’m a big proponent of the idea that anyone can get involved with AIDS efforts; d) I occasionally write long sentences with too many semi-colons, like this one.
My dad is the minister for spiritual growth at the church I attend. My mom is working on her Ph.D. in Education. My brother is a college freshman majoring in philosophy and Bible/theology (which kind of amazes me).
I’ve lived in Scotland, North Carolina, Alberta, Florida, and Illinois. I’m American by citizenship, but I lived in Alberta for 9 years, so I consider myself at least half Canadian, maybe more. I currently reside in the Chicago suburbs.
A small tribute
I owe so much of my interest in, knowledge of, and perspective on this topic to my friends and classmates from Wheaton SGAC 2004-2008, a truly amazing group of people. Special thanks to Dr. G., MS, DP, DM, JL, KC, EH, and LT, who I worked with the most, and especially to my dear roomie JSL, who got me into this whole thing in the first place.
When people ask me how I got involved with AIDS advocacy, all I can really say is that it must have been “a God thing.” I really think that’s true. I hope any good done by this site will glorify Him.