The AIDS Crisis: What We Can Do

by Deborah Dortzbach and W. Meredith Long

From the wrenching opening of Chrub’s induction by her mother into life as a Phnom Penh prostitute to the book’s closing vignette in which Sukunthea and her fellow Way of Hope Church members gently encircle the dying Chrub, the reader of The AIDS Crisis is pressed to respond to AIDS in a more radical way, guided by the life journeys of the authors.

InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL. 60515-1426, 2006, 157 pages, $14.00.

Reviewed by Evvy Hay Campbell, associate professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

From the wrenching opening of Chrub’s induction by her mother into life as a Phnom Penh prostitute to the book’s closing vignette in which Sukunthea and her fellow Way of Hope Church members gently encircle the dying Chrub, the reader of The AIDS Crisis is pressed to respond to AIDS in a more radical way, guided by the life journeys of the authors.

Deb Dortzbach and W. Meredith Long craft their narrative from a combined forty years of walking alongside those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Combining clear data, compelling stories and profound reflections on the pandemic, they create in the reader a sense of urgency to respond and then insightfully describe how to do so. A global overview of HIV by geographic regions and a timeline of the pandemic, starting with its inception in 1981, provide an excellent grounding for the book. The thorny issues of grace and judgment are elegantly addressed in “Finding Sanctuary,” a chapter in which Long points to the church as a safe place for those struggling with HIV/AIDS as it answers yes to both grace and holiness. Of particular merit is the attention given to the social complexities that fuel the expansion of AIDS: human trafficking; the poverty that drives women to prostitution to feed their children; perceptions that sexual liberty is an accoutrement of modernity and success; and the need for employment that forces men in Majority World cities to leave their wives and children only to later return with both income and the AIDS virus.

Dortzbach and Long bring sensitivity and specificity to the discussion of homosexuality and condom use. They gently and firmly press readers toward a response, both personally and through the church. They provide helpful suggestions on caring for families with AIDS and offer fresh thinking regarding the needs of orphans. Rich application questions follow each chapter and a feast of online resources closes the book. Lynne Hybels, Philip Yancey and Kay Warren all commend The AIDS Crisis as an educational tool and call to action that stirs the mind, heart and Church. They are right to do so. The faces of Chrub, Sukunthea and others from its pages hover in our memories when the book is finished, reminding us to move ahead in our own journeys with AIDS in a manner that is both humble and informed, both disciplined and committed. The AIDS Crisis is eminently worth a careful reading…and a considered response.

Check these titles:
Bourke, Dale Hanson. 2004. The Skeptic’s Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis: Tough Questions, Direct Answers. Waynesboro, Ga.: Authentic Media.

Green, Edward. 2003. Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers.

Hall, Jyl, ed. 2006. A Guide to Acting on AIDS: Understanding the Global AIDS Pandemic and Responding Through Faith and Action. Federal Way, Wash.: World Vision and Authentic Publishing.

—–

Copyright © 2007 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.


The latest missions content delivered right to your inbox!

Stay up-to-date with Missio Nexus and the Great Commission community.

Related Articles

Welcoming the Stranger

Presenter: Matthew Soerens, US Director of Church Mobilization, World Relief Description: Refugee and immigration issues have dominated headlines globally recently. While many American Christians view these…

The Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Few topics have more coverage on the Web than HIV/AIDS. A Google search results in nearly ninety million hits. Having been a major world concern for years, AIDS finally seems to be gaining broad attention by evangelical Christians worldwide.