We participants in the Higher Ground Group have the rich opportunity to dialog with each other, but far more importantly, to meet a broad variety of audiences in our city. We are searching for different insights which may help us find solutions to formidable issues we all face. We are greatly enriched by these encounters.
One religious group challenged us to share ways to remain faith focused, without being faith based. A heavy, almost impossible assignment, but we dare not lose sight of it.
Let’s begin with this question posted by Pastor Kyle Childress…
How can an individual or institution make a witness, or even be heard, without majority power?
Indeed, being outnumbered does force us to think differently, to be creative and imaginative. Dr. Will Campbell reminded the church of its “pioneering edge”. We are to get out in front of the things the wider society is reluctant to try, because it is too big, too influential, and too wealthy to be creative with others. This was Dr. King’s method during the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. It is still valid in 2013.
Let’s focus briefly on the struggle to combat HIV/AIDS.
We are grateful for the progress medical and pharmaceutical science have made. It may soon be possible to eliminate the scour of AIDS forever. What a blessed thought. HOWEVER, even if a cure is found, it won’t mean the struggle is over.
Peter Prove claims that we will not overcome this disease with pharmaceuticals alone. We need the “software” approach as well. Community based programs will always be necessary to combat the discrimination and stigma that makes AIDS so feared and so misunderstood. But above all, if planning is to be fruitful, women must be at the decision making table.
Finola Finnan urges us to put the spotlight on people at the margins, especially women. Did you know that the rate of HIV among black women in Raleigh, NC is HIGHER than the rate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
It’s a mixed bag! In 2011 the number of people receiving antiretroviral medicines rose 20% to eight million, yet another eight million who need HIV treatment have not received it. The glass is only half full…
John Yoder talks about the modeling mission of the minority minded church. It seeks out projects the powerful might ignore. This subject and the witness of our newly elected Pope Francis really convicts me. I have done so little to involve myself in this struggle. How about you? Are we becoming more faith focused without being faith biased?
Joseph L. Roberts, Jr.