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Living Well With Hiv and AIDS
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Being a Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS
By: Harris R. Goldstein


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Called to Ministry

by: Khenneth Dantzler


My name is Khenneth Dantzler and I am writing this article to let positive individuals know that there is hope and you do not have to give up or give in because of the ignorance. Life at times may not be easy, but I thank the Supreme Being for those people that are supportive in my life because it is hard being a minister. HIV/AIDS is not a popular subject nor is gay theology. If we do not speak out on issue that concern our community then we will die under the mercy of the antagonist.

As I looked at what was happening around me, I was reminded each time I spoke about HIV/AIDS, a political statement was made to a community that lived in fear about HIV disease. I had questioned myself several times, why the ministry? Why not the ministry, it was all I knew and had been committed to for many years. Seeing how many ministers were uncompassionate, discriminating and judgmental, I decided that I was not going to become that type of minister.

Was I proactive in my ministry? Absolutely. I started serving on boards, planning councils and religious groups in the Kansas City area. I refused to give my power over to anyone that was trying to cause conflict, abuse, violate or contaminate me with their negative thoughts or actions. Many times, being bold and saying what was on my mind, I had come to the conclusion that I was here for a purpose and I was not going to live in fear nor was I going to let anyone belittle me.

I often ask, "what is sin?" My definition of sin is prejudice, discrimination, hate, and keeping people oppressed, prevented from living productive lives. These were struggles from the traditional church. However, I maintained a positive attitude about ministry as I reflected on liberation theology. Many infected and affected individuals around me were dying lonely lives physically and spiritually. I asked, "where was the church in all of the suffering?"

Was I openly criticized for taking a stand on issues that most people did not want to talk about? Absolutely, I was criticized but I knew that speaking up and out was going to help someone that was living with HIV/AIDS live a life of quality. As powerful minister, I was not going to let anyone define my destiny. Especially those that were supposed to be compassionate in the church.

I was told that I should give up the ministry, but my heart was willing to continue in the fight. When God called, I had to make a decision to go. My calling was not based on any human context but on a spiritual realm that superseded the hypocrisy that was trying to make me a victim. I rose above the occasion and became a victor. I knew there was no time for me to abstain from ministering to my sisters and brothers that are living in silence because they were being discriminated against.

Just think if I would have listened to all the negative influences, thoughts, and voices. I would not have had the strength to fight this battle to help people that needed care. Yes, it was hard but I had to be the voice of those that were marginalized, discriminated against, and openly ridiculed. I knew what it was like to be a parody but this lifestyle is a challenge.

Why was I called to the ministry? The ministry was not a glamorous vocation, but the ministry was a generous and compassionate responsibility that I had to make toward humankind. In reality, I had found my purpose and that mission was to bring hope to those that were not able to be heard.

As a minister, I will not bend or break because advocacy is my passion. I will continue to educate ministers about HIV/AIDS because fear creates negativity. Telling ministers that those who are living with HIV/AIDS should not be judged but loved unconditionally.

If I can change one mind, one thought and one voice at a time, the universe will yield and healing would take place. That is what ministry is about.

In conclusion, it is time for all ministers to give voice to a silent and suffering community. When all of us are at the table whether we are straight, gay, lesbian or transgender, we make a political statement. I believe that this is the highest form of spiritual communication to humanity unconditionally.

Copyright © 2002 by the author
All Rights Reserved


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