Responsibility: Part Of A Balanced Approach To HIV Prevention

Inside a Unidus Condom Factory Ahead Of Export Price Index ReleaseBy Joe Perez

Last year Bill Cosby made controversial public comments railing against low-income individuals for not taking personal responsibility for their lives. Lately I’ve been asking myself: where are the Bill Cosbys who are willing to speak just as courageously about the problems of the gay community?

Many were outraged by Cosby’s suggestion that personal failures, and not merely external factors such as racism, are behind the problems facing low-income Americans. The popular entertainer took so much heat for his speech, it’s no wonder more people don’t step into the fire.

Although I believe Cosby could have spoken with greater thoughtfulness, I agree with much that he said. Turning to the problems facing the gay community, my own view is that we must confront them with a balanced approach that looks at both systemic problems and greater responsibility.

Some political theorists have suggested that liberals and conservatives see most problems in fundamentally different ways. They say that liberals see human nature as fundamentally good and say that problems arise from bad social structures, whereas conservatives see human nature as bad and say that problems arise from the lack of personal responsibility. Isn’t it clear that there is truth on both sides?

You aren’t likely to find the liberal leadership of gay human rights organizations speaking out in favor of personal responsibility any time soon. When you hear the call to integrity at all, it often comes from spiritual activists within the gay community.

[Read more…]

The Importance Of Loneliness

lonely1“Loneliness is the inability to share your story, your Unique Self story. For most people, the move beyond loneliness requires us to share our story with a significant other. For the spiritual elite, the receiving of our own story — and the knowing that it is an integral part of the larger story of All-That-Is — is enough. But for most human beings, loneliness is transcended through contact with another person.” — Marc Gafni

Your Supreme Identity is calling to you from the essence of all things. It is your own essence, your deepest and most complete autobiography, your life story not only told but lived and constantly recreated. It is the force which not only remedies loneliness and gives us solace in our solitude.

Paul Tillich once wrote: “Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”

Being alone is part of the human condition in which we are often at our saddest, full of shame or fear or anger. It does not require us to be physically isolated; we can be desperately lonely in a crowd or amid loved ones if we have been prevented from being our true selves.

Loneliness is an impoverishment in the midst of the riches of community. It is a sign of a disconnect between the individual and community, perhaps caused by family strife or an inability to find a religious community in which one finds a home. If we find ourselves without community, our loneliness can provide the motivation for creating new communities of connection and love and acceptance.

[Read more…]