Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS
– By Elton John
While there is certainly some very interesting autobiographical material here, this is not primarily an autobiography. It is a book about AIDS.
Elton looks at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, and then brings us up to date. From the science to societal reaction we’re given the facts, as well as many stories of lives directly impacted by AIDS. Of course, all our lives are impacted by AIDS.
We start with a story of a small town in Indiana called Kokomo, as we look at the life of Ryan White. Ryan was a teenage hemophiliac who became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. We see, as Elton John states, that Ryan and his family were “true Christians.” The story also reveals the very non-Christian actions and attitudes of many of the church-goers and residents of Kokomo at that time. The majority of the townsfolk ostracize this afflicted boy and his family. “It seemed like a modern-day witch hunt, and Ryan was to be burned at the stake.” Adults were worse than the kids who teased and tormented him. His entire family suffered. This is some sad, sad commentary on the nature of fear, religion, and those who propose to represent God. But even through being shunned by the town, his classmates and his “church,” Ryan said “There’s always hope with the Lord. I have a lot of trust in God.”
Eventually, Ryan and his family did have to leave town so Ryan wouldn’t have to be buried in such a place of evil hatred. The town he moved to, only miles away, welcomed him with open arms. In the end, Ryan reached the entire nation.
The faith, love, and Christ-likeness of Ryan and his mother forever changed the life of Elton John. Elton is very honest about how his addictions, anger and ego were in control of his life. “You can’t imagine how selfish I was at the time, what an asshole I had become.” Seeing Ryan give out so much love in the face of so much hate helped E.J. face his own demons. Elton entered rehab in 1990 and has been sober ever since. His interactions and friendship with Ryan White also led to the creation of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Elton shares stories of personal loss, as so many of his friends and acquaintances were suffering and dying from this pandemic. There are stories of people like Rock Hudson and Freddie Mercury.
We also see AIDS on more of a national level. This, of course, includes people like Jerry Falwell, again on their religious high-horses proclaiming AIDS victims are just getting what they deserve. Even some government leaders help spread the hate, fear, and misinformation that ads fuel to the fire of an already devastating crisis.
And we look at AIDS from a global perspective.
Over in Africa, we see that in addition to an extremely bad AIDS situation, there is also an epidemic of rape. Someone is raped every 26 seconds. The men and leaders seem to think this is normal behavior, and punish the women who attempt to report being raped. These unreported atrocities give tremendous momentum to the spread of the disease.
Another disgusting story is about how the Bayer pharmaceutical company knowingly sold tainted, AIDS transmitting medication to other countries so they wouldn’t have to throw them out and lose money.
Throughout this book, we’re shown the many faces of AIDS. The involvement of some famous warriors against this disease, like President Bill Clinton, Paul Michael Glaser, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others is discussed. We examine what has been done, and where we need to go from here.
I would be remiss as a reviewer if I did not mention the book’s shortcomings. They can be summed up by saying “Elton John is not an author.” The writing stumbles from time to time, and there is much redundancy.
Having said that, the stories are far too interesting, and the information far too vital to miss reading “Love Is The Cure.”
I’ve always enjoyed Elton’s music. At the same time, I sensed that he was pretty much a jerk. Reading this book has helped me see a different side of Elton John:
A loving, helpful, mellowed-by-age-and-experience, redeemed Elton John. When he speaks of his drug use, party-life, and “unprotected” multiple sexual encounters he says that it’s a “miracle” he never contracted AIDS. I feel he does not use that word lightly.
His miracle is one with which I can totally identify.
“Love Is The Cure” is truly an eye-opener, and I thank God that Elton John has written it.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
[For years, now, my wife and I have been involved in raising funds for our local AIDS Task Force here in Fort Wayne, Indiana through their annual “AIDS Walk.” This year’s walk is over, but you can still donate.
If you’d like to do so, click: www.Aids-Walk.info.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– The bottom line is, we’re all human, and we all deserve to be helped and to be loved.
– I was consumed by cocaine, booze, and who knows what else. I apparently never got the memo that the “Me” Decade ended in 1979. The Elton ego train kept rolling right through the ‘8Os.
– Ryan White inspired a nation, changed the course of a deadly epidemic, and helped save millions of lives.
– As a child with hemophilia, Ryan had been treated with compassion. As a child with AIDS, many treated him with contempt.
– Many religious institutions, governments, and the general public sent an unmistakable message to people with AIDS: We do not care about you.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– Falwell and his ilk helped guarantee the AIDS epidemic would get far worse.
– It still stings to recall the pure, unadulterated hatred that was spewed at gays and AIDS sufferers.
– What makes AIDS so frightening, so very lethal, is that it takes advantage of more than our biological weaknesses. It take advantage of our social weaknesses.
– Conservative religious and political leaders continue to stand in the way of implementing what we know for a hard fact will save millions upon millions of lives.
– Fighting stigma is difficult work. Instead of directing our animosity and fear at someone’s disease, we direct it at the person who is sick.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– The discrimination that the LGBT community [in Haiti] faced after the earthquake is hard to stomach.
– Like many people, I deeply regretted much of what [George W. Bush] did in office, but [his] decision to take aggressive action [with his [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] saved millions of lives.
– There are 2.5 million people infected with HIV in India, and their government has said essentially, “We don’t care about any of you because some of you are gay.”
– We certainly can’t do it without religious institutions on our side. Their power is too great, their influence too far-reaching. There is no excuse for furthering pain and injustice in the name of any god.
– For a small fraction of what was spent on the war in Iraq, America would forever be heralded as the country that won the war against AIDS.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
– The cure for AIDS is a matter of changing hearts and educating minds.
– The fight against AIDS comes down to compassion.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
Love Is The Cure June 20, 2013
Tags: Africa, Aids, AIDS Crisis, AIDS victims, Aids Walk, Bayer, Bayer pharmaceutical company, booze, Christian Life, Christian spirituality, Christianity, cocaine, drug use, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Faith, fort wayne aids walk, Freddie Mercury, Gay, George W Bush, God, governments, Grace, hatred, hemophiliac, HIV, HIV AIDS, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, injustice, Jerry Falwell, Jesus, justice, Kokomo, Kokomo Indiana, love, Love Is The Cure, Loving God, Mercy, miracle, Northeast Indiana AIDS Task Force, party-life, Paul Michael Glaser, Politics, President Bill Clinton, President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Princess Diana, rape, rehab, religious institutions, Rock Hudson, science, sex, Sex & Sexuality, sexual encounters, social awareness, social issues, stigma, Theology, Truth
Vive le Rouge 2013 Photos May 7, 2013
Tags: Aids, Aids Task Force, Aids Walk, Facing AIDS, Fair Talk, Fort Wayne Aids Task Force, Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, fund raiser, Health, social issues, social justice, Vive Le Rouge, Vive Le Rouge 2013
I just wanted to share a few pictures from the May 4th, 2013 AIDS Walk.
to all who helped Kathy and I with your support, prayers, and well-wishes during this year’s fund raiser.
This outing, I also helped work a table for the good folks at Fair Talk.
The band “Goodnight Gracie” donated their talents to add to the festivities.
Good times for some good causes.
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’”
Vive Le Rouge 2012 Photos May 7, 2012
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 8. Sex, Aids, Aids Task Force, AIDS Task Force Fort Wayne, Aids Walk, Christian spirituality, doing good, fundraiser, Grace, Health, kingdom of God, love, Relating to God, showing love, social issues, social justice, Vive Le Rouge, Vive Le Rouge 2012!
We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary by, once again, participating in Vive Le Rouge, Fort Wayne AIDS walk.
Thanks SO MUCH to those who gave donations.
The event raised much needed funds for use by the AIDS Task Force in Fort Wayne.
Food, fun and great entertainment helped make it an evening to remember.
The mission of the AIDS Task Force is to help improve the quality of life for men, women, and children with HIV and AIDS, to educate the community in order to decrease the incidence of HIV and STD infection and to increase the public’s understanding of and compassionate response to HIV and AIDS.
For us, this is just one of the ways we’re living out Jesus’ call bring a little of heaven to earth.
The gospel isn’t about exclusion. It’s about being blessed to bless others.
In This Life.
Kathy & Dave
The Good Samaritan March 21, 2010
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 8. Sex, Aids, Aids Taks Force, Aids Walk, Bible, bible story, Christian spirituality, Christianity, Church, Faith, good, Grace, Homosexual, Homosexuality, kingdom of God, Levite, life, love, Loving God, priest, Relating to God, Religion, samaritan, Scripture, The Bible, The Good Samaritan, Theology
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
– The “religious professionals” wouldn’t help. After all, the man probably deserved what he got.
Maybe, God was trying to teach him a lesson. He must have been reaping what he sowed.
Our actions have consequences, ya know. –
“Which of these three are you man, the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan”
– Paul Clark
My wife and I are, again this year, participating in the local “Aids Walk.”
Part of the goal of the Aids Task Force, locally, is to help improve the quality of life for men, women, and
children with HIV and AIDS.
Our goal is to demonstrate, in a practical manner, the love of God.
Don’t be one to “pass by way on the other side.”
You can give financially.
You can join our team and walk with us.
You can pray.
All three would be nice, but any one will help.
To give online, and for more information, click on the link below.
Thank you, and God bless you.
Bono May 29, 2009
Tags: Africa, Aids, Bono, On The Move, One, Poverty
There it was in Leviticus (25:35)…
‘If your brother becomes poor,’ the scriptures say, ‘and cannot maintain himself…you shall maintain him…. You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.’
It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man, he’s met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he’s a clever guy, this Jesus, but he hasn’t done much…yet. He hasn’t spoken in public before…
When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,’ he says, ‘because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’ And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour, the year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18).
What he was really talking about was an era of grace – and we’re still in it.
So fast-forward 2,000 years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate – in a movement of all kinds of people. It wasn’t a bless-me club… it wasn’t a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions…making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people.
But then my cynicism got another helping hand.
It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called AIDS. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The ones that didn’t miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour. Even on children…even [though the] fastest growing group of HIV infections were married, faithful women.
Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself judgmentalism is back!
But in truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age.
Love was on the move. Mercy was on the move. God was on the move.
Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet…conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on AIDS…soccer moms and quarterbacks…hip-hop stars and country stars. This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!
Tags: 3. Christian Life, 8. Sex, Aids, Barry McGuire, Christian, Christian spirituality, Christianity, conversation, Faith, Gay, God, Grace, Homosexual, Homosexuality, Jesus, Judging Others, kingdom of God, love, Loving God, Relating to God, Religion, Scripture, Sex & Sexuality, The Bible, Theology, Truth
Here’s an email I got from Barry McGuire back when we started our involvement with Aids Walk 2009.
It was very encouraging.
We have a mentally ill son who requires all of our attention and our donations, but we certainly know your heart on the aids walk. Sorry we can’t help financially, but we are in total agreement with you.
Flack…..you may get it! We’ve always caught a lot of flack. ….
It just seems to us, since Christ died to forgive ALL – that to us would mean, every person now living, who has ever lived, or will ever be born in the future, has been forgiven. The tragedy is so few of them know it. And how will they ever know it if they only see judgement in our eyes and hear condemnation from our lips. It’s not even up to us to judge or condemn, God our Father is the judge, Christ did the forgiving and is all we have to do is LOVE people. How simple is that! – Even the flack throwers have a hard time targeting that….
How dare I judge ANYONE that Christ gave His life to forgive! I don’t care if they’re gay [or] straight…
We don’t hear that being preached much these days do we!
Blessings on you my friend,
Barry & Mari