World AIDS Day and Remembering Dr. Lalia Phipps Boone

INTRODUCTION (added December 1, 2018).

December 1st marks the passing of my mentor in writing/editing, Dr. Lalia Phipps Boone. An extraordinary intellect, she was the 1st woman PhD at University of Florida (1951, Linguistics and Medieval Literature) and their 1st woman professor. Every article she wrote was published – and I do mean EVERY. Her curriculum vitae was 10+ pages long, single-spaced!

The daughter of an East Texas circuit-riding preacher, she was a Bible teacher herself. I was the youngest member of a Bible study group that met weekly to go through the book of Acts. She was in her mid-70s then, and still enthused about the power of God; the hope for the Church in Christ; and the unique leading of the Holy Spirit for every disciple, whether man or woman, girl or boy.

She took me under her wing in 1982 and trained me to edit. This was quite unexpected, but utterly changed my life. How I miss Dr. Boone! This post has more of her backstory and the unusual person/project that brought us together.

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Today is a significant day of remembrance for me. December 1st is World AIDS Day, which was set in place to encourage awareness of HIV/AIDS and those who are infected or affected by it. December 1, 1990, I attended a Christian conference on HIV/AIDS ministry, and that was part of what confirmed my “calling” to spend as much time as I could over the next seven years, writing and editing resource materials for HIV ministries and churches.

December 1, 1990, was also the day that Lalia Phipps Boone – my mentor in editing – passed away at age 83. Without her influence, I likely wouldn’t have become a writer of HIV ministry resources or much of anything else. So, I want to honor her memory today by telling you a little about her and how my connection with her changed the entire course of my life … and perhaps therefore the course of yours. Continue reading

Peacemaking and Becoming People of Peace ~ Post 2: Compassion and Risk-Taking in Times of Trouble

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – was identified in June 1981. The news of this modern plague created an intense level of anxiety, especially because so many things about it were unknown at the outset: what caused it, how it was transmitted, what could be done to treat those infected. Sadly, the Church mostly lagged behind, especially in showing compassion and giving care to those infected or affected.

In 1987, I heard Harold Ivan Smith talk about Tear-Catchers, one of his many books on dealing with grief, loss, and suffering as well as ministering to those in distress. He shared how tears form, and the different chemical compositions of various kinds of tears. I was struck when he talked about tears of emotion, which have a particular compound in them such that they aren’t reabsorbed into our bottom eyelids, but roll down our cheeks instead. “It’s like God meant for such tears to be seen by others,” he noted.

In the middle of his talk, he spoke about different ministries of compassion. Then he calmly said something along the lines of this: “You know, we are six years into the AIDS epidemic, and many people face passing into eternity, potentially without Christ, but the Church has pushed people away. Where would Jesus be in the midst of this, and what should we as Christians do? Someone needs to do something.”

No guilt, just statements of facts. But those three little sentences about a topic no one in churches was talking about reset the course of my life for the next 10 years. I did not know a single person with full-blown AIDS at the time, or even anyone infected with HIV. But I knew in my spirit that I was one of the someones being called to do at least something. Continue reading