Sister Cristina Scuccia – suor Cristina is an Italian Ursuline nun who won the 2014 season of The Voice Italy. I happened across Sister Cristina on You Tube. Since we don’t get international television here, one has to resort to online platforms to enjoy something a little different.
So, I had written down the release date of her album and today I went looking for it on several sites and finally found it on I Tunes. I think everybody has an I Tunes account by now.
And I had some I Tunes money in the bank … win …
- Try – Pink cover
- Fallin Free
- Like a Virgin – Madonna cover
- Somewhere only we know – Keane cover
- Blessed be your name
- Fix you – Cold Play cover
- No One – Alicia Keys cover
- I surrender – Hillsong Live
- True Colors – Cindi Lauper cover
- Price Tag – Jessie J cover
- Perto, Longe Ou Depois
- L’Amore Vincera
You probably have never heard of Sister Cristina. But it is worth the price. Her spin on this track list is impressive. You can see her videos on You Tube and Like a Virgin on Vimeo.
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We don’t usually think of AIDS like we used to.
People are not dying in numbers that are alarming. Here at least.
But that is a different story a world away!
But, as they say, N.I.M.B.Y.
Meanwhile in Africa, disease is a daily struggle. So many people. So much sickness. And the world, as a whole has done little to stop it. AIDS is not the disease du jour any longer. Ebola is at the top of that little list of killers.
But we should not ignore or dismiss the suffering of an entire nation because they are over there and we are over here. I would not be the first to say, that if the world spent as much money on sickness and cures for diseases that they do on national and international defense and war, we probably could make a dent on the list of the dying world wide from sickness.
The world does spend a pretty penny on illness and sickness, in the form of medications. The pharmaceutical industry makes money hand over fist. They would rather you be forced to take their pills for ever, making them hundreds of billions of dollars a year, rather than contribute to curing the sickness that we have to take the pills for …
Isn’t it pure insanity ???
A long time ago, I heard a doctor say that the world would never cure AIDS until it found a cure for cancer. Twenty one years later, I am still taking pills to maintain my quality of life, cancer is still far from being cured across the board, and the pharmaceutical companies are making millions on our backs.
Today my HIV doctor is not worried about me dying from AIDS. He doesn’t worry so much that he cut my doctor visits from four a year to two a year. Pills, Pills, and more pills. He is more concerned with my aging problems, like my diabetes, and my heart, since I have a heredity bulls eye on my back.
But I am alive today because of Big Pharma. So I guess that that is a blessing, right?
Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…
I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…
This was one of the hardest days of my life. How do you tell someone you love, that you are going to die? The day I was diagnosed, July 8th, 1994 was the worst day of my life. Bar none …
My then boyfriend packed his things and left in the car as soon as he heard the news. All of my friends found out and they all took off for the hills. The only people still standing by me were Todd, Roy, and a choice few friends at the bar that I was working at.
I called a family meeting and that proved to be a failure. Because I was first gay, now I was HIV+ and that was doubly sinful and abhorrent to them.
If you were around during the height of the AIDS epidemic you would have seen employers fire sick people from their jobs, landlords throwing tenants out on the streets. You would have seen families, lovers and partners toss their sick significant others out into the street as well.
We had nothing left but the little dignity we had left. And the ones who stayed were the ones who would care for, tend to, care for and bury the rest. Because back in the 90’s, there were no comprehensive care systems. We did not have drugs that we have today. We did not have doctors dedicated to taking care of us.
The medical systems had to be built from the ground up. Many doctors didn’t know from AIDS and they had to learn how to care for so many sick people.
I bought several poster boards that I made calendars out of and stuck them on my kitchen wall to mark the days I had left to live. That was 540 days …
My friend Roy used to tear them up whenever he came over because he did not want me focusing on the day that I was supposed to die. I had bigger fish to fry. And Todd kept me on a short leash. What he did saved my life. There will never be another man in my life like Todd.
Hundreds of people I knew died. HUNDREDS !!!!
Every year the quilt was rolled out, we went to see it to mark the new names added to the list of the dead. And we also went to see who was still alive.
This is why we celebrate World AIDS Day, because those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it. This generation knows very little of what it was like for us – back in the day.
That is one reason I opened this blog. To catalog and collect my memories. So that in case I die, I was here. I left my mark on the world with the stories of my life that I have collected here for you all to read.
Gay is still a dirty word in the world. And is still met with condemnation and abhorrence. The face of HIV has changed over the last decade. New medications have come along, and many of us who are left from days gone by, are now on those powerful cocktails of drugs that we must take daily to stay alive.
I was there when it all started for me. When there were no real set drugs and I tested every drug that came off the pike from the doctors I sought out after my diagnosis.
In the beginning, we had a drug farm in Fort Lauderdale, and they would collect medication from people who had died. They would repackage those drugs and give them to us, as we could not get medication very easily. And I did that for two years. I moved to Miami because there were doctors there who were trained in care for HIV positive folks.
And from those doctors, I tested every drug that came down the pike. And this has been what I have done here in Montreal, since the day I arrived here. I have the best in medical care here and a doctor who is on the cutting edge of HIV medical treatment.
HIV is not a death sentence, unless you live in a country that cannot get medication. Where death rates are terribly high. We need to do more to get drugs to countries that so badly need them. Drug companies need to do more for the world than what they are doing today. They are NOT doing ENOUGH !!!
Today we remember all those who have died.
We pray for their souls and their families.
And we ask you for your continued prayers and support.
If you don’t know your HIV status, then I suggest you get tested. If you are an active gay man, it is your DUTY to know these things. The owness falls on you to get tested and be RESPONSIBLE for your life and also for the lives of men you have sex with.
HIV knows no barrier, creed, color or sexual orientation. Straight people get HIV too.
Nobody is immune from getting HIV if you are not careful or diligent about sex. Doing nothing is stupid. There is no excuse for why you wouldn’t or shouldn’t get tested, it could SAVE YOUR LIFE !!!
Rapid treatment after diagnosis today can be very helpful to living a full and happy life. It didn’t use to be like this. In the 90’s HIV was a death sentence. Thank God I had what I had or I surely would not be here today writing to you.
Be Responsible. Be Diligent and Be Smart. Get tested !!!
Take care of yourself and each other.
This is supposed to get your attention. And it is supposed to call you to action. The celebrities want you to fork over cash on Wednesday for charities raising the flag over AIDS in Africa and worldwide.
It is a world shame that drug companies have not done enough to bring life giving medications to many places in the world that need them.It is a shame that in the year 2010, people are still dying from AIDS, when we know so much and the first world has so much to be thankful for when it comes to AIDS research and drug availability.
But we have failed the 3rd world. Millions of people in Africa suffer because of greed and drug monopolies. Drug companies have not done what they should do to bring affordable medication to millions of people who need them. We have the means and the money to do this. And yet governments around the world do nothing or very little.
Even in the first world – Here in North America, drug companies have failed many who live with HIV not making drugs more available to us. Ryan White funds need to be approved – ADAP programs need to be funded. More money must go the states for care of people with HIV. Drug companies must bring down costs for life saving medications. And we must bring to the market any and all generic forms of drugs to the market.
In the U.S. is costs $1000.00 of dollars a month to medicate someone with HIV. Here in Canada it is much cheaper for us to get medications each month. But so many go without and WHY?
What is it going to take to get these life saving drugs to people that cannot afford them? Celebrities who talk about going off social media to bring your attention to this matter are missing the mark. All these rich celebrities need to dump some of their own wealth into the charities they are asking you to donate to. If the top 2% of the worlds wealthiest people dumped something into the pot of wealth we could bring these much needed drugs to parts of the world that still don’t have them.
AIDS is a global crisis still today. If we don’t do something now, millions more will die unmentionable deaths because we did nothing. The saving of lives trumps many of today’s drama and gossip.
We Remember all those who have gone before us. I remember all the friends who have died over the last two decades. Life goes on for many of us, because of dedicated doctors and clinic workers. I am alive because of wonder drugs available to me.
16 years and counting … Remember my friends, remember your friends. Remember those of us who are still here living with HIV.
Take time today to remember us, remember them.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – On the day that he made history,got some heartfelt praise from .
The anti-apartheid icon said Obama’s inauguration in Washington has inspired the same sense of hope the world felt when South Africa threw off apartheid and elected its first black president — Mandela himself.
Mandela, in a letter released shortly after Obama took the oath of office Tuesday, said people around the world were inspired by his inauguration in 1994 to believe that “injustice can be overcome.” And he says Obama’s presidency offers a similar hope.
“Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done,” Mandela wrote. “Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.”
Mandela also wrote of Africa’s pride at seeing Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, achieve such high office.
Across the continent Tuesday, particularly in Kenya, Africans celebrated Obama’s inauguration and marveled that a nation that once bought and sold African slaves was now led by a man with African roots. There was also recognition that Obama would have concerns and an agenda beyond Africa.
“We are aware that the expectations of what your presidency will achieve are high and that the demands on you will be great,” Mandela wrote. “We therefore once more wish you and your family strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead.”
Mandela, 90, has largely retired from public life and such statements from him are increasingly rare. But he seems to feel a personal connection to Obama — he also sent a letter of congratulations in November when Obama won the U.S. presidential election.
Obama “will always be in our affection as a young man who dared to dream and to pursue that dream,” Mandela wrote Tuesday.
Everything must Change, Brian D. Mclaren
In a modest church building in a township near Capetown, South Africa, twenty -some local Pentecostal, charismatic, and Baptist pastors were seated in a circle. Two guest of paler hue were present as well. My local host, Johannes, and me. We had paper plates on our laps and coffee cups on the floor beside each chair…
One fellow, a handsome dark-skinned man in his early thirties (I’d guess), had been strangely silent so far in our conversation. He made eye contact with me, and as he did, I noticed how his brow was furrowed and his jaw tense. Was he afraid of something, perhaps angry?
“Do you want to say something?” I asked him.
“Yes, I have something I … need to say,” he began. He moved forward to the edge of his chair, elbows resting on knees. Slowly, his hands stretched open, and they remained extended like this until he was well into his impromptu speech. “Brothers, I am not a pastor. I am a health care worker. I do HIV/AIDS work in Khayelitsha.” At this everyone nodded. Known as as informal settlement to some, a squatter area to others, Khayelitsha is the third largest township in South Africa…
The young man continued, “You pastors are…” He hesitated as he raised one outstretched hand toward heaven. “You are causing much destruction in Khayelitsha. It reaches to the skies. I know you mean well, but you don’t realize that you cause devastation in th lives of the people among whom I work.”
Eyes widened, pastors shifted in their seats, and the young man continued, “You come to Khayelitsha every Sunday and you set up your tents, which is good, but I have listened to your preaching, and you are preoccupied with three thingsm and three things only. First, you constantly talk about healing. You tell people they can be healed of HIV, and some of them believe you, so they stop taking their medication. When they stop, they develop new resistant strains of the disease that don’t repsond as well to the medications, and they spread these tougher infections to other people, leaving them much sicker than they were before. Then you are always telling people they need to be born again, but after they’re born again on Sunday, they’re still unemployed on Monday.
They may be born again, but what good is that if their problems are the same as before? You know as well as I do that if they’re unemployed, they’re going to be caught up in the poverty web of substance abuse, crime and gangs, domestic violence, and HIV. What good is that? All this born-again talk is nothing but nonsense.”
At this, I could see some of the pastors bristling. I wondered if a shouting match would erupt, but the healthcare worker leaned a little farther forward, and the pastors constrained themselves a little longer. “Then what do you do? After telling these desperately poor people to get born again and healed, they you tell them to tithe. You tell them to ‘sow financial seeds’ into your ministries and they will receive a hundredfold return. But you’re the only ones getting a return on their investment. You could be helping so much. You could motivate people to learn employable skills, you could teach them and help them in so many ways, but it’s always the same thing: healing, getting bron again, and tithing.
“Even the religious organizations that try to help people with HIV – most of them get US aid money, which only allows them to talk about abstinence and fidelity. They can’t even mention condoms, and as a result, a lot of people die. And most of you – you won’t talk about abstinence and fidelity, because they subject of sex is taboo among us. And so more people die.
“You know your problem? You Pentecostals and you evangelicals specialized. You specialized in healing, in getting people born again, in creating financially successful churches – but you need to go beyond that. It’s time to get a better message – something bigger than just those things. If you stop there, all your preaching is nonsense.”
Nonsense was the verbal grenade, lobbed a second time now, unleashing the pastors’ vigorous response. For the next twenty or thirty minutes, one pastor after another replied with impassioned speeches, testimonies, sermonettes. Some were fatherly; some were brotherly; some were stern; some were gentle. But each defended the fact that being born again and getting healed were biblical, which means they weren’t nonsense. We never got around to the subject of tithing.
The young man listened. As the older pastors spoke, respectfully gave them his full attention and didn’t defend himself with they used the words like “heresy” and “false doctrine” to discredit his words. When there was a lull in the conversation, he responded in a quiet but firm tone. “Brothers, I am not your enemy. I am your friend. I believe in Jesus. I am born again myself. I even speak in tongues, so I’m Pentecostal like most of you. I’m sorry I offended you by the word nonsense. But if you would simply teach them some practical things that relate to their daily lives, that could make such a big difference.”
Everything must change, pgs. 25-27
From the Associated Press:
PARIS –‘s election as America’s first black president unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill, and many said Wednesday that U.S. voters had blazed a trail that minorities elsewhere could follow.
People across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made, while the president of Kenya — where Obama’s father was born — declared a public holiday.
In Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner and poured into the courtyard where they hugged each other, danced in the rain and chanted “Obama! Obama!”
“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, said in a letter of congratulations to Obama.
Many expressed amazement and satisfaction that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American as president.
“This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten,” Rama Yade, France‘s black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. “America is rebecoming a New World.
“On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes,” she said.
In Britain, The Sun newspaper borrowed from Neil Armstrong‘s 1969 moon landing in describing Obama’s election as “one giant leap for mankind.”
Yet celebrations were often tempered by sobering concerns that Obama faces global challenges as momentous as the hopes his campaign inspired — wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the elusive hunt for and a global economy in turmoil.
The huge weight of responsibilities on Obama’s shoulders was also a concern for some. French former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Obama’s biggest challenge would be managing a punishing agenda of various crises in the United States and the world. “He will need to fight on every front,” he said.
Russia. Tensions have been driven to a post-Cold War high by Moscow’s war with U.S. ally Georgia.said he hoped the incoming administration will take steps to improve badly damaged U.S. ties with
“I stress that we have no problem with the American people, no inborn anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the U.S. administration, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia,” Medvedev said.
Europe, where Obama is overwhelmingly popular, is one region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration for a revival in warm relations after the Bush government’s chilly rift with the continent over the Iraq war.
“At a time when we have to confront immense challenges together, your election raises great hopes in France, in Europe and in the rest of the world,” said in a congratulations letter to Obama.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of “a new America with a new credit of trust in the world.”
Skepticism, however, was high in the Muslim world. The Bush administration alienated those in the Middle East by mistreating prisoners at its detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and inmates at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison — human rights violations also condemned worldwide.
Some Iraqis, who have suffered through five years of a war ignited by the United States and its allies, said they would believe positive change when they saw it.
“Obama’s victory will do nothing for the Iraqi issue nor for the Palestinian issue,” said Muneer Jamal, a Baghdad resident. “I think all the promises Obama made during the campaign will remain mere promises.”
In al-Qaida terrorist network and neighbor to Afghanistan, many hoped Obama would bring some respite from rising militant violence that many blame on Bush., a country vital to the U.S.-led war on the
Still, Mohammed Arshad, a 28-year-old schoolteacher in the capital, Islamabad, doubted Obama’s ability to change U.S. foreign policy dramatically.
“It is true that Bush gave America a very bad name. He has become a symbol of hate. But I don’t think the change of face will suddenly make any big difference,” he said.
Obama’s victory was greeted with cheers across Latin America, a region that has shifted sharply to the left during the Bush years. From Mexico to Chile, leaders expressed hope for warmer relations based on mutual respect — a quality many felt has been missing from U.S. foreign policy.
Cuba.and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil’s president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward
On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future.
“It’s the beginning of a different era,” police officer Emmanuel Miranda said. “The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now.”
Many around the world found Obama’s international roots — his father was Kenyan, and he lived four years in Indonesia as a child — compelling and attractive.
“What an inspiration. He is the first truly global U.S. president the world has ever had,” said Pracha Kanjananont, a 29-year-old Thai sitting at a Starbuck’s in Bangkok. “He had an Asian childhood, African parentage and has a Middle Eastern name. He is a truly global president.”
Found on: Walking with Integrity
As the majority of bishops attending the Lambeth Conference settled into daily Bible Study, Indaba groups and conversations across differences it was made clear that at least a percentage of the purple shirts on the Canterbury campus are focused on conflict rather than collegiality.
Having issued statements on the ongoing genocide in Sudan and the ongoing discussions on human sexuality in the Anglican Communion, it was not genocide but sexuality that was the focus of the Sudanese primate’s briefing to the media.
In the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Primate of the Sudan (the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul) called for the resignation of the Bishop of New Hampshire, declaring in the statement released ahead of the press conference that he had come to the Lambeth Conference “to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.”
When asked about ministering to the gays and lesbians in his province, the archbishop declared that he did not think there were any homosexuals in the Sudan as “none had come forward.” And when queried about his position on the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate said he “believed in women priests and bishops because they were human” – leaving listeners to wonder if the inference was that homosexuals were not.
The fact that there are those within the communion who think the Bishop of New Hampshire should resign is not news. Indeed, there have been calls for his resignation since the day he was elected.
What is news is that the Archbishop of the Sudan helped make the case on Tuesday that the schism facing the Anglican Communion is the direct result of hard-line reactionaries who will stop of nothing short of compliance with their narrow, exclusionist agenda as their criterion for being in communion.
What is news is that a bishop in the Church of God would deny the existence of gay and lesbian members of his province despite the call for listening to the experience of homosexual people throughout the communion.
On Wednesday evening, Integrity USA will present a preview screening of the documentary “Voices of Witness: Africa” as one of the Lambeth Conference Fringe Events. Everyone is welcome – most particularly Archbishop Deng Bul.
We would love to share with him the witness of gay and lesbian Africans who are not only fully human but fully loved by the God who created them in love.
[IAMBE] | 2008 | 85 min | Feature Documentary
Directed by: Nathan Rissman
Cast & Credits
Principal Cast: Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Matthews Chikaonda, Madonna
Executive Producer/Writer: Madonna
Producers: Angela Becker, Madonna
Associate Producer: Grant James
Editor: Danny B. Tull
In southeastern Africa, the landlocked and densely populated country of Malawi is under severe distress. In a country of 12 million people, an unprecedented one million-plus children have been orphaned by AIDS, and malnutrition and inadequate medical treatment still run rampant.
The multitalented Madonna assumes one of her most impactful roles yet as writer, producer, and narrator of this eye-opening and heart-wrenching documentary. Under the confident direction of first-timer Nathan Rissman, we journey with Madonna as she exposes the harsh realities of a half-forgotten country by introducing us to its future-Malawi’s children.
As she bears witness to the lives of these special children and their extraordinary will to survive, Madonna shares her own personal thoughts, making for an incredibly intimate and emotional cinematic experience. While analyzing all sides of the dilemma and the cultural challenges facing Malawi as it relates to the world, the film is a testament to human interconnectivity and social responsibility-a call to action wrapped in a well crafted and visually beautiful film.
Leading experts such as President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Dr. Paul Farmer offer memorable insight, but the real driving force of the film is undoubtedly the children’s riveting stories, which will stir audiences and, at best, rouse them to action.
— Genna Terranova
Archbishop Tutu rebuked religious conservatives
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised the Anglican Church and its leadership for its attitudes towards homosexuality. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, had failed to demonstrate that God is “welcoming”.
He also repeated accusations that the Church was “obsessed” with the issue of gay priests.
He said it should rather be focussing on global problems such as Aids.
“Our world is facing problems – poverty, HIV and Aids – a devastating pandemic, and conflict,” said Archbishop Tutu, 76.
“God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another.
“In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality.”
Criticising Dr Williams, he said: “Why doesn’t he demonstrate a particular attribute of God’s which is that God is a welcoming God.”
Archbishop Tutu referred to the debate about whether Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, could serve as the bishop of New Hampshire.
He said the Anglican Church had seemed “extraordinarily homophobic” in its handling of the issue, and that he had felt “saddened” and “ashamed” of his church at the time.
Asked if he still felt ashamed, he said: “If we are going to not welcome or invite people because of sexual orientation, yes.
“If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”
Dr Williams has been working to limit divisions between liberal and traditionalist Anglicans that came to the fore following Bishop Robinson’s consecration in 2003.
Following his plea for compromise, leaders of the Episcopal Church in the US agreed to halt the consecration of gay priests as bishops, to prevent a split in the Anglican Communion.
In the interview, Archbishop Tutu also rebuked religious conservatives who said homosexuality was a choice.
“It is a perversion if you say to me that a person chooses to be homosexual.
“You must be crazy to choose a way of life that exposes you to a kind of hatred.
“It’s like saying you choose to be black in a race-infected society.”
Quite possibly my most favorite book in my library, “The Power of One!” Here is a conversation between Doc and Peekay.
[why Peekay was such a sinner and what he had done to be condemned to eternal hellfire unless he was born again] .
“Peekay, God is too busy making the sun come up and go down and watching so the moon floats just right in the sky to be concerned with such rubbish. Only man wants always God should be there to condemn this one and save that one. Always it is a man who wants to make heaven and hell. God is too busy training the bees to make honey and every morning opening up all the new flowers for business.
He paused and smiled, In Mexico there is a cactus that even sometimes you would think God forgets. But no, my friend, this is not so. On a full moon in the desert every one hundred years he remembers and he opens up a single flower to bloom. And if you should be there and you see this beautiful cactus blossom painted silver by the moon and laughing up at the star, this, Peekay, is heaven.
This is the faith in God the cactus has. It is just better to get on with the business of living and minding your own business and maybe, if God likes the way you do things, he may just let you flower for a day or a night.
But don’t go pestering and begging and telling him all your stupid little sins, that way you will spoil his day.
P.O.O. pgs. 176-177