Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google goodness

Google has long been acknowledged for their creative approach to technology. A creative approach that has found them incredible success. With that success came a lot of money. And with that money, believe it or not, has come a desire to give back. Google has become one of the more philanthropic businesses around and this article interviews the head of, the charitable arm of the technology giant.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the next morning...

three days until World AIDS Day...

if you read regularly or subscribe to this site (and i know there's a couple of you), you may have noticed that my efforts to blog on AIDS issues throughout the month have significantly declined in the last few days. it's largely due to last week. over Thanksgiving weekend, between Wed & Sun, i logged something over 40 hours working on World AIDS Day. i packed it in around family time and turkey meals. i missed meals four days in a row and skipped out on sleep most of two nights.

and so when i walked off the stage on Sunday and the video had been completed, the website was up and runnning, and i'd finished presenting to both services in Green, i was tired. i didn't want to think about AIDS anymore. all the i'd been working toward and pushing toward for the last month was finished and now i just wanted to sit and see what the response was.

it reminded me of the gulf between myself and the person who lives with the reality of AIDS every day. who misses their mother or father. who doesn't have the strength to get out of bed. who cares for the grandchildren, because there is no one else to do it.

their fight doesn't finish on December 1st. they can't take a couple comp. days for working over vacation. they'll wake up to it the next morning whether they want to or not. or they won't wake up. and some child will have to raise themselves and become one more added to the millions of AIDS orphans.

but this is also why i care about these things. because i can't NOT care. there's too much at stake. some may think i may appear idealistic and foolishly hopeful, spending my passions on world issues that i can barely influence, let alone solve. but i don't care. because it'll be worth it for the few i am able to influence. and i AM foolishly idealistic. and i love it. we can, i believe, really enact global change of gigantic proportions in the next generation. but it's not going to happen with me sitting on the couch.

and so i take a deep breath and plunge back it...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

so this Saturday, as you've assuredly sorted out by now, is World AIDS Day. the church that i work at, The Chapel, has given me quite a bit of freedom to promote WAD as part of my work there, including time in the services, passing out awareness ribbons, etc. kudos, Chapel.

this year, they've allowed me to take this one step further by creating a website. my brother's company, In The Round Productions, did all the site design and launch, and i provided all the content (text, resources, pictures, etc). a few years ago there's no way i would have been able to do this, but over the years i've stumbled across quite a few resources and it's exciting to be able to put them all out there in one place for other people to use.

so i hope that you'll stop in on sometime this week and spend some time praying, learning, and figuring out how to live love to AIDS victims all over the world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

one week till World AIDS Day...
a special announcement later today on here.

but for now, please take a moment to visit and post a prayer as your sign of solidarity with World AIDS Day. this site will be going public through a variety of means in the near future, but for now you can sneak in before everyone else has the chance.

please invite your friends to do likewise.

Friday, November 23, 2007


i'm going to be posting about a special resource for World AIDS Day in the next couple days (there's only 7 days left). it's been what's been taking all my time (thus the fewer posts recently). so check back soon for special announcement (Sunday at the lastest...hopefully sooner).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UN significantly revises AIDS estimates

9 days until World AIDS Day
Each day of the month leading up to World AIDS Day, I'll be posting some sort of resource, thoughts or action for you to use.

The UN has long been accused of inflating the number of AIDS infections in order to try and get more funding, public support, etc. Their most recent report, released just yesterday, helps to deflate some of those accusations by...deflating the number of infections reported.

Most significantly, they've dropped the estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS from over 40 million to 33.3 million. And they attribute this not to better containment of the virus but instead to better methods of gathering data.

You can read more about this at The Economist.

or by taking a look at the UN Report Press Release.

So this is good news, in a weird way. Not good news that we've had bad information the last few years. But good news that we're figuring out better ways to research and good news that ultimately fewer people have AIDS, need treated, or can spread it to others.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wal Mart = green ?

most people know that Wal-Mart equals green when it comes to money. as the largest single retailer in the world, they've redefined what retail looks like, from pricing to distribution. but they've long been derided for their lack of social conscience. these accusations cover a number of fronts, from care for workers to environmental friendliness to the promotion of materialism to the use of poor working facilities abroad.

in October 2005, Wal-Mart's CEO, Lee Scott, set three gigantic goals in the way of addressing environmental friendliness concerns, and just last week released their first report documenting their progress in this area. CNN has full article here.

though i have been (and will continue to be) a staunch advocate against Wal-Mart, i have to admit that i find the goals set in '05 admirable and the honesty of the report refreshing. they didn't try to say they've solved all the problems.

that being said, i find this quote near the end of the article compelling:

"Our overall argument is that even if Wal-Mart achieved all of its stated goals, the company's business model is inherently unsustainable," said Sarah Anderson from the Institute for Policy Studies.


oh...and 11 days until World AIDS Day. more on that later...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

just living

thanks to a little shout out from marko, i've had a few extra visitors for the last couple days. for those of you who are new, i thought i'd give you a bit of an idea about what this blog is all about.

primarily, this blog is about justice issues. you'll find all sorts of resources that i've come across in the last few years, organized by topic, listed on your right. for a little bit of an explanation, check out my first post from this summer, where i talk about my inspiration for starting this blog.

starting November 1, i began a month-long blog fest in preparation for World AIDS Day, which is every December 1st. i haven't posted every day, as was my goal, but i have posted a lot more than i did last year, when i attempted a similar feat on my xanga.

but this weekend, i've been thinking about justice from a bit of a different angle. normally i use this space to focus on "social justice" issues...poverty, slavery, AIDS, homelessness, etc. but as i've been sitting in the general sessions at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, i feel as if God is challenging me to consider if i live justly in the rest of my life. Shane challenged me to consider if i find the passion for justice rooted in the Scriptures. Phyllis challenged me to not be so quick to stare down my nose at those who don't share my passions. Louie prodded me to consider if it's just, if it's acceptable to really be angry at God. and this morning Doug reminded me that envy is ennacting an injustice on others in its own way, by tearing them down instead of celebrating them.

i hope that God will continue to ignite my passions for justice...socially, personally, theologically, holistically. he sets such a profound example. i have hope of enacting justice in life only because of the unbelievable combo of mercy and justice he has indwelled this world with.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One Life Revolution

Marko took some time tonight at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta, GA to take a glance back at when One Life Revolution, the youth movement of World Vision's AIDS mobilization began. It was very cool to hear him talk about all the things that have been done through youth groups catching a hold of the great responsibility we have to partner with our brothers and sister struggling from AIDS.

It also reminded me that One Life Revolution was a major catalyst (if not "the" catalyst...I can't remember) in getting me involved in AIDS issues. I received some of their material in the mail somehow and used my platform as a Camp Director to raise funds for us to donate to it. And then repeated it with my Jr. High small group at First Friends. And that started me down a path to where today AIDS is a huge part of my heart, a huge part of what I feel my calling is, a huge part of my passion. It's odd to think that such a tiny thing...a piece of mail that grabbed my heart, could influence my actions so much.

I pray that maybe some of my actions around World AIDS Day this year will do likewise in others. That maybe a post on this blog, a ribbon and the conversation that ensues, or reading a resource that I have linked from Facebook will somehow be a tool that the Holy Spirit uses to call someone else to spreadying His love to all of creation...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brazil = Brilliant

Day 14:
Brazil has long been acknowledged as one of the leading countries at both developing and execution of strategy when it comes to the AIDS crisis. as the country with the 5th largest population in the world, they've been able to not only contain but even make progress against the spread of HIV in a number of significant ways. the BBC published a great little article about it today. take a glance if you have the chance.

Monday, November 12, 2007

World Vision's countdown

day 13:
World Vision is doing a similar countdown to mine.

except they have a budget and graphic designers and web developers and people on the ground and years and years of experience.

they've got a slight edge on me, i guess:

the church's failure

as part of my promotion of World AIDS Day i created an event on Facebook that people could join and invite others to join. someone got invited yesterday, apparently, and sent me the following message:

Dear Joel--

I received your invitation to your group today, and I think what you're doing is absolutely despicable. Not the celebration of World AIDS Day, of course, that is commendable and important, even if it isn't a genuine form of action / respect / or memorializing for those who are infected and those who are already gone. But to bastardize the one day in which the world actually recognizes what is going on with AIDS, and to exploit that day in order to spread the 'word' of a euro-centric God that has all too often been used to inculcate those who are HIV-positive and to obstruct effective prevention messages is entirely unforgiveable. That you only promote the religious 'relief organizations' of your friends as viable and deserving organs of our donations is sickening. There is extremely strong work going on in the world to prevent and treat HIV, and the best of it has nothing to do with salvation or bible-beating. The entanglement of the church with issues of public health and the delivery of state services in order to prolong and better the lives of citizens has only wasted enormous resources and obfuscated cofactors of poverty, inequality, racism, and colonialism under a veil of religious ignorance.

Lest you think that I'm just some heartless complainer, I've spent the last years of my life working in the field with HIV-positive mothers to prevent the spread of HIV from mother to child. I am now in a PhD program studying how political systems can be improved to better the delivery of HIV services. What I am deeply offended by is the use of the one day all of us have to mobilize and compel people about this issue to proselytize about god, particularly given the abysmal history that religion of almost all sects has had with the social treatment of this disease. Start a religiously-affiliated facebook group devoted to HIV when your religion HASN'T called HIV 'god's will' and actively disseminated libel amounting to human rights abuses against those who are sick. Then I'd be happy to join your 'cause.'

I don't care to join you in any argument on this. Please keep your requests, and your opinions, out of my inbox.

Thank you,

Wow. I was angry when I read this. Not at the person that wrote it, but that her charges directed at Christianity are largely true. It upsets me a lot that we've represented Christ so poorly in this area that these statements could not only be said of us but bear far too much weight. It breaks my heart that we have taken a Christ so loving and turned him into a Christ so condemning.

This was my response:

Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough care about this issue. I have no desire to engage you in an arguement, but would instead like to apologize, both for myself and the (universal) church that I'm a part of. We have, very poorly, represented the God that we believe in on this issue. That you would critisize us is both understandable and deserved.

My goal of creating this group is in no way to use World AIDS Day as a chance to proselytize, but instead to help my friends and people within churches to see the huge ways in which we've missed the boat on this issue.

One of the things that I've done in the last few years that I've been involved with this is posted the outrageous quotes that some church leaders have made about this issue (such as it being "God's will") and called on us to seek forgiveness for being so foolishly ignorant about this issue.

I also want you to understand that I'm not some far removed idiot (though also not nearly as closely or importantly involved as it sounds you are in addressing AIDS). I work with a group of people that are partnering with two villages in Mozambique (which I have travelled to) to address AIDS and other issues in a holistic way that doesn't try to push people into a "white man's religion," but instead hopes to help address the myriad and challenging array of problems that are facing this generation.

The reason why I chose the organizations that I did was because they're organizations that I believe are addressing this a way that my friends can relate to. I do regularly support other, non-religious organizations, such as DATA and the Red campaign. Also, I regularly try to educate people about the role of the UN, the Millennium Goals, and UNGASS.

Again, I'm sorry that this offended you, and I hope that this helps explain it some.

Joel Daniel

Sunday, November 11, 2007

promises, II

day 11...
it's a sunday again, so time to look at more promises from God that relate to AIDS issues...

did you know that November is National Adoption Month? i had no idea until this morning when i was sitting in the noon service at The Chapel and they opened up the service by showing a special video highlighting this fact. it also brought to attention the staggering number of orphans there are in the world today.

according to, did you know that more than 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS? they have a fairly detailed breakdown of where and how and forecasts at:

the Bible makes it pretty clear that orphans matter to God. for example, James 1:27 says this:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

wow. this verse alone would seem to indicate the import of being involved in a crisis that's creating such a disproportionate amount of orphans. not to mention God's continual care throughout the Scriptures for the weak and down-trodden.

so...what in the world am i going to do about it....

well...for the moment, i'm going to go donate some rice (

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a different angle...

day 10...

so this isn't directly related, though it sort of is.

found a very cool site today that helps you expand your vocabulary. while at the same time providing food for people who need it.

try it out. it's interesting. and worthwhile. highest i've scored is level 40 (check the faq for scoring explanation). and in the process i've given away a lot of rice.

food and AIDS are tied together in the sense that countries that are part of the developing world usually have a whole host of symptons, including AIDS, poverty, hunger, medical, economy, etc problems that work as a vicious cycle, never allowing a critical mass of the population to establish themselves in such a way as to bring about substantive, sustainable change. that's why when we partner with people, we must think of it in a wholistic way, that addresses the breadth of their physical needs, the depth of their spiritual needs, and that acknowledges that all parties bring knowledge to the table and that we'll all walk away as better people in better situations if we're willing to learn.

enjoy expanding your vocabulary!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

defining & history

day 8
Each day of the month leading up to World AIDS Day, I'll be posting some sort of resource, thoughts or action for you to use.

Quote of the day:
"It's a very human virus, a very human epidemic. It touches right to the heart of our existence," says Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. "When you think of it, that in let's say 25 years, about 70 million people have become infected with this virus, probably coming from one [transmission] ... it's mind blowing."
-from Frontline's Age of AIDS

some oft-asked questions:

HIV/AIDS: what's the difference?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune defenses and ultimately causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if left untreated. By weakening the immune system, HIV opens the doors for a variety of other health issues to develop. When the immune system is weakened significantly, AIDS is the result.

you can find a more complete explanation here

I've heard it called a "pandemic". What's the difference between a "pandemic" and an "epidemic"?
An epidemic is a virus that affects a specific group of people. A pandemic is also a virus, and is both contagious and widespread.

an official definition can be found here

Where did HIV come from?
The latest research, coming out just this past May, extends the knowledge about the origin of HIV. HIV is a developed form of a disease found in chimpanzees in Cameroon, originally transmitted through usage as food (contracted possibly by hunters or slaves). This probably happened sometime in the 1930's. From there it was spread in a variety of ways, with the first cases in the US and France being determined to be a distinct health issue in 1981. By the time that the first case was diagnosed in the US, hundreds of thousands of people were already infected by the time the first case was officially diagnosed in Africa, millions were infected.

The Frontline video has an excellent summary of this history. also has a good description.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

PBS = swell

day 6:

missed yesterday. sorry.

but today's resource is so great, it makes up for it.

last year PBS did a special on Frontline on "The Age of AIDS." they've made the entire 4 hour program available for viewing online, as well as creating a central hub of resources, research, and information. this resource is hands down the best overview of AIDS that i have found online. hope you'll take some time to learn from it...

PBS Frontline: The Age of AIDS

Sunday, November 4, 2007

promises, promises

day 4:
the slogan for World AIDS Day until 2010 is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." The promises referred to by the event organizers are those made by people and countries. The promises we respond to, as God's people, are those God has given us in scripture and that are etched throughout the history of the church. Promises to relieve the burden of the oppressed and bring healing to those broken and diseased.

each Sunday during my month of AIDS blogging i'm going to take a few moments to reflect on a few of these promises and to consider what God is calling us to.

if anyone has material possesions and sees
his brother in need, but has no pity on him,
how can the love of God be in him?
dear children, let us not love with word or
in tongue, but with action and in truth.

>>1 john 3.17-18

i have so much crap. i own a house now first of all (or the bank does...however you want to view it). and it's full of all sorts of things. clothes and tools and files and furniture and so much stuff i don't even know what all of it is. and all the same i still have a list of things i wish i had.

giving away everything i have doesn't give me a heart for those with less. but it allows me see. my vision can be cluttered with all sorts of belongings. but clear it away and i can see others. see not only their need, but their hopes and dreams. and together we can pursue those dreams because i'm no longer encumbered by all of my junk.

what do you think? how does your stuff impede your compassion?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

how does AIDS work?

day 3:
last year in preparation for our church's push on World AIDS Day i did a lot of research on how HIV/AIDS goes about destroying peoples immune systems. the following few links provide what i think are the best overviews:

easy explanation with illustrations:

more complex explanation with animation:

Friday, November 2, 2007

an international movement

Day 2
Each day of the month leading up to World AIDS Day, I'll be posting some sort of resource, thoughts or action for you to use.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 as has since ballooned into an internationally recognized and observed awareness day. Up until 2004 it was run by UNAIDS (who I'll have more info on in future posts) at which point it was handed over to the World AIDS Campaign (WAC). They settled on the theme "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." which will remain the theme until 2010.

The WAC has a variety of resources and networks available on their website. If you'd like to host an event at your school, church or neighborhood, you can receive posters, a CD-Rom of resources, and web promotion/networking all through their site for free.

I'm out of internet access for the next two days, so I'll post again on Saturday night (hopefully)...