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Understanding your story - social boundaries. About a God who reverses principles.







"There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all and in all." (Colossians 3:11, Rev.Elb.2006)



My dear friends, dear followers,

"Your poverty pisses me off!"


With a smug gesture, the wheat beer-drinking business student took the drink from my hand as he leaned arrogantly backwards in his designer polo shirt.

I could hardly resist the impulse to pour the same wheat beer over his expensive cloth trousers. Evening after evening I stood here, in the beer and smoke-filled air, to finance my room in a shared flat, my studies, my existence. I was tired, my feet were aching, and then this showboat came to me like this.

  • "You can just tell she has no idea about the good stuff - no style, no etiquette - you can just tell her clothes are from the rack store, you know. You can only develop real class if you wear the right fabrics, visit the good hairdressers and invest in your life. As hard as she tries - that's what she does - you can just see the gutter on her face"


  • "You know - it's just that poor people's taste buds just don't develop properly. You can serve the best wine to someone who's poor - their taste buds just aren't able to really savor the pleasure and taste the nuances. It's a labor of love in vain. They are simply... numb."

  • "You're just different from us, somehow just different. You think differently, you feel differently, you express yourself differently-that's kind of weird. What you think about! The books you read! You don't belong here."

  • "When Bille opens her mouth, she always comes out with such clever stuff."

  • "She always wants to be better than she is. Graduating from high school and going to university - what does she think she's doing? She should go to work like the rest of us. And all these fantasies about music and books and stuff, but not even able to hammer a nail straight into the wall."

  • "If you can't afford that, then you have no business here in specialist journalism. I assume you have a PC, a car and enough free time - so forget that you can work here on the side! And bring your photo equipment to the appointments."

  • "Are these real Chucks? Oh no? Yes, you don't even have to show up here with pseudo-Chucks, you pseudo. Some do and some don't."

  • "I thought you were really exciting, but honestly, with your poverty - I've never seen anything like it. No, I can't deal with that. It makes me nauseous. I don't want to have anything to do with that."

I was born a child with subtlety.

A child who could lose herself in the beauty of a story. A child who could ponder words for hours because their sound was so beautiful.

I was a girl with lots of books, a penchant for aesthetics and high thoughts.


But my environment was one of simplicity, of hard work. Social classes have their own laws.


I spent most of my childhood and youth in one of those social housing estates that you find everywhere: Grey 1960s buildings of the perpetually identical design, with six families living in the congruent drawing board apartments.

Around us, however, were the houses that belonged to the wealthier families - with pools, conservatories and designer kitchens. Adjacent to the social housing, we walked past the tennis club, where the better-off classmates practiced and which we were not allowed to enter. Past the stables where the richer girls kept their horses.


We were the socially disadvantaged.

The ones whose parents had no share in this luxury. Those whose parents drank. It was normal for the ashtrays to overflow and the bottles to be on the table by lunchtime. Many homes were filthy, somehow...different. Fathers lying sick on the sofa, shouting from other apartments, children running away. Better to be alone than to continue to be devalued and unseen.

The mothers' faces were tense and, as Spandau Ballet once put it, "marked by sacrifice".

My mother often looked at me and said: "No, I don't want you to visit her at home. I don't want you to go back there. But she can always come to us."


To us.

Things weren't much better for us for many years.


And yet, ever since my mother decided to stop living out her own grief and give me the best possible start in life, it was safe with us. No violence. No alcohol. No abuse. "You'd better come here." And they did come. To talk about their grief. To find some understanding.


Sometimes children just disappeared. "She came to the home, Layla. It's better for her in the home." Mysterious and a little disturbing were such statements we heard, but only understood to the extent that we said: "Another friend less."


My best friend was Marcus. Marcus, with a C. He insisted on it, like Anne at Green Gables insisted on her E. It made him special, he said. And he was special.


He lived in one of those houses that were considered the latest chic at the time: Open plan living room, huge dining room area, manicured front garden. But Marcus was usually with us, and we didn't understand until one day he was beaten up by his mother in front of us. It wasn't long before the youth welfare office intervened and he was moved to a supervised youth home. Far away from all the traumatic memories, from a mother who couldn't love him. Without him, my life, my being, became a little colder from then on.


There were sandpits in front of some of these blocks of flats. Meeting places for us who spent most of the day outside. I remember one day when I met Manuela.


She lived in the house directly adjacent to this sandpit and she was there most of the time. Shoveling sand from one side to the other. The window panes in her home were full of dead flies, the panes dirty, sticky, yellowed from cigarette smoke.

Manuela was always sad. Anxious. And somehow in a bad mood. And one day I sat down with her and we shoveled sand onto mountains together. We were seven, maybe eight years old.


"You're always so cheerful, so calm." She looked at me and smiled sadly.

"I have Jesus," I said, "he makes everything good in the end. You don't need to be afraid, Manu."

"Yes, but what if there's another world war? If we all have to die?"

"That can't be the case. Look, we've already had two world wars. There won't be a third. Jesus will come again before that. War would destroy the whole world. But Jesus is coming back. How is he supposed to come back to a completely destroyed world? God is there." She looked at me hopefully: "The way you say it, I can almost believe it." "Believe it, Manu," I said, "He's always there. We just have to believe it."


She smiled and said, "I have to go home now, otherwise my father will be angry," and the fear crept back into her eyes. "You must never come and see me!!!" she shouted, pushing herself along the wall of the house and disappearing behind the heavy front door. I heard voices behind the windows. Why were they scolding her? She hadn't done anything!


"Believe it, Jesus is always there."

That was my first counseling session.


When we come to terms with our history, we have to be honest.

We must not hide what has surrounded us, what social class we come from. It is difficult to want to break out of our original background, to want to change something. Those around us will see it as a rejection if we want to live differently and will do everything they can to prevent us from achieving our goals. With condemnation, with contempt. With mockery, even of our inner desires.

The other social class - perhaps the next level - will react to us with suspicion - with exclusion, condemnation, their own arrogance and their own sense of status.

You can be torn between the two, I have often been torn between the two.

Yesterday I read - once again - the parable of the talents entrusted to us.

5

2

1

"to each was given according to their own ability."


And suddenly I thought: "We are reading this completely wrong!"

"The one with the most ability is given the most."


No, that's not true.


Not only does it contradict Jesus' nature, it also contradicts the reality of social society, all the laws of trade and starting conditions.

If you are given five talents, then you can do business relatively fearlessly. It's not difficult to make a lot out of a lot.

With two, yes, that's more difficult. But you still have a talent in your hands to catch you if something goes wrong, if you miscalculate.


But if you only have one, then you have to develop skills. Calculate well. There is no net. There's no double bottom. There's the one, and you have to use it. You have to manage it well. You don't have a soft cushioned bed to fall back on. You don't have a second chance. You can't use one to make up for the loss of the other. You have one card, just one - and you have to play it.

That's scary. And we may be tempted, we who have had more stumbling blocks thrown our way by life than we can count, to bury that one talent.


Those with the five talents may feel particularly distinguished and look down arrogantly on those with just one. Those in the middle of the pack - it never occurs to them to look up or down. They are average, working with what they have.

Those with one talent are often surrounded by fear, by others who have long since buried what lies within them. They have seen how anger at the Lord has become overflowing, how powerlessness and the feeling of not being seen consumes them. Little support will be given to them and they will have to do everything they can to achieve their goals.


I believe that Jesus is teaching us an important lesson with this parable:

He trusted the one servant, the last one, with the most. He assigned him according to his abilities. The one who has the hardest time doubling the one talent needs the most skill, the most dedication, the most work. He must have the gift of literally turning shit into gold.

Jesus is not a neoliberal economic boss. He does not reward the rich and reject the poor. He does not rely on the ability to act as profitably as possible.


He entrusts the most to those who have nothing, who are nothing in the eyes of others. Jesus is not concerned with money. He is concerned with ability, inner strength and determination.

Why did the servant with the one talent experience God as cruel? As a thief? As a destroyer? Why did the Lord react so emotionally, so out of his mind to this statement by the last servant?

Because he trusted him the most. Because he chose to believe the lies of the world rather than the truth about his master. His task was not to earn 10 talents. His task was, against all odds, against all miserable starting conditions, costs, against all social injustice, not to lose faith that he could make this one talent flourish.


I am a servant with one talent, not five.

And I refuse to bury it.

Because my master trusts me.


To truly understand our own story is to understand the main issue.

Only then can we find healing and peace.


Jesus reversed the parameters of this world. We cannot be conformed to the world, adopt its values and believe that we will find Jesus in it.

Just as people sacrificed to their gods, God sacrificed himself to us.

May we begin to understand how much we need to rethink in order to become free.

Be blessed.

Sibylle/Daughter of Zion

Sources:

Photo: Pixabay, Kalhh, thank you.

Bible:Elberfelder Bibel 2006, © 2006 SCM R.Brockhaus in der SCM Verlagsgruppe GmbH, Holzgerlingen (www.scm-brockhaus.de)


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