My Pilgrimage in Mission

By Gerloff, Roswith | International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2013 | Go to article overview

My Pilgrimage in Mission


Gerloff, Roswith, International Bulletin of Missionary Research


Small worlds often mirror what happens at large. In a very real political, social, and religious sense, I have known from childhood what it means to be a stranger and alien in a far-off land (see Eph. 2:13, 19). Born in 1933, I grew up in a North German Protestant Prussian family who lived in Lower Franconia, a district of South German, mainly Catholic, Bavaria. I became a traveler between East and West, the two inimical worlds of postwar Berlin, where I served as a volunteer simultaneously in Christian youth work in the East and refugee camps in the West, and where my later parish ministry was located, near the dividing Wall. I subsequently lived for many years in Britain as a foreigner and explorer of its different cultures: Oxford and Birmingham, educated and working class, German and English, Jews and anti-Semites, blacks and whites, Caribbean blacks and African blacks. I journeyed among different denominations, traditions, independent movements, and the secular world. I found myself in both the First World and the Third World, among migrants and new settlers in Britain and Europe but also in permanent contact with the Caribbean and Africa, engaging with both "established" and charismatic Christianity, literary and oral traditions, the theology of the head and of the body, the faith of the oppressor and of the oppressed.

I still felt like an exile on my first return to my homeland, in 1985, because I had to work with people who, dumbfounded by their past, seemed to suppress shame and guilt in favor of material security and a restored parochialism. In 1994 on my later return to England to teach at the University of Leeds, I encountered a new kind of racism: fear of refugees, asylum seekers, "nonwhites," and Muslims, along with a tendency to fall prey to an ideology that affirms a clash of civilizations instead of one that welcomes diversity. Back again in Germany in retirement, I remain a stranger at the edge of many worlds, one of the multitude of in-between people who populate this earth. I exist between the politics of the present and the history of the past; between ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities and those who are settled and satiated; between classical European culture and those who have escaped war, hunger, and torture and ask for hospitality and acceptance. For the experience of being in between marks the existence of millions and therefore shapes humanity today. In contrast, to be permanently settled appears the exception.

Early Impressions under Hitler

I was born in Germany in the year Hitler came to power, and I was almost six when the Second World War broke out. I remember vividly the troubled faces around me that reflected the adults' fear of war coupled with their powerlessness, but I also remember the almost paranoid enthusiasm of people lining the streets as they cheered the soldiers being sent off into war. Somebody, probably my grandparents' maid, had handed me a basket full of purple and yellow pansies, and I stood among the shouting crowd, strewing flowers on the moving tanks. This is my first and everlasting memory of distressing ambivalence--the unresolved emotional coexistence of worry and honor, hate and love.

Other childhood memories are of the rationing of food; the weekly assemblies, appeals, and training schemes organized by the Hitler Youth; and the Christian youth clubs in which we gathered to read the Bible and the organized camp meetings at which we would sing songs of protest and joy. My first little attempt at resistance was to go to church instead of to watch war films on Sunday mornings. I still sense the depressed atmosphere after Germany's defeat at Stalingrad in 1943 and hear the uneasy talk after the assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944. I recall the experience of total war in 1945: the killings, bombings, fire, and flooding in Aschaffenburg, the town we loved, and eventually the armed struggle around us, machine guns throughout the night, plane attacks during the day. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

My Pilgrimage in Mission
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.