The Lives of Others

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Life

Last night I watched the film The Lives of Others, (in German with English subs), set in 1980s East Germany and centred around writer Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), his girlfriend Christa-Maria (Martina Gedeck) and Stasi officer Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) who is assigned to listen in on conversations held in Dreyman’s bugged apartment.

I found the ending of the film surprisingly moving on the back of the tension and element of trauma created earlier. But also, I think, for other reasons.

Firstly, it took me back to the days when my vocation as a singer working with churches in Eastern Europe necessitated careful conversations, an awareness that hotel rooms could be bugged, and highlighted the extreme pressures that my friends there had to face day by day. On a trip to Romania in the early 80s, my colleagues and I were expelled from the country, I was interrogated intensely prior to departure at the airport, and we were “blacklisted” for several years.

Curiously, the seeds of my interest in the “persecuted church” in Communist Europe were arguably sown when I was taken as a youngster to see another film, Question 7, also set in Eastern Germany (pre Berlin Wall).

I think perhaps I was also stirred by the questions raised about human nature; how we may behave in given situations; how peer pressure, fear, etc. can drive or divide, permeate a whole society. It got me thinking, with longing, that the true deep love that is the message of Christ is yet, it seems, still to permeate our world.  And yet in the opening sentences of his account of the gospel story, John says “We have beheld his glory”.  Is he referring to his following comment that Jesus was “…full of grace and truth”?  Or maybe it was Christ’s suffering that ironically, but truly, revealed his glory?

More than anything I think my wandering thoughts reminded me of what still burns within me – this desire to use my creativity to encourage faith – to express to others what lies deep within – to reach out to the potentially unreached, whether in a school assembly, my local pub, or spending time with a host family who are not currently believers.

Maybe I feel this more deeply because, due to illness, (my doctor has speculated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I am currently feeling so restricted in what I can achieve. Amongst other things, having to cancel a week’s worth of schools presentations does not sit well with all the above.  Still, I’m aware that I must learn to allow this time to be one where I CAN rethink… refresh… reappraise… recharge.  Maybe the outworking of my creativity may need to change a little – who knows?  My heart tells me that I still have much to offer and I pray that I use this period of time wisely to discover what that small contribution may look like.

  1. David Lategan says:

    Hi Rob, you were always a inspiration to me, when you were at Christ For The Nations.1998-2000. I can only imagine how many more people you have blessed. David

  2. drsharman says:

    I haven’t written in my own blog for nearly a year – busyness and a time of change and transition for myself and husband Brian are the reasons. but it is good to THINK and SHARE those thoughts and insights.
    thanks Rob, keep expressing what you feel, we need to hear it. writing is good ‘therapy’ for you too!

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