The Dating Game: How Jehovah's Witnesses Meet their Match - SPIEGEL ONLINE
I first met Jan Ford as Sung Hifeng in Second Life (SL). . Rest in peace, our dear friend and mentor, Jan Ford, July 7, October 1, I only met Anni once but her smile is forever etched into my memory. She truly Childhood Friend of her brother JW. .. Rick & Cathe Ford posted on 12/13/ Updated June 13, AM Job fair: Meet employers from the Charlotte area. Beatties Ford Road. caztuning.info June , Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem. caztuning.info
We had long discussions about that, and we talked about my marriage, and my divorce. We also talked a lot about earlier cultures, how some lacked the idea of individualism, while others, like the US, know little else. Jan was fearless about his own death, but he wanted to continue watching the evolution of the Occupy movement.
He wanted to see what was going to happen with this US election coming up. I could always count on Jan for a historical perspective, for the broader social ramifications, and for a reality check. I could count on Jan to give me background, and psychological factors that might be involved. He always came back with great information, food for thought. He knew how to challenge me without pushing his views on me. Within the last year or so, I had taken up the obsession of learning math.
Jan told me how proud he was of me over that because I was the first adult he had met in all his teaching career who was willing to learn without being forced. On one visit down, he shared a book on statistics with me, talking about how important that was to critical thinking. He had taught the course in the college. I went onto explain how calculus fits into science and he patiently listened, smiling. Jan teaching Tai Chi Whenever I visited him, it was over the weekend, so that allowed me to go to the park where he had his weekly Sunday martial arts practice.
This was a tradition that had been going on for years, and I enjoyed watching his students, and hearing him instruct them.
I had questions galore about what they were doing, about that particular art, and he always patiently explained the details to me while keeping his eye on his students. He had this pressing feeling that it had to be recorded, or it would be forever lost. He was not to be disappointed, and I met yet even more people than I had on previous visits.
He had a full deck of students. I had fun taking pictures. I wished it were different. I wanted to join him there every Sunday. I wanted him to teach me Tai Chi. It felt so unfair, yet I and the others on that deck were so very fortunate. Jan was a mentor to us all in so many ways. Sometimes I wish I had met him much earlier, but I would have been a different person then, and perhaps we would not have hit it off in the same way.
I met him when I did, and I am forever grateful to have been treated to his wisdom, his guidance, his friendship, and his trust.
The silence on the other end is deafening. Jan and I shared the practical view that death is the end of the road. But my practice has taught me, enabled me, to be with this sadness. Like thousands of others, she has come to Dortmund with her family -- all of them strict believers, all of them dressed up for the special day -- for the annual North Rhine-Westfalia convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. Having doubts about his faith, the oldest son stayed home. It's a blow to the parents but the enthusiasm of their younger children compensates for the one son's lack of faith.
They arrive in caravans, bringing Tupperware, coolers, blankets and, most importantly, their Bibles. Here they can pray among peers, feeling a sense of community instead of isolation. And since the family must expand, "many Witnesses naturally meet their future spouses here," says Uwe Langhals, another spokesman, who has been a Jehovah's Witness since he was Once decried as a cult, the Jehovah's Witnesses have managed to successfully fight for the title of "statutory public body" in 12 of the 16 German states.
This gives them the same legal status as, for example, the Protestant church. Though they occupy enormous venues, the public hardly notices their presence. Dortmund is home to the largest district convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in the country.
The majority of those following the faith in Germany hail from the Ruhr region, which is densely populated and has relatively high unemployment. Some 40, Witnesses are expected to attend the event on each of the three days it will last.
Now they are standing in the Westfalen Stadium, embracing fellow brothers and sisters.
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Melanie is busy catching up with a friend. There are many young people, among them young straight-backed men in suits. The girls exchange secretive looks and giggle. At first glance, it could be a wedding party. The girls' skirts might be a little longer and the children might look a bit more nicely coiffed, but it would be difficult to assign this group of people to any particular faith community.
It's only their purple plastic nametags that give them away: Written above the name is the phrase "Let God's Kingdom Come!
They have been married for 12 years. Both have been Jehovah's Witnesses since they were young. They spend 40 hours per week doing missionary work, preferably side-by-side.
They are nice, peaceful people.
The Dating Game: How Jehovah's Witnesses Meet their Match
They offer strangers licorice and apple slices, spread out wool blankets against the cold and help old people up the stairs. They listen quietly to the speaker on the lawn below. They sit close together, still and pious in the seats usually occupied by cheering, swearing fans of the Borussia Dortmund football club.
They hold their Bible in front of them like a silver tray: Their entire life is in this Bible. There are passages explaining why nicotine is forbidden but a glass of wine at the end of the day permitted, why blood transfusions are to be avoided and why non-believers must be converted. At least, they claim that's what the Bible says. They don't mention that the Protestant church has described the translation of the Bible used by Jehovah's Witnesses as inaccurate and uncritical.
Throughout the meeting, Bible passages are discussed at length and hymns are sung.