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Let’s All Get Outside!

53

March 29, 2010 by wcobserver

There you are:  lazing in the recliner, gnawing on a buffalo wing, slurping a Bud, taking in the afternoon game and you hear the dogs go crazy: a car is coming up the drive.  As you drag yourself out of your recliner to go to the door, you peer through the window to see two well-dressed men clutching tracts in their hand.  Man, oh man, it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For an instant, you are tempted to turn off the TV and pretend that no one’s at home, but then you remind yourself, “The JW’s have margin.” You toss the wing back in the bucket, walk over to the door and ask them to come on in as you struggle to recall where you put your King James.  The JW’s have margin.

Social scientists call it having a “social margin” when one is allowed a few less-pleasant habits (like interrupting a game) because they are well-known for having many more positive traits.  Like loveable old Grandaddy Bill when he talks about WWII.  Or, nice little old Grandma Gracie when she recalls the Depression. Those people went through something and a little patience with them is in order.  So, you just sigh and open the door to the

Witnesses.  The JW’s have a social margin and besides, they might want a beer, too.

After all, anyone familiar with German history knows that during Hitler’s era, both Catholics and Protestant churches pretty much tried to cut a deal with the Nazi regime.  But in 1933, the Jehovah’s Witnesses openly refused to perform the Nazi salute, refused to hang swastikas, refused to vote, and refused to serve in the Nazi army.  For their trouble, they were beaten, sent to prison, and decapitated.

One out of two German Jehovah’s Witnesses found themselves in a cattle car on the way to a concentration camp and an estimated 2,500-5,000 died, according to the Holocaust Museum’s accounts.  It is all the more remarkable when we recall that at any time these prisoners could have walked out of the camps or off the executioner’s block if they would have just signed a piece of paper.  Few did.  That’s social margin.

Even the Nazi guards themselves had a grudging admiration for the Witnesses:  SS Chief Heinrich Himmler often held up the “fanatical faith” of Jehovah’s Witnesses as an ideal for his own troops. If SS men only had had the same “unshakable faith” in the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler that the Witnesses had in Jehovah, he believed they would have been unstoppable.

As the noted psychologist and concentration camp survivor Bruno Bettelheim wrote, the Witnesses in the camps “were the only group of prisoners who never abused or mistreated other prisoners” and were “exemplary comrades, helpful, correct, dependable.”  That’s social margin.

Professor William Kaplan at the University of Ottawa summed it up: “”The courage of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who endured repression and fought for what they believed, is a testament to the human spirit.”

So what the heck, slither out of that Barca-lounger and check out the latest issue of Awake! or The Watchtower.  If the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not your cup of tea, well, maybe you should be going door-to-door.  After all, spring is around the corner!  That’s what we need:  Catholics going door-to-door, Southern Baptists going door-to-door, Buddhists going door-to-door, Agnostics going door-to-door, Free Thinkers ringing your doorbell!  It sure would get us out of our loungers and push us back into an active, vibrant community life, again.

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53 comments »

  1. Loved the article…Hubby’s disabled and I walk with a cane…our fellow JW’s help us regularly with meals, errands, housecleaning, and upbuilding visits, etc. We enjoy an incredible world-wide brotherhood, the world hasn’t a clue of how wide-spread the witnesses are (7 Million strong, and are united globely and spiritually – all are on the “same page” whether in the US, Europe, Asia, and South, Central and/or North America)..Loved the article, and appreciated the homeowners open-mindedness in listening to our message of hope…

  2. Angela says:

    What a priviledge to know the truth, and to be able to share it with others…there is no other place I’d rather be than with Jehovah’s People!

  3. Luisandra says:

    Well written article. People say JW won’t lift a finger for a country. I disagree. We won’t fight in a war, but we go door to door teaching people what the Bible says, letting them see how they can be better people and have more fullfilling lives. I think that can help a country better than any war that we fight.

  4. Patricia W. says:

    I am also one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and have been dedicated to serving Him and his appointed King Jesus Christ since 1987. I cannot imagine my life without my faith in Jehovah God. In these critical days that we are living in (2 Timothy 3:1-5) I can confidently believe that Jehovah’s promises are true and will bring about a new world filled with love, peace, security, and righteousness. What better hope could there be and what great comfort it gives us knowing we are being cared for so lovingly even now in these last days. (Matthew 24:3,7-14)
    Blessed be the name of Jehovah now and to time indefinite.

  5. Frank says:

    Nice article. I am a JW living in Belgium. When the nazi army conquered Belgium during the 2nd world war, my grandfather was enrolled into the nazi army by his own mother. He was 16. It was not his choice, but he had to.
    After about 60 years he was dedicated as a JW. This time, he made the decision himself.
    Make no mistake… we are JW BY CHOICE, and the preaching work is done not for us, but for all those who want to build a close relationship with God. Thanks for the article.

  6. Megatari says:

    @STUSH: Think about what you said, (and thanks Shelley for also pointing this out) if EVERYONE were like JW’s, there would be no war and no need for war. Seeking peace and the advantage of the other person goes a long way for a healthy life and healthy relationships!

  7. Theresa says:

    What a hoot! Really enjoyed the article. I enjoyed the comments too. I am so very thankful to be a part of this most important harvest work which we obey and imitate Jesus in doing. Our motivation comes from the deep LOVE, our God, Jehovah has for us and all people. By the way, we were out walking, door to door, in the nice spring weather this past week that we had here in Wis. Today…leave your shovels out folks…we’ll be around!!

  8. Richard says:

    About 20 years ago, two old men, Jehovah’s Witnesses, were in the door-to-door preaching work in Richmond, Va – let’s call them Al and Max. They get to a door and another old man, apparently a WWII vet, begins shouting at them for not fighting in WWII. They listen and Al explains that he spent the war in US Federal prison for his stand against war. And the angry man called them cowards. Now Max begins to speak in a heavy German accent while rolling up his sleeve. He says, “I too go to prison because I not fight my brother”, pointing to Al and showing a tattooed number on his arm. It was his Buchenwald concentration camp id number. He then looks the man in the eye and explains, “If we fight in war, I might kill my brother.” He pauses and says,”and maybe I killed you too.” The old veteran had no response.

    We don’t dislike veterans that served their country. Many Witnesses are veterans. It’s just that now we serve Jehovah and his son Jesus Christ and we are commanded to be neutral in the affairs of the nations. And like Al and Max, enjoy telling people about when wars will be no more.

  9. Rita says:

    I loved this article! How inspiring the Jehovah’s witnesses are! You know, I have never heard anything bad about them.

  10. Mason says:

    I too am an official door knocker, snow shoveler, KH and AH builder. No better way of life while the rest of the world falls apart. It’s a secure feeling

  11. Kim Rasmusson says:

    I enjoyed the article. I thought it was well written and researched. Stush, I don’t think stating the facts about some religions trying to curry favor with the nazi’s was written to offend anyone. It is a fact of history. It didn’t say that all catholics supported hiter just like it didn’t say that all of jehovah’s witnesses stayed faithful to their god. One of the reason’s we all have the right to worship (or not worship) god in our own way is because of the many court battles fought by jw’s for freedom of religion. Many people who have become witnesses have fought in some war or another. While we won’t join the military and fight in a war we also are not the ones who picket funerals of fallen soldiers. I really liked the comment about shoveling the snow. In alaska many people don’t use their front door, they go in through their garage so when we go to the front door we plow a little route for the pizza delivery guy.

  12. Tim Lewis says:

    More & more people are realizing that we have something that all people need. Hope,happiness,Peace, & more than anything else…..LOVE.

  13. Amos says:

    Life has a way of presenting truth even though it is hidden for a time.May articles of this sort reach the hearts of honest ones and spur them to read more issues of the Watchtower and Awake adding more praise to Jehovah’s name.

  14. Shelly says:

    Stush: While Witnesses are nuetral in political affairs, we do respect those men and women who have given their lives in service to the country, but if everyone were peaceful individuals and didn’t start wars, Hitler would never have gone anywhere. Here in the United States we appreciate and value our religious freedom. Everyone knows about the Jews being persecuted by the Nazis, not so many know that Jehovah’s Witnesses were there too, so it’s nice to have that shared once in awhile.

  15. Inez Luquis says:

    Very nice article.One can visit the wikipedia site on JW’s during Hitler’s Regime. You might find it sheds a different on light than the historical “facts” stated in this article.

  16. Carol says:

    To use peaceful people to bring the message of Peace to mutitudes around the earth is only resonable.

  17. Carol says:

    To use “Peaceful people” to bring the message of PEACE to multitudes around the earth is only reasonable. Ones who have put there full hope in GOD’S KINGDOM as Jesus set the example as to how we should worship his father (Math. 22:37 He would not serve an earthly goverment when they tried to make him “King” of such. But intead tought us to pray for GOD’S KINGDOM to come and saying we must show LOVE (the identifing mark of a TRUE follower of his). Also mentioning “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Math:26:52) when Peter tried to defend his master assured of the outcome of having a “soul” devided.
    That which Jehovah’s Kingdom will bring to the earth… ending sickness, death,even mourning and outcries of oppression. (Rev:21:3&4), cannot be fulfilled through any man made goverment.
    To rest our hope on that which is TRUE and the REAL hope for mankind gives endurance to ALL families around this earth which belongs to our Creator Jehovah God.

  18. Rainer says:

    I am also an immigrant and coming from Germany some who have been in WWII say: if it was not for us you would not be here.
    That is true considering the history.
    I ask them if they lost a relative during that war and some say yes. I reply: you should consider it was not one of Jehovah’s witnesses who killed your relative.
    If all were like the JW there would be no war. As John Lennon sang: Imagine…
    Yes, imagine: a world without borders, no worries about security, no armies. Imagine what could be done with all the military spending.
    And then they say at the door: I am not interested.

  19. T.G.WOLSKI says:

    A PHARISEE SOUGHT FAVOUR AND FORGIVENESS BY MENTIONING HIS GOOD DEEDS AND PATTING SELF ON THE SHOULDER SO TO SPEAK: AND THE
    TAX COLLECTOR JUST STROKE HIS BREAST AND
    BEGGED: GOD HAVE MERCY ON ME THE SINNER,
    HAVE MERCY ON ME THE SINNER, AND JESUS
    SAID: HE WENT AWAY JUSTIFIED, THE CONTRITE
    SINNER WAS HEARD AND FORGIVEN!! ALLELUYA
    THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST CONSOLATORY AND
    HOPE GIVING EPISODES IN THE SCRIPTURE.

  20. Wolski Tadeusz says:

    what are buffalo wings ? i had no idea buffalos can fly! if they really do i hope
    they can cotrol their bowels while in the air. the birds are bad enough but buffalos….wow

  21. Elizabeth Williams says:

    Really nice article and thanks for putting your brew aside for just a few and taking in knowledge about a “real hope for the future.” You’ll enjoy your time of relaxation on your recliner even more with the peace of mind knowing there is real peace soon ahead. Hey, take your current Bible based literature you were just provided to your recliner and enjoy!

  22. Lee says:

    Very well stated, as for the patriots you can learn a lot about what Love’ really is and means. Open up your heart and let the light shine.

  23. Maria says:

    Stush, when we look back in history many wars were started because of religion and how sad that at times when countries go to war they kill someone who shares the same faith. You also stated if all were like JW’s then Hitler would have been unstoppable, but if you think about it if everyone was like JW’s then no one would have been fighting and taking up arms against one another. When you mentioned all would love peace, well in order to have peace we need to be peacable, wouldn’t you agree? Thanks to Jehovah we have a hope for the future because he promises that war, sickness and death will be done away with and we will ALL live in PEACE. The next time a witness comes to your door, you just might want to ask about that wonderful hope for the future. It’ll be a paradise!

  24. June M Faulding says:

    On the witnessing work with my friends, in December 2010, the snow was thick on the ground. One of my colleagues offered to clear an elderly man’s drive. He refused. He is 76. The English can be very proud – and independent ……………..

  25. STUSH says:

    I CAN SEE WHY THE NAZIS LIKED .JW.S ITS BECAUSE THE3Y WOULD NEVER LIFT A FINGER TO DEFEND COUNTRY OR FAMILY. AND YES IF WE WERE ALL LIKE THE JEHOVAHS HITLER WOULD HAVE BEEN UNSTOPPABLE.ALSO YOU SAY BY SIGNING A PAPER THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED BUT REFUSED. WERE THE OTHER MILLIONS OF PRISONERS GIVEN THAT OPPORTUNITY? THEY ARE LIVING FREE BECAUSE OF THE BLOOD SHED BY OUR FIGHTING MEN. THEY HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THIS COUNTRY WILL NOT LIFT A FINGER IN DEFENSE OF IT.IF THE GERMANS ADMIRED THEM SO MUCH THEY SHOULD MOVE THERE.NO ONE WANTS WAR BUT SOMETIMES ITS NONAVOIDABLE WE WOULD ALL LOVE PEACE. THEY DONT BELIEVE IN WARS JUST LIKE ALL OF US. READ THE BIBLE DID WE NOT HAVE RELIGIOUS WARS.IM JUST STATING MY OPINION. IDONT HATE ANYONE BUT THIS ARTICLE WAS MEANT TO OFFEND CATHOLICS PROTESTANTS AND EVERYONE WHO FOUGHT FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY.

  26. I INJOYED THE NEWS PAPER ARTICLE VERY MUCH. AS TIME PASSES, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE TAKING OUR MAGAZINES AND ASKING US TO BESURE WE RETURN WITH THE NEXT SET. SHOWS A BIG SWING IN PEOPLE.

  27. cheryl says:

    I, too, enjoyed the article. And, what Teresa said was very true. I went for yrs. and wouldn’t watch the movie “Legends of the Fall” cause I had it in my head it was a cowboy movie. Knew nothing about the movie. At my mom’s one day, I watched it at her insistence. The movie was nothing like I thought and it was the best movie I’d ever seen. SO, as Teresa said, if people knew a little more about us, then they might be more inclined to give us a few minutes of their time at the door. U might find, what we have to say is the best news you’ve ever gotten.

  28. LueAnn Robinson says:

    I have been a jeh witnesses for 38yrs this is the best decision i made in my life,I love Jeh more than i love my husband of 40yrs,yes i am happily married to the father of my children,yes better is a life with a Loving,compassionte God like JEH” than with anyone else seen and unseen.

  29. John Scotchie says:

    A well written article. I enjoyed the comments that others wrote. When JW’s go to the door of someone, they appreciate the simple courtesy that many afford them, and a moment of their time to share an up-building thought from the Bible.

  30. Fancynanci says:

    Hey Bradley, the grammer police, your message to Teresa was unkind and uncalled for.

  31. Hi, all of you,

    beeing a German in Germany I enjoyed to read this article. My father became one of JW 1944, because his best friend got shot by the SS. He had refused to join and did’t want tp compromise. So I can fully agree, to what you wrote – it’s great to serve our creator and work to please him.
    Greetings from “old germany”.

  32. Bradley says:

    I loved the article. It was insightful, accurate, and funny.

    Teresa, in the future please proof read anything your write before submitting it. Your entire message is filled with mistakes but this one takes the cake:”If everyone knew more about us then they would gladly give us the oppurtunity to listen to what we have to say.” I bet you don’t even give yourself the opportunity to listen to what you have to say.:-)

  33. Ben says:

    Reading this article filled my heart with gladness. I have always respected and admired the love and endurance of those faithful brothers and sisters. I often think of them when times are tough.
    I will continue to bear his name and speak about his kingdom, because he is my god, and I am proud to call myself one of Jehovah’s Witnesses!

  34. Beautiful flower says:

    it is such a pleasure to the mind, body and spirit to know that other’s appreciate such love. These last days are horrible and it’s much easier when you have a solid faith which promotes peace, justice, and righteousness from the creator of all that is living.

  35. Kathy says:

    Very nice article! As far as the Buffalo wings & the Bud in the fridge…you’d be surprised! Yes even JW’s can have a good time!;)

  36. Heather T says:

    Thanks for sharing some accurate facts about us and our history!

  37. The author of the article was well-acquainted with Jehovah’s Witnesses and their history in Germany. In the United States Witnesses were also jailed

  38. Andrena Davies says:

    As we go door to door, we do this because we love our neighbors and we want all to know about Jehovah… The loving God we serve! I am so proud to be a JW!!

  39. Ariane says:

    Well im 15 and i am a JW and i enjoyed this article…its nice to see how our work and faith is appreciated in the news! maybe this article will encourage more people to listen to what we have to say!

  40. Rose says:

    I encouragePeople to look into these magazines. Most who do find them very up to date and correct about not only the history and lessons we can learn from Gods word, but on science, history, as well as other world events.So next time a witness visits your door, take the magazines, you won’t regreat it…They come out once a month, and you will find yourself looking forward to each new set monthly.

  41. Ms Serra says:

    Nice article, the facts don’t lie. Jehovah God has his representives here on earth. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since June 1, 1985 I have helped many people in various ways. Yes, I have shoveled snow (when a person is elderly or sick) I have driven elderly ones to the store. I have bought clothes, food, furniture for needy ones. I have cheered the sad and depressed ones and stopped a suicide. I have help many others get to their doctors appointments. This is my little part in helping.

    I think back to Hurricanes that hit Florida and the news papers writing no one is slamming the door on Jehovah’s Witnesses even if they have a door. The brothers & sisters were so helpful to the community. The Jehovah’s Witnesses feed everyone who came to them three hot meals a day, washed their clothes, helped the people get back on their feet. Rebuilding and Repairing many homes.

    I think about New Orleans too. The brothers & sisters did all the above and Rebuilt nearly 6,000 homes.

    Tom this is more than shoveling snow.
    This is being generous, kind and loving to all mankind like Jehovah God is.

    Christian Love

  42. Angela McCarthy says:

    I did just what was suggested 38yrs. ago and haven’t regretted it…physically mentally & socially I am new & improved!

  43. JG says:

    Tom Harleman. I love it. I am a JW, but that was the funniest thing I have heard in a while.

  44. Jim says:

    Nice article. Just goes to show that …serving the right God(Jehovah), does have its rewards.And for those that did die, what a beautiful world they will be coming back to.

  45. Teresa farrelly says:

    As one of JW its nice to find that news papers afford the time to find out more about us. If everyone knew more about us then they would gladly give us the oppurtunity to listen to what we have to say. Afterall we do bring a wealth of praticle help and are good neighbours. Most all all our message is encouraging and pleasent and is meant to make people happy. What more could you ask for.

  46. Susan says:

    For Tom, I have shoveled snow on many a walkway for some of the older folks that had no one to help them.

  47. Joel says:

    I am 14 and one of jehovahs witnessess and i really enjoyed this article and appreciate this recognition of our faith

  48. Tom Harleman says:

    What would truly be amazing is if they shoveled snow from the walk as they approached the door. Talk about increasing the social margin; linearly and diametrically!

  49. Liz says:

    Nice article..

  50. miriam says:

    thought you would enjoy…

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