Community Instead of Private Sphere
What is actually important to the Holic Group is the community. Whoever really wants to be a Christian, they say, must share his entire life with the group. Because of this, one’s profession, one’s friends, and one’s family become secondary.
Partnership [translator: marriage or romance] is systematically eliminated (for reasons already explained). The central goal, along with the ‘pure’ lifestyle, is missionary work, to which everything else is subordinated. Additionally, any intense private relationship, or even attempts to occasionally be alone, are viewed as breaking fellowship and therefore sinful. Private individual prayer or Scripture reading is considered sinful. These things should be done as much as possible in the community.
To outsiders, the group appears very cold. During discussions in other Christian communities (e.g., Bible study groups), they make a loveless, merciless, and fanatical impression. As reported by those who’ve left the group, the rejecting and cold-hearted behavior, e.g., toward parents, is often feigned, especially in the case of new members. This is done in order to “move” parents or other people “to conversion,” or to maintain distance from those who are enmeshed in the sinful world. Sometimes it is also a protective mechanism designed to keep oneself from being overwhelmed by one’s own feelings (e.g., affection toward the parents). Within the group there may be some kind of sincere warmth, but that warmth does not appear to the outsider. Holic members are fairly relaxed at the weekend meetings, romping around and tussling with each other in a childlike way (they call this ‘horseplay’ [german: tollen, balgen, raufen]). At the larger meetings, time for this is explicitly planned. Members experience this as beneficial and freeing; they dissipate some tension and experience some physical contact. But they also appear to lecture each other, pointing out each other’s potential sins. Likewise, an exaggerated formal politeness is observed (continuously saying “please” and “thank you” – paying exact attention to the words which are spoken among them), in order to avoid sinning in this way. In the face of this continuous daily stress, the weekend outings are presumably needed for spiritual and emotional balance.
As soon as a member either leaves or is excluded from the community, this affection and warmth immediately disappears.