PROMISE KEEPERS

by David Sisler

"Time, Gentlemen!"

I have a friend who, in another life (as he puts it) was a London pub crawler. When the legal hour for the last round had arrived, the publican would cry out, "Time, Gentlemen!" Whereupon the last of the beverage would be quaffed and the revelers would dispense to the streets.

At six o'clock on the evening of October 4th, someone from the National Parks Service told the leadership of Promise Keepers that their allotted time had expired. When the announcement came to disperse, 700,000 men began to pack out their trash. Washington, D.C. had laid on extra garbage collectors in anticipation of the Promise Keepers departure, but they were largely unneeded, as for the first time in history, a gathering on the Mall cleaned up after itself.

Bill McCartney may not have phrased it that way, but that may have been, and may still be, the theme of the Promise Keepers: "Clean Up After Yourself."

Instant analysis by pundits and prognosticators was the order of the day, and the day before, and the day after, so how do things look one month later? Have cracks appeared in the surface of the earth? Is the nation crumbling under the weight of the "religious right?" Or did the critics, whose bias and blinders allowed them to see in only one direction, miss the message they saw in action?

Missed by many was the fact that Promise Keepers volunteers had proposed making repairs at all 143 public schools in our nation's capital.

Over the years, a mayor had promised to fix the schools, along with D.C. Council members and school board officials. A retired general had been called in to run the schools, and he had promised to "put children first." The president of the United States and the Speaker of the House had promised to do something about deteriorating D.C. public schools.

But none of their official actions had amounted to anything like the demonstration put on by the Promise Keepers. And thanks to the judicial order of Judge Kaye K. Christian, it almost did not happen.

Judge Christian called for a detailed list of all planned volunteer repairs and when it was not forthcoming, the project was shifted to only one school Taft Junior High School which was closed last year by the emergency board of trustees for D.C. schools. Within a few hours, an eyesores was transformed into a finely manicured campus by 1500 men who kept their promise.

Courtland Milloy, a writer for The Washington Post, said, "Those men worked with an enthusiasm that was astounding. You'd have thought that they were being paid in gold to get the place fixed up for a royal visit."

In large measure Milloy is correct. The Promise Keepers say they are preparing for a Royal Visit, and that from the King of Kings.

That is precisely why PK's critics are so critical they do not understand that three- quarters of a million men could gather in the most political city in the world and have no agenda other than worshiping Almighty God and asking Him to bless again this nation which has already received so much from His hand.

The Washington Post asked Bill McCartney, "How many men will have to attend Stand in the Gap for you to consider it a success?"

McCartney replied, "Success is not going to be measured numerically. There's only one audience member as far as we're concerned, and that's Jesus Christ."

Promise Keepers are calling for men to resume their God-given roll as the head of the family, the priest of the home. When all of the debating has stopped if it ever does the clear word of Scripture is, God calls for wives to submit themselves to the leadership and protection and care of their husbands. When all of the debating has stopped if it ever does the clear word of Scripture is, husbands are called to love their wives, just as Jesus Christ loved His church. Never forget, Jesus died willingly for His church.

The concept of Biblical leadership that husbands are to demonstrate can only be understood within the confines of service. The picture of a Biblical leader is Jesus, a towel wrapped around his waist, dropping to his knees, washing the feet of His disciples. No other definition is accurate. That is the kind of husband that God's Word demands. That is the kind of husband that each wife deserves.

"Measure your words and live up to your words," Bill McCartney said. It may be so elementary as to be misunderstood, but to be a Promise Keeper, you have to keep your promises. Your first promise is to your God. The second promise is to your family. You gave your promise. Keep it.

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Published in the Augusta Chronicle 11/1/97

Copyright 1997 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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