Promise Keepers - Washington DC 1997
|Several years ago in Colorado Springs, I saw an ad in the paper inviting the public to come see Colorado University's head football coach, Bill McCartney, who would be speaking at a local Church that night. My wife, Lou said that she would like to hear him (we were avid Buffalo fans at the time), so we bundled up and joined the 100 or so people in the churches auditorium. It was a great time. McCartney told his usual football jokes in a non-assuming manner and introduced the concept of Promise Keepers. Let's fast forward to Jacksonville FL a few years to the Jaguar stadium where 50,000 men gathered to praise and worship God and confess their sins of shortcoming. The meeting started out with an hour of praise singing with every man in the stadium singing with outstretched hands raised over their heads. This was capped off with a plane flying overhead with a banner that said "OUR GOD REIGNS." Praise is not a easily exhibited trait of man, but when it happens, it fulfills an innate need that cannot be expressed in words. The photo on the left, below, shows the podium where the speakers stood.|
|Now, let's fast forward again to Washington DC during the first weekend of
October, 1997. I arrived at the Mall about noon with my wife, Lou and son, Elijah, for the
"Stand In The Gap" meeting, sometimes called the "million man march".
I joked to Lou that it was actually a million men and one woman. We started walking at the
Washington Monument and an hour later we had snaked our way through a solid blanket of men
and walked within a block of the main stage, not far from the capital building. There were
large screens strategically placed ever block, so we could always clearly hear the
speakers. At one point, one of the speakers asked the men to kneel down for prayer. It was
an awesome sight to see the 700,000 or so men drop so swiftly to their knees and begin to
pray. The photo below, left shows Lou and Elijah in the middle of the Mall. Note the
capital building in the background and the podium with a large screen TV on the right. The ariel view of this event is shown on the right.
PK teaches that men must keep their promises, and I have promises to my family that must sometimes proceed that of my my employer. I had planned for a year to come to DC for the Stand In The Gap meeting. I brought my wife and son for this unforgettable event. Ironically, the week before the meeting, I was tasked to go to DC to support an installation in Fairfax VA. Everything seemed to be working out well until the day before the PK meeting. A situation arose that required me to work the next day and coordinate an installation. I went in early the next day, thinking that I could get everything done, but it was not to be so. I finally told the people I was working with that I had to go to the PK march, because of promises to my family. This did not satisfy anyone and I was asked "what about your promises to us." I finally solved the problem by going to Avis and renting a cellular phone so I could coordinate the installation from the PK meeting. The photo left, below shows me at Constitution Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. talking to the people at work coordinating the activity. I was able to keep my promises to everyone. I would be hard pressed to say which was more impressive -- the meeting in the church in Colorado Springs, the gathering at Jacksonville, or the mass gathering at DC. In all cases, the PK people were outstanding. Nothing more can be said about Bill McCartney. He is a visionary and a pioneer. The greatest lacking in the Christian church during the last two hundred years has been the non-proactive stance it has had on racial discrimination. McCartney has made this issue the very foundation of PK. The next most impressive person at the Colorado Springs meeting was Randy Phillips. He could be described simply as a quiet, unassuming, servant. The organization is only the people that are in it and the success of the organization is due to those people.