Sunday, December 20, 2015

Book Review: Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper

(Reclaimed from Blogjob, where its "long-tailed tags" were Campus Crusade for Christ,feminist reactions to Promise Keepersmen’s fellowship groupsMillion Man MarchPromise Keepers.)

A Fair Trade Book
Title: Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper 

(What I had, reviewed, and have sold, was the first edition. If you click on the picture, you should open the Amazon page for the first edition. A new edition is available; if you click on the title, you should open the page for the new edition, which lists Jack Hayford as primary author.)

Author: Bill Bright, Luis Palau, James Dobson, et al.

Bill Bright's memorial page:

Updater: Jack W. Hayford

Jack Hayford's web page:

Promise Keepers' web page:

Date: 1994

Publisher: Focus on the Family / Word

ISBN: 1-56179-222-5

Length: 210 pages including bibliography

Quote: “Men are rising up to become all God originally intended them to be: men of integrity, men who keep their promises.”

Remember the Million Man March? At the time some women worried that these men were too conservative, or were trying to assert dominance in the home. Since I want a man who knows how to assert dominance in the home (without being bossy or burdensome), that didn’t bother me. Like most people who’ve lived in or near Washington, however, I mistrust any enterprise that involves marching on Washington.

Nevertheless, shortly before we met, my husband had gone to the Million Man March and made the Seven Promises: to worship God, to pursue relationships with a few “brothers,” to practice integrity, to build a strong marriage, to support a church, to reach beyond racial and denominational barriers, and to work toward building a better world. By and large he did those things well. In order to build a strong marriage he had to find a new wife; the older man he chose as an Elder didn’t have long to live, and although we donated money to projects backed by churches we didn’t attend a church, but nobody could deny that he kept the other promises.

There are still a few women out there who get nervous at any suggestion that a husband should try to be a leader or protector. I feel sorry for those women. All feminists agree that a patriarchal system, in which men are automatically granted the status of patriarchs and most fail disastrously to become patriarchs, is a bad thing. Those of us who’ve had the privilege of knowing them, however, will agree that a real patriarch—or matriarch—is a wonderful thing. Every family should be so lucky as to have a positive leader who doesn’t bully, badger, or threaten to leave anybody, but just tends to have good ideas, such that people ask for his (or her) advice. I was so blessed.

“Women shouldn’t need for our husbands to be spiritual leaders! We can ‘do’ spirituality by and for ourselves,” etc. etc. Of course we can have spiritual lives all by ourselves. The Bible is full of instructions and examples of how women pray directly to God, worship, study, sing, teach, and do good deeds, without needing to be led by mortal men. But there’s also something special about having a husband, father, or brother read and pray aloud while the rest of the family listen. I did my share of reading and “leading” for each of the men I loved and lost, but what I miss, now, is their reading to me.

Many women have also shared the gross-out experience of attending a “conservative” or “traditional” church where some bloke stood up and bloviated about how the divinely ordained “rightness” of male bosses and female subordinates would be upset if the church ordained women as pastors. It’s enough to make a woman distrust any suggestion of her husband, or father or brother for that matter, coming home from a Promise Keepers gathering all excited about “claiming his rightful position of leadership” in the home. Having only ever eaten asparagus out of tin cans would put anyone off the idea of eating asparagus, too...but if you’ve gone out to the garden, picked asparagus, and eaten it raw, you want to repeat this pleasure for the rest of your life.

With or without a big national organization, a Promise Keeper is a wonderful thing to be, or to be married to. So for any younger men out there who want to find their own historical moment to make the Seven Promises, reading this book could be like taking the torch from these older men’s hands.

Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper is recommended to any man who feels ready to take the challenge, and any woman who wonders just what he’s promising.

Bill Bright didn't need the money when this book was written, and has no earthly use for money now. Jack Hayford's ministry seems to be prospering, too, but since it's obvious that this book belongs to a particular charity that is still active and still needs support, let's call it a Fair Trade Book. If you buy a copy of either edition here, you send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either contact address on the left side of the screen, and I'll send $1 per copy to the Promise Keepers.