One More Post and I'm Done
I'm not sure why I brought it up -- Promise Keepers, I mean. I have strong feelings about it, but really, they are just my feelings. I'm not sure that I can explain them with any clarity. I do feel, though, that I have left some things having after the last post, so I'll wrap them up, and may not approach this subject again.
First of all, a friend of mine, whose husband attends Promise Keeper events, told me that she couldn't understand why anyone would question an event that was so filled with the Holy Spirit. I see some validity to that comment, and I know people who I respect have had positive experiences at Promise Keepers. Never having been to an event, and only having internet research to back up my conclusions (and we all know how flawed that can be), who am I to pass judgment?
Secondly, I wanted to clear up a few items from the previous post (and the comments to that post).
- I do believe that the different genders can benefit from single-gender events. I don't argue with that at all.
- My information that only women were allowed to attend PK events was from the many articles I have read on the internet regarding the events -- not from personal experience. I did read the site that wes recommended in the comments (directly on the Promise Keepers web site) which states that women are permitted to attend events. I do wonder if they would be welcome (if not invited).
- It was not that the events are men only; it was what I perceived as strict adherence to "law" (men only) that bothered me. I chose to write about that because of a story in Sheila Walsh's book concerning Women of Faith events (to which she had invited a man). Again, I've never been to a Women of Faith event, either.
So, really, what is my problem? My problem with Promise Keepers, I think, is rooted in the thought that Jim expressed in his comment, "I certainly understand anxiety with the number of men involved and concerns that rallys will move into a bad area, but all of the content I heard was encouraging men to become better fathers, husbands and christians. Following Jesus' example of sacrifice and honoring women, not a return to patriarchal male power." My worry is that men will not hear what Jim heard. My worry is that men will be convinced that they are called by God claim patriarchal male power. I know Jim, and I don't think that Jim would hear that, but I do think that some men would.
So I guess my problem isn't with what is said at an event -- because I don't know what is said at an event. My worry is what some men will HEAR at an event.
I have read the Seven Promises that Promise Keepers make. I'm not sure to whom these promises are made; I can't find that on the PK site. I do know that most men who are married and are members of a church have probably made many of these promises already -- to God and to their wives. I'm not sure that I agree with promise #2 -- "...he (a man) needs brothers to help him keep his promises." I guess I have a pretty high opinion of the men I know, and believe that they are completely capable of being men of integrity without "brothers."
And, truth be told, I worry that the organizers of the events are conservative enough to think and to teach that men are to be "head" of the family, and women are to "submit." So maybe that's the root of my problem all along. From the PK web site, in a paragraph for women, giving advice concerning how to support husbands after a PK event, "Acknowledge the little steps he is making to lead you and your family well."
There. I'm done.