Dallas author and radio pastor Tony Evans gave his best Burgess Meredith impersonation, "Get up, you bum! Get up, you bum!" in mimicking the key scene from Rocky V in which the trainer Mick convinces his boxer to pull himself together and defeat a seemingly unassailable foe.
As Evans's words echoed down the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an epic roar issued from the throng of men, who deeply responded to the parallel between Rocky and the American evangelical male. Evans likened "Get up, you bum!" to the cry of Christ for men to live for God. The crowd rose and let loose a deafening shout.
The breakdown of the American family served as the stark backdrop for Promise Keepers' (PK) Stand in the Gap, the "sacred assembly of men" in Washington, D.C. Although no official tally was made, the October 4 event appeared to be the biggest D.C. gathering ever.
The focus on personal sin and the moral decay of society at large seemed to create a theological and sociological common ground on the Mall, allowing scriptural inerrantists to mix with believers in papal infallibility; overt charismatics to mingle with those who believe the apostolic era of spiritual gifts has ended; and average white guys to embrace average black guys.
As musician Steve Green sang "Let the Walls Fall Down," a 15-year-old messianic Jewish boy, his prayer shawl draped over his head, clasped hands with a pot-bellied baby boomer wearing an Oakland Raiders cap. Pittsburgh electrician John Wilkerson, 47, gripped the hand of his 21-year-old son, Daniel, who recently accepted Christ during a PK stadium event.
LOFTY GOALS: "Our destination is brotherhood in concert!" PK founder Bill McCartney bellowed. In his locker-room-seasoned voice, the former University of Colorado ...1
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