Living Into Community: Promise-Keeping

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word ‘Promise-Keeping’ is to pledge to do, bring about or provide. It’s a basis of trust. You can’t make a promise about something that you’re not in control of. Keeping our word is essential if you want to be a person of integrity.

Dr. Christine Pohl, Associate Provost and Professor of Christian Ethics and Church Society at Asbury Theological Seminary, has conducted extensive research for more than two decades about the core practices needed for a vibrant community.

She is the author of Living into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us and will bring her research to Lakeside from August 14-18 to have an open dialogue with members of our community.

Narrowing in on the most important aspects, Dr. Pohl discovers the four practices of community are hospitality, truthfulness, gratitude and promise-keeping.

On the topic of promise-keeping, community members shared their definitions of the word.

“Promise-keeping means those in leadership follow through with promises made,” said one Lakesider. “Trees are protected and building repairs are done in the off-season.”

Another Lakesider commented that “A human promise is failure waiting to happen. We can’t keep promises any better than we can walk on water. Only Christ lived the perfect life and kept every promise, on our behalf. Therefore, since God now sees us as perfect because of the work of Christ, we are free to do our best to keep our promises and to put the best construction on other’s promises made to us, rejoicing that the pressure is off and we are free to live.”

Dr. Pohl explains in her book that “Today we have cleaning agents, margarine and personal-health products with names like Pledge, Ensure, Promise and Depends. Despite the importance to most theological and philosophical traditions, our moral vocabulary related to promising has been trivialized.”

Lakesiders are invited to visit Artists-N-Cahoots to pick up a Chautauqua Conversation: Community & Practices booklet for a requested donation of $10 to cover printing costs.

In these booklets are prompts, questions and stimulating stories of fellow community members relating to each practice.

For those that prefer a discussion, or want to participate further, there will be two luncheon discussions in the Hotel Lakeside Fern Room at 12 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 and Wednesday, Aug. 10. Staff members will lead these gatherings.

Any Lakesider with an invested interest in the future of the community is welcome to participate. The Lakeside staff thanks those who have and will give their time and wisdom to this project.

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