Although Josh Harris didn’t recommend this, some of the Christian and homeschooling types that were his main audience took “kiss dating goodbye” concept really far.
I hope you can forgive me. To my Christians friends, I am grateful for your prayers. I feel very much alive, and awake, and surprisingly hopeful.(There have also been spiteful, hateful comments that angered and hurt me.) The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus.The popular phrase for this is “deconstruction,” the biblical phrase is “falling away.” By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.Along with, it seemed, all the other homeschooled teens at that time, I read them, and our parents and churches encouraged it.The basic message of Joshua Harris’s early books, written when he was barely out of the teenage years, is that dating can be intensely self- and sex-focused, as well as serial and unintentional.They are expressions of love though they are saddened or even strongly disapprove of the decision. I am learning that no group has the market cornered on grace.
This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between.
Now, 22 years after “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” came out, Harris is leaving his wife and his faith.
It would seem a bit like major whiplash if you don’t know much about legalism, the homeschooling and evangelical subcultures, or Harris’s trajectory since his bestseller.
The idea was to reduce premarital sex and postmarital divorce, goals I support, but with sometimes bizarre and uber-controlling methods that, to be clear, Harris never endorsed.
Also to be clear, this was extremely fringe, not at all a typical response. He mostly encouraged people to take dating seriously.
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