On one of my rare nights off, I was lying in bed next to my husband and randomly strolling facebook. An acquaintance from a life time ago posted a status about Joshua Harris pulling his book I kissed dating goodbye and the 2 additional books from the market. It was shocking to me.
If you grew up in the evangelical Christian world in the 90s-2000s, this book was a ground breaker. It defined a whole subculture’s view of dating and sexuality. It was one of those books that dramatically influenced my young Christian life and my views of religion and the church.
Here is the video:
I found myself so confused and yet admiring of his approach. This book and its impact were traumatic for me. It deeply shaped the way I viewed romantic relationships, and when I found myself disagreeing and going down a different path, it led me to a place where leaving faith was my solution. I won’t bore you with the story and I can’t pretend that I would have had a healthy understanding of sexuality without this book, but I also acknowledge that this book and the manic fervor that surrounded it was damaging.
All that said, Harris has acknowledged all this and is actively taking steps to apologize and redress his pervious words.
I feel that our culture truly values standing firm, even at the expense of growth. People are not allowed to be wrong and we shame those who admit that they are. Look at our treatment of politicians. You said these things 20 years ago and today you say this.
Add to this that no one likes to be wrong. We don’t like to admit that we got the name of an actor wrong, much less admit that maybe our life work was wrong. Maybe we did make a mistake in our marriage, said the wrong thing, viewed a topic in a way that now we aren’t sure we were right in, perhaps we even suspect we were deeply wrong. Admitting we were wrong might impact our life. It could change relationships we have, change the way we view ourselves, force us to deeply question other things that we hold as right and true.
In this, Joshua Harris is so admirable. He struggles and talks about the pain of growth. He faces the people who are telling him his life’s work was damaging. He pushes past natural defensiveness and listens with compassion. He allows the possibility he is wrong to exist and then he is brave enough to travel down a hard path to see where it leads.
Does that mean no good came from it? Absolutely not. Does it undo all the damage done by his words? Nope. But it opens a path for healing and conversation, something truly lacking in our world.
Thank you, Josh.
What are your thoughts?