Josh Harris’s Shopping Cart Illustration: Does “KDG” Just Change the Cart’s Drifting Direction?

Are we fixing the swerving shopping cart or just changing the direction it swerves?

I have been rereading portions of the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye Book.” I noticed Harris’s shopping cart example that he used to “discourage” dating. In this example he talks about how some shopping carts are unwieldy with a “mind of their own” These are the shopping carts that never seem to want to go in the direction that you are trying to push them. With these carts you always have to make adjustments or they will veer off course either into a food display or another shopper. These are the “swervers” to avoid when shopping.

Harris claims that dating works similarly. Despite a couple’s best efforts and intentions Harris claims the system of dating tends to push you off course and into temptation just like a the shopping carts in his example. After this he lists the “7 Habits of Highly Defective Dating.” The author concludes that the “problems in dating can’t all be fixed by merely “dating right” but choosing an alternative to dating.

Before I share my main point of this entry and as I have said in other comments on this blog, Harris’s ideas have some wisdom and foolishness. With teenagers, he may have a point with this illustration and thought. The immaturity of most teenagers might work to make dating a “swerving cart.” But for more mature adults, does Harris’s alternative only move us into another “swerving cart” that only difference is that is swerves us in another direction?

One of my biggest issues with courtship and groups is that everywhere I have seen it applied, it quickly moves toward legalism. Harris even acknowledged that these problems occurred at his own church (but doesn’t mention this on his website). Harris has expressed regret for people that have been exposed to his book that has been implemented in a legalistic manner.

Christians rather than enjoying their freedom in Christ hold to a set of rules that are suppose to lead toward wisdom. You many times see single men and women “afraid” of each other and afraid to have healthy friendships with those of the opposite sex when exposed to teachings like Josh Harris gives. It is where people take well intentioned concepts liked what Harris writes about and pushes them to an extreme.

It sounds like Harris’s “alternative” to dating just might be another “swerving cart” that keeps trying to pull one in another direction: legalism. It is sad but quite possible that “kissing dating goodbye” only changes the direction your cart swerves but doesn’t change the swerve problem.

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5 Responses to “Josh Harris’s Shopping Cart Illustration: Does “KDG” Just Change the Cart’s Drifting Direction?”

  1. Kris Says:

    This is a good post!

    The first thing I thought when I read Harris “shopping cart” analogy was, it absolutely breaks down if you just analyze it even a little bit.

    If dating is like a shopping cart, as Josh Harris claims, then his analogy contradicts the very point he’s trying to make. Because, MOST shopping carts will go the way a person pushes them! The wobbly wheeled shopping cart is the EXCEPTION rather than the rule.

    So if dating is like a shopping cart, then most of the time, it will go in the direction that a couple chooses. There will be exceptions, of course, but those are…EXCEPTIONS.

    Just a random thought! 🙂 Keep up the good work here!

  2. steve240 Says:


    Thanks for your comment. That is a good point that most shopping carts stay on course and the wobbly wheeled ones are mostly the exceptions.

  3. SavvyD Says:

    I addressed the 7 habits on my blog. 🙂 But you knew that and read it. Dating doesn’t have to be defective.

  4. Steve240 Says:


    Yes I did see your response to the 7 Habits. When I get a chance I plan to cut and paste them and possibly modify them and post there here.

    It might be that as a teenager the shopping cart may be more of a “wobbler” but as one matures the shopping has less of a tendency to do that.

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. mrinitialman Says:

    What do you do if a shopping cart won’t go where you want it to? You fix it. A lot of relationships fail due to lack of maintenance.

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