Posts Tagged ‘Boundaries In Dating’

What Is “Dating” And What Did Josh Harris Supposedly “Kiss Goodbye?”

February 27, 2009

I read a blog entry written by John that asks that same question.  I would encourage anyone to read this link:

What is “dating” anyway?

That certainly is a good question.  What is it that Harris is supposedly “kissing goodbye?”  If one decides they want to follow what Harris is teaching, wouldn’t they want to know that means and what they shouldn’t do.  The word “dating” can mean a lot of things.

There appears to be some confusion in Christian circles as to what dating is and what  they are “kissing goodbye.”

The different meanings that I see with dating along with subcategories are as follows:

DIFFERENT TYPES OF “DATING”

  1. Going out and doing something with someone of the opposite sex (with no commitment implied). This could either be:
    1. Doing something as friends to enjoy each other’s company.  There can be quite a spectrum here of what is done on these dates.  .  “Enjoy” can mean anything from doing some with the purity God commands us to to couples engaging in casual sex.
    2. Spending some time to get to know someone to see if there is possibility that there might be a “connection” to have a relationship.  One might think of this as going out on a number of dates somewhere in the range of 5 dates.  This again can be done with purity or have all the sin issues pointed out in 1a above.
  2. Seeing each other exclusively for a period of time. It might be called “going together” or “going steady” or being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. This could either be:
    1. Something relatively short tem such as the repeated hook up and then break up that happens with some high school students.  According to Harris, this produces multiple broken hearts in a person and being at ease with breaking up.
    2. Two people that are seeing each other for a long time period with “no real purpose” in mind as Harris mentions.  .
    3. A couple exploring a relationship to see if they might be a good match for marriage.  Most would call this at least at some point during this stage “courtship.”

As I indicate above, it is quite possible for a couple to be involved in any of the above scenarios and do it in the purity that God commands us to.  Conversely, it is also possible for a couple be involved in the same activities without that the purity called for in scripture.   I am just trying to define the various types of dating.

My study of Harris’s book seems to indicate that what Harris is really opposing is category 2a or 2b: short term boyfriend/girlfriend situations.  Writing from the perspective of his teenage experiences, Harris decries the pattern that some people do (usually teenagers) of being a “couple” for a short period of time and then breaking up.  He also feels it is wrong to be “coupled up” before one is ready to pursue marriage.

Even if one does believe and follow Harris’s thoughts on all of this he unfortunately doesn’t make it clear what he is “kissing goodbye.”  This leads to what some call a “shotgun affect” to where all dating is decried as being wrong while his alternative “courtship” becomes the only thing that is acceptable reason for 2 singles to be together.  This makes all the other categories except 2c seem at least not as “godly.”

One alternative that Harris’s church has pushed for a number of years is singles doing things in groups vs. “dating” someone of the opposite sex until one is ready for marriage and meets someone they are ready to pursue “courtship” with.

This is just something to think about.  There is a broad spectrum in what constitutes dating.  Just know what you are “kissing goodbye” if you choose to do that.

Josh Harris did indicate in his latest IKDG “update” message, “Romance Revisited”, that the title of his book was “confusing.”  He said that he could have said I kissed “short term premature selfish directionless romantic relationships” goodbye but that would be too long of a title for a book.  This confirms what I am sharing above that Harris didn’t really indicate he wanted to kiss all dating goodbye, just  a certain type of dating goodbye.

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Kissing Dating Goodbye Is “Harmful”: A Respected Christian Author’s View on Non-Dating/Courtship

December 29, 2007

I am reading a book “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Someone on another discussion list posted a concern about how not dating might be harmful to her sons development as they matured. I was shocked at how applicable a section of this author’s was to what was discussed and how it explained in professional terms this mother’s concern about the group approach/courtship. I would recommend reading this book. It certainly gives a different view than Josh Harris will tell you.

In a chapter titled ” Unleash Your Libido or Real It In” he talks about at least one situation where he has counseled people that were involved in a church where dating is frowned upon . He found that with this person “this ’spiritual’ teaching was covering the fact that he was hiding from sexual problems, insecurities, and lots of weirdness”

He then states his opinion on the affects of a non dating policy:

In the name of purity, chastity, and good morals, singles have been desexualized. The are often repressed beyond normal decency, and as a result they are in a “presexual” stage of development.– what psychologists refer to as “latency/” In other words, out of a fear of sex, they have regressed to preadolescents, and they are feeling and acting like twelve-year-olds instead of adults who have gone through adolescence and figured all of that out.

He additionally states later in the chapter:

Keeping one’s sexuality in an immature and unintegrated state makes it neither holy nor ready for real relationship. … It keeps them out of what God designed as natural attraction, and it keeps them sexually disintegrated from the rest of their personhood.

He also goes on to state that he is not advocating “sexually acting out.” He was advocating sexual ownership as part of who you are. He also quotes Col 2:23.

Thus here is a professional stating in his professional words what this mother’s concerns were about the affect of groups/courtship. Reading what Cloud has written certainly makes one question even more the wisdom of Joshua Harris’s idea of “kissing dating goodbye.” It is certainly something to think about.

This author also coauthored “Boundaries In Dating” with Dr. John Townsend. I recently picked up a copy of this book. I have only read the introduction and 1st chapter. I was surprised to find that this “boundaries” book is a response to Harris’s book. In the beginning the “Boundaries” book lists the problems Harris indicates occur with dating and answers them. In summary, Townsend and Cloud feel that establishing and maintaining proper “boundaries” in dating is the answer to problems that occur with dating vs. Harris answer of “kissing dating goodbye.”

Both of these authors are respected and have a lot of counseling experience as well as education. Both were single into their 30’s so had considerable experience as a single person.

Compare this to someone who at the age of 21 wrote a book about his own experience and how good of an idea it was was for him to “kiss dating goodbye” and who was homeschooled with only a GED (no college degree). This sort of comparison should give one an idea of who has the more experienced background as well as who one should listen to.

Hope this helps.

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