Posts Tagged ‘Boy Meets Girl’

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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IKDG Blog One Year Anniversary

December 25, 2008

Well on internet time (terms of blog stats) it is now 12/26 and this day marks the one year anniversary for my blog.

I am almost at 18,000 hits for this blog which is far more than I ever thought would happen when set up this blog.

The fairly constant hits that this blog gets shows me that there still is some need for this type of blog. If my blog does nothing more than make people think about if/how they apply IKDG vs. blindly following then my blog has served its purpose.

Though I am not making that many new entries, I will continue to look for new topics that I can post on this blog.

I want to give an especial thanks to Kris of http://www.sgmsurvivors.com. I am sure that the large number of hits to this blog have been due to “riding on the coat tails” or her blogs popularity.

Thanks also to everyone who has posted comments for this blog.

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

August 3, 2008

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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What Problems Joshua Harris Acknowledged About How Singles Relate At His Church (But Doesn’t Share on His Website)

April 30, 2008

I know that this has been mentioned briefly on various other threads on this blog but thought it merited its own thread and more discussion.

Here are some points that Joshua Harris made in a message entitled “Coursthip Smourtship: What Really Matters in Relationships” given on November 20, 2005. In this message he acknowledged that how some of single men and women in his church related:

  • Could be described as standoffis, overly reserved, a certain level of uptightness
  • Isn’t how relationships should work in God’s family

After acknowledging these problems Harris indicated what he thought was proper for singles:

  • Felt desire for God to bless single men and women with the good gift of marriage in his time.
  • Didn’t want the singles ministry to become a “meat market” but one in which godly friendships can lead to purposeful courtships and God glorifying relationships
  • Purposeful courtship can only happen when if mature men and women first feel the freedom to get to know each other in brother/sister friendships
  • Men not scared about initiating friendships with women
  • Felt there had been some confusion
  • It is ok for brothers and sisters to go out to lunch/dinner together, grab coffee, and email one another.
  • Should ok talk church lobby w/o asked when is the wedding date

Harris also clarified his views on singles “guarding one’s heart.” Harris even felt the word was misapplied:

  • One should not become self focused in attempt from ever being disappointed.
  • Not to guard your hearts from attraction (don’t run away from a friendship when there is attraction) God can help process that it in godly way;
  • If attempt guard ourselves against attraction/disappointment will cut ourselves off from the good gifts of friendship/fellowship that God has for us.
  • If not mutual attraction/interest God help you walk through that. There will be times of disappointment.
  • Some walk out courtships decide not to get married; successful if walked out in integrity;

I admire that Harris did have the courage to acknowledge problems at his church. Usually one is well on to solving a problem after the problem has been acknowledged. Hopefully this message at least brought about changs at CLC with how the singles relate. The message was given 2.5 years ago. For those of you reading this still part of a SG Church what change have you noticed at CLC or within SG as a result of this message?

It is interesting to note that even at Harris’s own church there were significant problems with how singles related. From reading his books and looking at his website you would think that only dating had problems. Harris doesn’t mention any problems with his system in his books. People say that there is never a “perfect church” but when I read his books one would think he has found perfect system for singles.

This is probably my biggest issue with the way Harris has presented his “kissing dating goodbye” approach; he fails to admit any problems this approach can have. In other words, he is setting people up for false expectations when he doesn’t warn of the problems with his approach. It is like saying he found the “perfect church” when there is no perfect church.

One problem I have with all of this is when I look at Harris’s website I don’t see these problems mentioned He mentions where he has added these messages to the DVD package he sells but doesn’t mention any of the particular problems on his website:

http://www.joshharris.com/2007/11/dvd_messages_old_and_new_1.php

Wouldn’t it have made sense to spread the word about the problems with his approach to correct the imbalance his books created by not mentioning any of these problems? I am sure they exist in other churches. If he mentioned these problems on his website maybe other groups could learn from the problems that occurred at Harris’s own church.

Some Harris defenders cite this message as when people criticize Harris and his books. The only problem is that he doesn’t seem to be widely sharing these problems he found in his own congregation with his approach.

One other thought on this is “so what else is new.” The problems he acknowledged have seemed to have always coexisted with the group/courtship approach. Sovereign Grace had been using Harris’s approach of “kissing dating goodbye” for almost 20 years when Harris wrote his book. At least in this message the problems were finally acknowledged by someone in leadership. My thought in the past was that pastors only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear about this approach (only the good).

One person on the Sovereign Grace Uncensored blog (now sgmsurvivors.com) conjectured that Harris was between a rock and a hard place on this. He has a large following among the home schooling crowd that admire the group/courtship model he has set up. It would be hard for him to come out and backpedal on what he has said is such a good system.

Update 11/24/2008

These messages are now again available for downloading (free of charge):

Kissing Dating Goodbye “Updates”

Enter “courtship” as the search term.

I am interested in hearing what comments people have on this.

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