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Josh Harris rethinks his approach to courtship


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Have you guys seen this? 

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/07/10/485432485/former-evangelical-pastor-rethinks-his-approach-to-courtship

Josh Harris:

Quote

I think one area I am seeing is that - where my book was used as a rule book to say this is the only way to do it. I know that that's not helpful. That was not my intention. But I think one of the things that I'm changing in my own thinking is I just think people - myself included - it's so easy to latch on to a formula. You know, you do these things and you'll be great. You'll be safe and you'll be protected and you'll be whatever.

And I just don't think that's the way life works. I don't think that's the way the life of faith works. And so when we try to overly control our own lives or overly control other people's lives, I think we end up harming people. And I'm - I think that that's part of the problem with my book.

 

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A few years ago I think, I was listening to a Catholic radio call in show and a parent with young teens called in asking about courtship. The caller was thinking it might be a great idea to protect hi

I have sooooooo much resentment over the teenage tears I shed about clothing I wasn't allowed to wear. All my friends were in cute bikinis and i was in unflattering boob smashing one pieces. They got

Yes, Joshua Harris needs to apologize; it's weasel language to say that people simply misunderstood his book*.  We need to hear that he has kissed I Kissed Dating Goodbye goodbye.  But don't thin

dpndetfarm

Hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

Or is he trying to shut the barn door after the horses are out...

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quiversR4hunting

Wait a minute, he was 21 when he wrote that book? :shocked: 

So since 1997 adults, who got married the dating way, took advice from a greenhorn about how their own kids should date and marry? Fundies really are looking for the right formula for holiness. Everytime I think I am understanding fundie "logic" a new bit of information comes my way and hits me upside the head like Redd's Apple Ale.

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nickelodeon

Okay, but youth groups the world over will never get the excruciating hours spent forced to discuss this dumbass book back, so too little too late!

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BullyJBG

Well at least he's TRYING to amend the damage done. That this was HIS story, and there are similar stories, and damage done. That's more than we can say for, say, Gothard and that Vision Forum guy Doug?

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Loveday
3 minutes ago, nickelodeon said:

Okay, but youth groups the world over will never get the excruciating hours spent forced to discuss this dumbass book back, so too little too late!

My son included. :pb_confused:  He got involved with the youth group at our Catholic church in his late teens, more as a volunteer assistant than a member of the group itself.  My daughter was a member of the group as well. They both read the book, which was heavily promoted by the youth pastor,  but while my daughter took it with a huge grain of salt, my son latched on to it like it was an addendum to the Bible itself, no matter how we tried to explain that this wasn't necessarily the best way to find the right life partner. It affects him to this day, nearly ten years later. He has female friends, but he doesn't 'date' any of them, he's very formal and sort of stand-offish with them. It's like he just doesn't quite know how to relax and be himself around women. I blame Harris for a lot of that.

 

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LittleSpouseOnThePrairie

Holy crap I was just thinking about this book yesterday. Ok long story here. I am a product of fundy-lite parents and yep, read this shit because the book was a gift from Mom and all the other girls in youth group were reading it. I was a freshman in high school when it came out and had to live by this book's standards until I was well in college. No dating. Through all of high school. Boooo.

I went to a big public college and met a lot of fantastic guys, but every time I learned that they weren't virgins, like I was at the time, I wrote them off because based on the book's example they couldn't have been "the one." 

As a junior I dated a guy who became my college sweetheart and in that relationship I made the very conscious decision to have sex with him, believing that we were going to get married so it would retroactively be okay to not wait for marriage. We broke up a couple years after we graduated and I felt like I had now ruined myself for any guy that was looking for a pure woman. It felt very limiting and I finally told myself that the man I could eventually meet and marry one day might not be a virgin, and if I had stayed pure for him I would have resented that unequalness anyway... So I thought since my cork had been popped I might as well pour the champagne everywhere I wanted, so to speak, and made some reckless sexual choices for a while until I eventually met my awesome husband six years ago. And he was far from a virgin and I was okay with that. But if I had met him in high school I wouldn't have given him the time of day.

The ideas Harris had are not all necessarily bad. I understand where he was coming from, from a biblical standpoint, but in retrospect his logic was very specific to his own interpretation and extremely narrow minded. Furthermore, being that he is a man and his writing is really directed at young women, what the fuck does he know, and what gives him the right to preach at us about something he couldn't possibly have our perspective on? For a long time that book really messed with the way I viewed others who didn't wait for marriage, and especially myself.

More than anything I think that book gives girls a lot of pressure to live up to standards that keep them pure because that is what is desirable to Christian men - not reasons to choose courtship&abstinence for themselves. I respect people who are waiting for marriage because they have strong personal convictions about it, but if they meet someone amazing who didn't wait, I hope they'll still give them a chance.

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Howl

Yes, Joshua Harris needs to apologize; it's weasel language to say that people simply misunderstood his book*.  We need to hear that he has kissed I Kissed Dating Goodbye goodbye. 

But don't think that Joshua Harris has kissed I Kissed Dating Goodbye goodbye.  This is from Amazon:

Quote

Joshua Harris's first book, written when he was only 21, turned the Christian singles scene upside down...and people are still talking. More than 800,000 copies later, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, with its inspiring call to sincere love, real purity, and purposeful singleness, remains the benchmark for books on Christian dating. Now, for the first time since its release, the national #1 bestseller has been expanded with new content and updated for new readers. Honest and practical, it challenges cultural assumptions about relationships and provides solid, biblical alternatives to society's norms. 

*Just like Michael Pearl's "people who beat their children to death just didn't use my book correctly".  

Edited by Howl
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Palimpsest
9 minutes ago, Howl said:

Just like Michael Pearl's "people who beat their children to death just didn't use my book correctly".  

Precisely.  The big difference is that Harris is sort of apologizing for his naive thinking when he was 21.  He has to learn to do the apology a damn sight better though.

I have to say this for Josh Harris - he is revising his thinking a bit.  Especially in the context that he was also (peripherally) involved in covering up sexual abuse within the Sovereign Grace churches.  He is regretting that - but possibly only because he narrowly missed a bullet himself.  Time will tell on how much he has revised his thinking about crimes being dealt within the church as opposed to involving secular authorities.

Another article about Harris and his decision to resign from Covenant Life church to go to a real seminary.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/long-an-outsider-popular-evangelical-pastor-heads-for-the-mainstream/2015/01/30/31827364-a881-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html 

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Gossamer1
1 hour ago, quiversR4hunting said:

Fundies really are looking for the right formula for holiness. Everytime I think I am understanding fundie "logic" a new bit of information comes my way and hits me upside the head like Redd's Apple Ale.

They need a formula because they lack the critical thinking skills to make decisions on their own.  

I think a lot of it comes down to control too. The patriarch decides who their kids can spend time withso there is little chance the family winds up with a son or daughter in-law who might rock the boat and reduce the patriarch's power.

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quiversR4hunting
19 minutes ago, Gossamer1 said:

They need a formula because they lack the critical thinking skills to make decisions on their own.  

Can I like this a million times?! This is what I was trying to say but couldn't get the right words (lack of caffeine this am).

The lack of critical thinking skills is the saddest skill lost by all these kids and adults. I think that is why time after time we either read other posters or say it ourselves that <insert fundie name> has a blank look or <insert fundie name> doesn't seem so bright. I think it all comes down to they lost the ability to think critically. Once you loose that I think it is "easy" to look adoringly to your headship with eyelashes batting (insert duggars, wallers, anna to smugs, jilly to david; gag, puke, gag).

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Loveday
1 minute ago, louisa05 said:

A few years ago I think, I was listening to a Catholic radio call in show and a parent with young teens called in asking about courtship. The caller was thinking it might be a great idea to protect his kids and ensure successful marriages. The priest hosting for the day told him it is an absolute no no, that that kind of parental involvement could result in an invalid marriage because to be sacramental--neither party can in any way have their choice to marry be coerced by anyone else, and that parents have to teach values to children then trust them and let them live their own lives. 

You might run some of that by your son. 

That's something I've never heard before. I'm sure my son's never heard it.  It makes total sense, though.

The thing is, he never asked us to get involved. He just read the book and decided that he would stop dating (not that he dated a lot, but he had had a couple of girlfriends in high school) and concentrate on college, and then do the courtship thing when he felt he was ready to get married.  No dating til then, because of course that would be dating without purpose.  Now he's in graduate school, in his late 20s, and still isn't dating. I never bring up the subject, though, because hard though it is,  I try to be a very non-interfering mom. 

But if he ever brings it up himself, I will absolutely tell him what you heard. Thanks! 

 

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LittleSpouseOnThePrairie
On July 11, 2016 at 7:12 AM, quiversR4hunting said:

Can I like this a million times?! This is what I was trying to say but couldn't get the right words (lack of caffeine this am).

The lack of critical thinking skills is the saddest skill lost by all these kids and adults. I think that is why time after time we either read other posters or say it ourselves that <insert fundie name> has a blank look or <insert fundie name> doesn't seem so bright. I think it all comes down to they lost the ability to think critically. Once you loose that I think it is "easy" to look adoringly to your headship with eyelashes batting (insert duggars, wallers, anna to smugs, jilly to david; gag, puke, gag).

I don't think it is lost, so much as it is denied or suppressed. My parents ruled over aspect of my life for the first 18 years, and I definitely formed my own thoughts and opinions about things but the whole "trust us, we know best" bit they did as my parents "to protect me" always overruled any of my own conclusions. Especially with being an inquisitive kid who wanted to know why something was considered wrong instead of just obeying because they said so, it was very hurtful when they usually mistook my questioning as defiance or challenging their authority. That's basically like getting punished for critical thinking.

 

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louisa05
6 minutes ago, Loveday said:

That's something I've never heard before. I'm sure my son's never heard it.  It makes total sense, though.

The thing is, he never asked us to get involved. He just read the book and decided that he would stop dating (not that he dated a lot, but he had had a couple of girlfriends in high school) and concentrate on college, and then do the courtship thing when he felt he was ready to get married.  No dating til then, because of course that would be dating without purpose.  Now he's in graduate school, in his late 20s, and still isn't dating. I never bring up the subject, though, because hard though it is,  I try to be a very non-interfering mom. 

But if he ever brings it up himself, I will absolutely tell him what you heard. Thanks! 

 

I remember it because 1-I was surprised since Catholic media (except the Jesuits) tends to be uber conservative and 2- I should have thought of the issue with courtship and validity in marriage. 

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AmazonGrace

Well that apology-of-sorts doesn't sound totally sincere because his website still promotes the books implying they contain the Truth.

He is still quite willing to make money from the harmful, silly book he wrote at 21 without knowing anything about it

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IrishCarrie

Joshie-boy needs to man up and admit he was an arrogant little dipstick who thought he had insight, but that he has since grown up and now knows how very, very, very little he knows. 

Here's a top tip for life, my little sunflower: one size never fits all. Ever.

Now grow some stones and apologise properly, you big hairy eejit.

:soapbox:

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Howl
1 hour ago, Gossamer1 said:

They need a formula because they lack the critical thinking skills to make decisions on their own.  

Eleventy !!!1.1.= 11!!!!!

The Gothard homeschooling materials in particular teach kids to function in a linear way and thus avoid developing critical thinking skills; thus (sadly) no problem solving skills or any way to look at something in a fresh, new way.  This is especially true of the way women are taught to have zero sense of personal agency.  Null.  Zip. Nada. 

I read a comment by someone criticizing Gothard homeschooling materials and what it did to kids.  He lamented the kids' total inability to solve problems or think about how to do something new, or (oddly) how to follow directions. 

Edited by Howl
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louisa05

Formulas are the stuff of evangelical life. This book actually made courtship a popular model in evangelical churches--worlds where women can have jobs and wear pants. 

They are not Gothardites, but their churches have conditioned them to look for a formula for everything. In my brief evangelical life, I was always kind of weirdly fascinated by how church worked. It was a lot of singing, then some praying, a money collection, then a long sermon. During the long sermon, the Bible was referenced in tiny chunks which made it easy to remove it from context. I remember a pastor speaking at Christian school chapel whose entire sermon was based on four words of one Bible verse. With a Bible open on my lap, it was clear to me that if you put the four words back into the context of the entire chapter around them, they had nothing to do with what he was making out of them. And every single sermon ended with a formula for living. Often an alliterative one. At church proper (as opposed to school chapel) there was a sermon outline in the bulletin to fill out while the pastor spoke so you could write down the formula of the week for future reference. 

A formula for living was the literal outcome of all instruction in the churches I encountered. So of course these people would accept a formula for finding relationships without question. 

I grew up in Catholic school where no one had a formula, contrary to the stereotypes of Catholicism. Somehow, in evangelical world, having a specific liturgy for church or words for prayers is heresy, but basing some aspect of life on four words randomly taken out of context from the Bible and distilled into an alliterative set of rules makes sense. 

 

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Palimpsest
10 minutes ago, AmazonGrace said:

Well that apology-of-sorts doesn't sound totally sincere because his website still promotes the books implying they contain the Truth.

Eh, which website?  http://joshharris.com/kissed-dating-goodbye/

Quote

Revisiting I Kissed Dating Goodbye

I’m just beginning the process of revisiting the message and impact of my book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Over the years I’ve heard from people who have been helped by the book, but I’ve also heard a growing number of voices of people who have been hurt by it. I want to understand this better. I’m starting by listening. If you’d like to use this space to share your story and experience with my book—good, bad or a mix of both—I’d be honored to hear your story. You can use the form below to leave a post.

You don’t need to share your name or any information on your post, but if you choose to leave at least your email address it will allow me to follow-up if needed and also keep you updated on this journey.

It is a bit Gothardesque in that he wants people to contact him so he can listen - but he claims to be trying to understand why some people think it is full of shit.

Libby Anne's take on the situation:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2016/05/josh-harris-apologizes.html

On critical thinking:  I believe that some people who lack critical thinking skills or who tend to think in black and white are attracted to cult thinking in the first place.  Cult techniques then suppress the ability to question or think critically.

This first generation then does their best to suppress all critical thinking in the second generation using the same techniques and lack of real education.  Definitely true of Gothard.

2 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

 

Formulas are the stuff of evangelical life. This book actually made courtship a popular model in evangelical churches--worlds where women can have jobs and wear pants. 

They are not Gothardites, but their churches have conditioned them to look for a formula for everything.

 

Josh Harris is (or was) a product of the Sovereign Grace Church movement (definitely elements of cult.)  Is this what you are talking about - or are you referring to another flavor of evangelical or perhaps just to Evangelical church thinking more broadly?  

Sorry to seem so persnickety but I'm interested in this minutia. :)

 

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quiversR4hunting
51 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

I remember it because 1-I was surprised since Catholic media (except the Jesuits) tends to be uber conservative and 2- I should have thought of the issue with courtship and validity in marriage. 

I'm actually not surprised. People think Catholics are uber conservative but in reality, from my experience, most of the church (the people) are fairly moderate. As a Catholic, I didn't go to a non-drinking wedding reception until I went to a fundie lite reception. I didn't know they existed! I still haven't been to a non-dancing wedding. Even the fundie lite reception had some dancing. Dating was normal even in Catholic schools. The Catholics I know don't think about "unequally yolked" (although some should, like a friend that married a JW).  Catholics, in my opinion, have always been far more naïve about fundieism and teaching kids not to think. In my experience, Catholic families encourage education and thinking which makes sense since the catholic church is one of the first churches in the world to start education for poor people and hospitals to treat the poor.

 

---- There are always extremes. We all have examples of a Catholic that is pompous and holier than thou. ---

Edited by quiversR4hunting
added info about dancing.
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AmazonGrace
2 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

Eh, which website?  http://joshharris.com/kissed-dating-goodbye/

It is a bit Gothardesque in that he wants people to contact him so he can listen - but he claims to be trying to understand why some people think it is full of shit.

 

Joshharris.com/about

 

Joshua Harris has spent his life using words -written and spoken- to point people to Jesus Christ. Joshua's passion is making the truths about the Bible accessible and relatable. His six books (amazon link) have sold....

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Palimpsest
2 minutes ago, AmazonGrace said:

Joshharris.com/about

 

Joshua Harris has spent his life using words -written and spoken- to point people to Jesus Christ. Joshua's passion is making the truths about the Bible accessible and relatable. His six books (amazon link) have sold....

Yes - the bit I quoted above is from the feedback section.  He's not falling all over himself to correct I kissed Dating Goodbye, is he?  

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louisa05
12 minutes ago, quiversR4hunting said:

I'm actually not surprised. People think Catholics are uber conservative but in reality, from my experience, most of the church (the people) are fairly moderate. As a Catholic, I didn't go to a non-drinking wedding reception until I went to a fundie lite reception. I didn't know they existed! I still haven't been to a non-dancing wedding. Even the fundie lite reception had some dancing. Dating was normal even in Catholic schools. The Catholics I know don't think about "unequally yolked" (although some should, like a friend that married a JW).  Catholics, in my opinion, have always been far more naïve about fundieism and teaching kids not to think. In my experience, Catholic families encourage education and thinking which makes sense since the catholic church is one of the first churches in the world to start education for poor people and hospitals to treat the poor.

 

---- There are always extremes. We all have examples of a Catholic that is pompous and holier than thou. ---

Catholics in general, yes. But have you listened to/watched EWTN--either radio or television??? They aren't preaching against drinking, but they do tend toward very conservative positions about a lot of things--you can hear modesty preaching, severely anti-gay preaching (don't associate with gay people anywhere ever), homeschooling advocates (even their own parish schools might corrupt their children because the other kids might not be the right kind of Catholics), lay people advising people on the evils of taking their children to weddings if they cannot confirm that the couple are chaste virgins...a lot of that nonsense. And, honestly, I personally know very few Catholics who subscribe to those sorts of thinking--just as you say. But a lot of the Catholic media out there does not reflect that. Pop over to Patheos Catholic for examples or turn on EWTN or Catholic radio stations affiliated with them. 

My comment specifically referred to Catholic media not Catholics in general. 

19 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

 

Josh Harris is (or was) a product of the Sovereign Grace Church movement (definitely elements of cult.)  Is this what you are talking about - or are you referring to another flavor of evangelical or perhaps just to Evangelical church thinking more broadly?  

Sorry to seem so persnickety but I'm interested in this minutia. :)

 

Evangelicalism in general. 

The school I taught at included over 70 churches and over 50 denominations. It was officially "interdenominational". The denominations went from extremely conservative branches of Lutheranism to charismatic/neo-pentecostal. Pastors and youth pastors from the churches represented in the school community were invited each week to do chapel services. So at school, I was exposed to all sorts of evangelical preaching and they were all basically the same in the respect that I was writing about here. Obviously, some content and doctrinal differences existed. And the charismatic pastors were more apt to scream and cry at the obligatory altar call at the end. The charismatics emotionally manipulated the kids into coming forward to repent and be saved. The non-charismatic evangelicals reasoned with them about their great need to repent and be saved. And the same 30 kids and 4 teachers went up every single week. Another teacher and I referred to that part of chapel as "rounding up the usual suspects". 

Edited by louisa05
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AmazonGrace
3 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

Yes - the bit I quoted above is from the feedback section.  He's not falling all over himself to correct I kissed Dating Goodbye, is he?  

He even has the amazon link to buy the book in the feedback section... Look what I said in this book might be totally stupid and may have hurt many people... But if you didn't read it yet, buy it now!

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