Joshua Harris, the hero of the evangelical purity movement, has hinted he may have been wrong to suggest traditional dating was dangerous.After years of intense criticism as well as a cult status in the "True Love Waits" abstinence campaign, the author of "I want to do more than just say, 'Oh, I should have said a few things differently,' he said.
Now married, a father of three and a former megachurch pastor, Harris has recently called for reactions to his book. And I believe our diligent commitment to your ideas, and our 'failing to stay pure until marriage' has permanently damaged our relationship.
Critics set up a blog entitled to solicit people's stories. One reader wrote: "I have been married to my wife for over seven years. We have a beautiful daughter, and successful careers. Because of the shameful purity movement rhetoric we learned from your book, sex became tainted. "Years of truth and counseling later, I cannot get the subconscious idea out of my head that I am doing something wrong." Harris has admitted many of the consequences of his book were negative.
"I just need to listen to where people are before I come out with my own thoughts...
I don't have all the answers yet." In an interview with Slate almost two decade after the book was first published in 1997, Harris said: "What I was writing about was 'Avoid this pain, avoid these mistakes, don't do these things,' "Is that really how we grow as human beings?
"Part of the reason this has been so hard for me is that I have so much of my identity tied up in these books. "It's like, well, c**p, is the biggest thing I've done in my life this really huge mistake?
This is my attempt to share some of my thoughts on “kissing dating goodbye” and “courtship” practices. If nothing else I hope to encourage people to think about the concept and decide for themselves what is most important for them in their situation.
Note: Much of my criticism of the “kissing dating goodbye” approach is from the perspective of a single person in his 20’s and 30’s who was involved in churches where this approach was the norm.
My blog pages elaborate on this and asks if “kissing dating goodbye” is appropriate for all ages.
" Although he still upholds the traditional evangelical view that sex is only for heterosexual marriage, Harris is questioning some of his assumptions when he wrote the book aged 21.
Namely the desire of parents to control the actions of their children; the notion that sexual mistakes are irreversible; and the "formulaic approach to relationships that somehow guarantees a happy outcome".
Temporarily “kissing dating goodbye” which could also be called postponing dating might be appropriate especially for younger teenagers.