Negative review of Josh Harris, "I kissed dating goodbye"

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Negative review of Josh Harris, "I kissed dating goodbye"

Postby stcordova » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:32 pm

I once taught a college Bible study 11 years ago. I was a nerdy engineer type guy, but for some strange reason the study was flocked by many 19-year-old girls by the end of the school year. A lot of them were cute and a few talented on top of that -- a ballet dancer, an electrical engineering student, a student pilot....

I discouraged them against Harris' book. It was a daring step at the time to criticize Harris, and now that Harris himself is indirectly involved in sex scandal at his church, I'm glad I discouraged them against Harris' writings.

It seems to me Harris strains at gnats and lets camels through in his own congregation (a child molester in his church was apparently not dealt with, now the molester is sentenced to 110 years in prison, and Harris is now stepping down in the wake of this fiasco). I mean, he worries about girls hold a guy hands, but what about allowing child molesters to sneak into his church to become youth leaders? Cut me a break.

There were people in a church I attended who proclaimed Harris way was God's way. They practiced and preached it to the letter and then got divorced after swallowing their own medicine 4 years later.

I didn't like Harris' insinuation that if one is single or lonely, then this implies they somehow failed to do things God's way, or that if one does things God's way one is entitled to happily ever after. John the Baptist, Ezekiel (who's wife was taken home to be with the Lord), Jeremiah, Daniel (possibly a eunuch) -- they followed God better than most. What of their love lives?

Did Harris bother to do a survey of how God united couples? Queen Esther (basically was a sex slave in the King's Harem), Hosea (told by god to marry Gomer, a prostitute), Joseph (given wives by Pharoah), There were many arranged marriages which no doubt were a source of unhappiness (several proverbs about being married to a quarrelsome wives). A good gravy, what about levirate marriages where men were forced to marry undesirable women! Elkanah (Samuel's dad) loved one of his wives and not the other. Oh well, so much for Harris' courtship model.

I posed the question, "will God ever allow you to make a commitment (like marriage) that is to your hurt?". Hosea is at least one example in the affirmative. And further God looks favorably to the individual who keeps his word to his own hurt (Psalm 15).

Did he notice that there were marriages that were God's will that were arguably not full of happiness. Consider the Levirate marriage, where a man must marry his dead brother's wife and have kids with her. That was God's will in the Old Testament, and that wasn't always happy for each man, and God knew it would not always be happy, and given the description of Samuel's dad, there was an unhappy marriage ordained by God between Elkanah and Peninnah. What about Jacob and Leah? Did God stop such an unhappy union from happening? And Jacob was loved of God. God allowed Jacob's true love, Rachel, to die in childbirth leaving him stuck with Leah.

Harris suggests his experiences are more authoritative as far as what God wants for His people!

Harris has managed to sell ceremonial legalism as some sort of magic formula to landing Prince Charming for a girl or Miss Right for a guy. Not good.

Maybe happily ever after in this world is not what God intends, but preaching such a message sure sells books and fills pews in church and gets people believing all sorts of things.

Look at the book of Ruth. Ruth pretties herself up and lays down at Boaz feet at night alone. It's obvious she was trying to convince Boaz that she's a catch. That's scandalous by Harris standards, but reading the book of Ruth, one does not get the impression Ruth was ungodly in her behavior. She had legal right to demand Boaz marry her, and she was doing what she could to encourage him to do his duty, and his duty was to make babies with her (the levirate marriage).

I told the young ladies there is no magic formula to happily-ever-after on Earth. I've known too many young godly women who lost their husbands to death and were widows before age 30. I knew a very beautiful young woman who went to the mission field, and never married.

What constitutes "God's way" beyond chastity is quite individual. We note Paul in Timothy encouraging women (widows) to marry, and yet in Corinthians, he's obviously cautioning against marriage. In Jeremiah, God commands people to marry in Babylon, but then commanded Jeremiah to remain single, and as far as we can tell Daniel might well have been a eunuch. Harris one-size-fits all about God's way for uniting men and women is not what is taught in the Bible.

Jesus pointed out some guys might not have all the plumbing functional (eunuchs), but there are subtle gradations beyond just physical emasculation. A guy could be unattractive, financially poor, etc. There may be barriers other than being a eunuch that make a man unattractive to women, and in the end that will be OK if such men love the Lord.

"“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose what pleases me
and hold fast to my covenant—
to them I will give within my temple and its walls
a memorial and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that will endure forever."

Isaiah 56:4

Women are obsessed with clothes, and I don't think John the Baptist lifestyle would exactly endear him to the hotties in Jerusalem, but there is nothing wrong with that in the ultimate sense of God's economy. It's just extremely painful to one's love life and natural needs.

My simple advice to the young ladies in my Bible study 11-years ago: "happiness in this life is by God's grace, not human methods. Learn all you can about a prospective partner. There are sensible lists of questions to ask. Ask the questions, and choose wisely. Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. I don't think dating and marriage are exempt from trouble just because someone follows the Lord."

To my knowledge, all the young ladies present when I gave my one and only talk about dating and relationships, of the ones that are married now, they are all in good relationships. Was it because of what I said? No. They were decent attractive girls to begin with and they attracted decent attractive guys. Simple as that.

A few are still single, and still decent girls. Nothing wrong in God's eyes with that either. They might occasionally be lonely and hurting, in fact they many agonize, but if they love God, God promises it will work for the best, if not in this life, in the next. That's the most honest thing I could tell them.


PS
cross posted at
http://tinyurl.com/m4fzsr8
stcordova
 
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:41 am

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