Friday, April 29, 2011

Kissing "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" Goodbye

WZ & I talked yesterday about how much damage Joshua Harris's book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" had done.

But being the thoughtful guy he is, he added, "Well, I think Joshua Harris, after he grew older and got married, looked around, and saw what he had done. That people were blindly kissing dating goodbye and chasing courtship as THE biblical method. So he wrote his second book, 'Boy Meets Girl' to try and salvage the situation, explaining that it's the heart behind what you do, not so much the actions that count. That there can be godly daters and ungodly courtshippers."

Then he paused. "That's what you get when a twenty-three years old guy writes."

:)

And then he said again, "Maybe because many of us looked at the cover, and had heard impressive things about it... and went, 'WHOA!'"


I like Weizhu's insights. He's a slow, slow, slow thinker... but a deep, objective and well-balanced thinker. Thus I respect WZ's insights and value them highly, because he always takes care to look at both sides of the coin.

His view is that both dating and courtship are fine. It's the HEART behind it that counts. Just that a lot of us sway to one extreme or the other.

Initially, I was one of those who took a rather extreme stand. But through the years, I examined my own heart motives, and realized that I had secret motives. Such as, "If I do it the courtship way, I can earn God's favour here and hopefully score points with Him. Then I'll get a nicer wife."

Oh man. That was legalism, pure and simple. There's just so many things wrong with that attitude on several levels. And what was worse, it snuck in under the cloak of "spirituality".

*shakes head*

This isn't really an issue about dating / courtship. It's simply the tip of the iceberg of legalism that is so prevalent among many of us. And more ignobly, blind, unthinking faith that doesn't stop to think why it believes what it believes. Which gets me hot under the collar.

Last time I wasn't riled up about it. I actually was a proponent of other extreme viewpoints, such as my own church being the BEST church... (forgive me God). But, over the years, when I saw the damage that it caused many people, and to the Body of Christ... and my own period of brokenness during uni days, I realized how stupid and misled I had been. As WZ, HH and Peter pointed out to me, I had this "holier-than-thou" attitude. And oh yes, poor KW was one of the unfortunate recipients of my priggishness. He's really noble to have taken the first step to talk with me and help open my eyes. :) Thank God for him.


Anyway, I think a lot of us were enthralled by the Kissed Dating Goodbye book, because deep down in our hearts, we were secretly desiring a marriage made in heaven. Somehow we had the false romantic notion that a marriage that was miraculously brought together by God should be superior to a 'normal' marriage.

But... that's not what the Bible teaches at all. As Kelvin said wisely, "Whether by nice or by shotgun, marriage is still God's idea."



Of course, you do want to find the best spouse. But I think that's more of what not to choose. What would displease the Lord, you should not do. Like choosing a non-Christian wife. But choose a Godly spouse whom together you can honour the Lord together.

But that attitude has nothing to do with dating, actually. Or courtship. Or arranged marriages either.

What matters is whether God is behind your reasons, whatever it be. It's a partnership between God and you - you in Him and He in you. Whether you want to do this or that, honour God with your decisions.

I think we have to guard our hearts against being consumerist.


Sent from my iPhone

5 comments:

Huanyan said...

You all think... wah lao... is it really the case?

I think the flaw in I kissed dating goodbye is that it doesn't tell the reader how to carry on from there once you give up the consumeristic way of dating. And I dun understand how the point on marriage made in heaven comes about because I dun think the book is hinting at that. A lot of time, people misunderstood the book. The book asks us to honor God through our motives and intentions and in our relationships. Not sure where it gives the idea of 'marriage made in heaven'.

Moreover, one more nail into the coffin, if Joshua Harris really realised the so-called damage his book has done, he would not have revised and reprinted the book again and again and should have revised the book to merge with 'Boy meets Girl', which makes more sense.

Steve said...

You might find my blog of interest where I critique Josh Harris's book.

www.ikdg.wordpress.com
I Kissed Dating Goodbye: Wisdom or Foolishness?

Unfortunately Josh Harris is quick to point out the problems with dating but reluctant to share any of the problems with his approach.

I don't that Harris's book "Boy Meets Girl" really undid all the damage that his "kissing dating goodbye" book did.

Hope this helps.

yeu@nn said...

Hi Huanyan, sorry if my post led to some misunderstanding.

First, oh yes, yes, great point about "I think the flaw in I kissed dating goodbye is that it doesn't tell the reader how to carry on from there once you give up the consumeristic way of dating. "

:)

But eh, "And I dun understand how the point on marriage made in heaven comes about because I dun think the book is hinting at that. "

I wasn't saying that. I was simply thinking about the hidden motives that many of us have. Not about the book, actually. Frankly, even if the book didn't come out, we'd still have this mentality. Just that I think many of us are using the book to "spiritualize" our inner wants.

The book definitely gives a great idea about honouring God.

Oh yes! WZ said one more thing. Haha. That many of us may not have read the book for itself, but just looked at the cover, and got our teachings second-hand.

As such, I literally encountered such extremes in our own church where some sisters really thought this way: "The paranoia about male-female interactions and the idea that 'guarding one’s heart' meant running the other direction in the face of ANY sort of attraction..."

Just very unhealthy.

About JH, good that he revised and reprinted. But I'm also thinking about the reaction of us to his books - whether 1st edition or zth edition. How we overreact and overrespond. Making his good ideas into doctrines. Mindless thinking lah. Which gets me hot under the collar.

Like how you get hot under the collar when people don't stop to think why they believe what they believe. Haha. :) Which is actually the same thing for me.

@Steve: Interesting! 103 comments so far! Thanks for your blog. I find it very thought-provoking. How did you come across my blog btw?

God bless!

laomao said...

Hmm, just to throw in something here.
I actually think the problem is not really with the book, but on the people who choose to take the book as truth. Or maybe I should say, the contents of the book can be worked into a person's own internal fantasies of an ideal relationship(romance,) probably.

It perhaps highlights how much of the beliefs and values out there are so ill-examined by people(you and me).
If indeed people are 'waylaid' by IKDG, it is not simply the problem of JH's writing, it is also the responsibility of those who followed what they wanted to follow given a formula they believe is the one.
Afterall, writing a book is not an easy task. I believe JH wrote the book with the belief that it is sound(as much as he knows then). If it turns out short of the mark, well he gave his best.
If BMG is the patch to fix those bugs in the program; it probably shows his intergrity. But we won't really know. Conspiracy theory can make it such that he planned everything straight from the beginning so as to milk more money out of readers. 2 books instead of just one! Heh, conspiracy theory.
An author cannot know every consequence his book might bring. But a God-fearing author jolly well makes sure that those potential pitfalls he sees, he does his best to avoid.
It is easy to critique, but not easy to create.

yeu@nn said...

Hey laomao! Wow. Thanks so much for sharing! Very insightful, as usual! :)

"I actually think the problem is not really with the book, but on the people who choose to take the book as truth. Or maybe I should say, the contents of the book can be worked into a person's own internal fantasies of an ideal relationship(romance,) probably." - I think you pretty much summed up the entire problem in this one para...

"If indeed people are 'waylaid' by IKDG, it is not simply the problem of JH's writing, it is also the responsibility of those who followed what they wanted to follow given a formula they believe is the one."

Yah! That's what my concern is too... but think this point applies to those who are more romantically-inclined (like yours truly)... :P

"An author cannot know every consequence his book might bring. But a God-fearing author jolly well makes sure that those potential pitfalls he sees, he does his best to avoid. It is easy to critique, but not easy to create."
Thanks dear bro. Wise words... :)