Several people who grew up in the heyday of this “purity culture” movement as it is now referred to have expressed their dismay at being sucked into this counter-cultural movement by well-meaning yet misguided youth pastors and parents, or even themselves. The criticism over the system of courtship that Harris (among other Christian influencers such as Eric and Leslie Ludy) pioneered ranges from complaints about developing a skewed view of sexuality to problems finding a spouse to harming their relationship with God.
In 2016, Harris attempted to re-evaluate the book he published nearly 20 years before. He even participated in a documentary called “I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” The documentary explores the long-term effects the ideas laid out in Harris’ book had on people who read and accepted the book’s instructions. In 2018, Harris made a public statement recanting some of the principles of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, including the book’s suggestion to forgo not only dating, but also kissing before marriage.
Josh isn’t the only Harris who has changed his views. Shannon has been less public about her transforming beliefs, but recently on her Instagram account she has indicated her “theology is changing.”
Shannon Harris, singer and songwriter whose first album released in 2018, occasionally writes about her shifting views of church, Christianity, and life in general. She has hinted at feeling as if she had to bury herself while she was involved in church.
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Where I am now has everything do with God and nothing to do with God. Everything that could possibly be so simple and so complicated converging into one place is. . And I know why they disappeared. Leaders, especially. Why they were in for years, and then suddenly they were out. I know why they ghosted. . I myself have been sitting here for seven years. Quietly Thinking. No, longer. Nearly a decade ruminating over my time in a place called church. . When we left, I think my body was in shock. My mind, too. I hadn’t had a moment to myself in years, and there was an overwhelming amount of material to sort through. There was also the sudden quiet. The unfamiliar surroundings. The knowing no one. The jarring lack of things I needed to do. . I walked around my neighborhood in a daze, attempting to make my way through the fog of teachings, people, meetings, words, songs, voices, images, memories. There were good ones, of course. Lots of good ones. But the ones rolling in now weren’t those. . When I wasn’t walking in fog, I was in another mental space. Sitting on the floor in a room surrounded by disorderly stacks of the manila folders of my mind. . And I’m half looking for something. But I’m not sure what that is. So it’s taking forever to find. . While I’m looking for something I don’t know, I start remembering things. Things at the beginning. . Most importantly, the feeling of not feeling safe. . I had forgotten that I felt this way. . . #god #me #people #thinking #writing #writersofinstagram #religion #religious #deconstuction #womanhood #poetry #instapoet #music #spiritual #church #christianity #spirituality #writersofig #writers #writersofinstagram #writerscommunity
The Long and Short of It: There Are No Magic Formulas in Christianity
The Harris’ announcement about their separation is making quite the waves in the evangelical world, despite the fact that the couple took a step back from ministry and have been almost entirely out of the spotlight of the church since 2015. The general reaction has been one of sadness, although a small number of people are essentially gloating.