Fuck it, I dated

Who remembers that book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Josh Harris?

Ah, that’s right… now I can tell which of you grew up in the evangelical youth culture.

I just read a blog that mentioned that book, and man it took me back… It took me back to the evangelical days of my youth in which we were essentially bombarded from all angles with the message “True Love Waits” and that we shouldn’t be worried over traditional dating and falling in love when we had Jesus’ love.

“He chose to love us. He chose to lay down His life for us. The danger of believing that you “fall in love” is that it also means you can “fall out of love” just as unexpectedly. Aren’t you glad that God’s love for us isn’t as unpredictable?”

I did a quick search and found that this book is still widely available. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I can’t say that every piece of advice in the book is bad; but the feeling it gives me overall when I think about the past as it relates to this book is not really a good one. This book was handed to me by my parents, they were sure I’d appreciate it. As was the True Love Waits contract at a different time.

I’m sure they had good intentions.

But.

All it did was make me feel dirty.

I didn’t believe in it all anymore, and I had already become fairly sexually active by that point. I hadn’t yet “gone all the way” as they say… But it was just about there. I did, however; try to make myself believe. I tried to find my spot within the church kid groups and though I found some friends, some semblance of fitting in, I mostly felt like I was looking in from the outside.

“True purity, however, is a direction, a persistent, determined pursuit of righteousness. This direction starts in the heart, and we express it in a lifestyle that flees opportunities for compromise.”

Passages like this did and still do make me feel like less than. It was like most other kids had their purity and not only that – knew they were pure and righteous. I feel like now that I am older I can more easily realize and recognise that they were mostly probably struggling within themselves just as much as I was about something or other… But they at least gave off the perception of holiness…. and often holier-than-thou-ness.

“In the past, the starting point of my relationships was what I wanted instead of what God wanted. I looked out for my needs and fit others into my agenda. Did I find fulfillment? No, I found only compromise and heartache. I not only hurt others; I also hurt myself, and most seriously, I sinned against God.”

I even recall doing a monologue when I was 16 straight out of this book… Way to put forth the effort, Rae.

Anyway, needless to say I no longer even try to believe this viewpoint. The feelings of shame that were pushed upon me were enough to push me away from this culture and its propaganda forever.

I believe dating is a good thing. Dating is for practice and getting to know the other person. Dating is for helping you get to know yourself and what you want out of relationships…

I got to a point of saying “Fuck it” and dating… And I’m glad I did. I’ve found that a lot of the religious ideas about relationships can be damaging – especially when these ideas are taken on and interpreted by youth.

So you haven’t read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye?” You haven’t passed it on to your kids yet?

Then take my advice… Don’t.

 

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