Many of you may have heard about the recent decisions made by Joshua Harris, author of the well-known book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” that was widely circulated among certain Christian groups from when it was published in 1997. Now he has publically fully recanted of his teaching in this book and apologised to his audience with this statement: “To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry… I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and God.”
To be honest, I was never a fan of the IKDG content nor of the spirit in which it was presented, and that was one reason why over 20 years ago I created the “DateTalk” content. I was convinced that there was a different way to teach young people about the birds and the bees and how to do dating and relationships well. As you may know, I have been pretty passionate to get this material out far and wide, because I recognise its such a crucial area that can make or mess up peoples lives. I’ve done seminars on it around the world, done a series on TV with TBN UK and in Africa, and in 2018 published the material in the DateTalk book.
Now Harris’ about-turn on his teaching has given me pause for personal reflection:
Is there anything in my DateTalk that I should recant?
Anything I want to withdraw?
Any advice I give that is unhelpful or hurtful?
Is there any twisting or misrepresentation of truth?
Is there any crushing legalism?
Does this content limit or launch the reader into the best way to love and live?
Upon reflection and evaluation of these questions, and from countless stories and positive feedback from around the world where this content and now the book has reached, I can honestly conclude that I stand by all that I have taught and written on this often-confusing subject.
Of course, there are certainly some radically counter-cultural truths, views and reality-checks in DateTalk. (E.g.: “All sex joins”, “I’ll have a whole one please”, etc.) That’s to be expected from any work that is rooted in the teachings of Jesus and Scripture. It would never just be go-with-the flow stuff. It would always be counter-cultural.
My plea to you is this: Please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and backpedal from engaging in this crucial area of teaching and learning to love well. We desperately need help in the area of relationships. All things considered, I am confident that DateTalk is an excellent resource for this. I do not recant nor regret anything in it.
To be sure, DateTalk is not a complete, not perfect, work. It’s intended to be a book that people will actually read through to help them think holistically and radically in the right direction about relationships. The subtitle, after all, is: “(almost) everything you need to know about relationships, dating, and sex.”
If you want/need that, I unashamedly and highly recommend that you get your hands on a DateTalk book. And if you are a Christian pastor, youth worker, campus leader – buy a box and help those you lead to love well. It’s an excellent tool to start and steer the conversation for any individual, new dating couple, or for a group discussion.
Remember: To Love Well is to Live Well.
Your feedback welcome: If you have read/watched/listened to any DateTalk teaching, let me know with a comment what it meant to you, or not.
- For more on the DateTalk book see here
- And, if you want more on Loving Well, I also highly recommend and stand by what I wrote in “The Art of Loving Well” book. See here
- By the way, any profits from my books go to our mission in Europe, none into my pocket. Just in case you’re wondering…
One thought on ““I Kissed Dating Goodbye” vs. “DateTalk””
DateTalk has always been far less prescriptive than IKDG. The latter seeming more a recipe than the menu of strong, biblical principles embodied in DT.
I know that some people did have some difficulties with “I’ll have a whole one”, holding back on entering relationships because they ‘didn’t feel whole yet’. But I’m aware that’s a misconception you’ve tried to addressed in newer iterations.
.. and that’s largely the thing with DateTalk, I don’t think it’s ever been a hard list of GPS directions to a destination, but more of a paper map showing what’s out there, and what those exploring relationships need to watch out for and prioritise… It’s been refined, simplified, and corrected over time, and I’m sure that many years from now it will still be just as relevant and helpful to everyone exploring relationshipland!