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I’m truly thankful to be sharing my space at True Love with Joshua Harris today. It feels like just yesterday I was that 16-year-old girl, sitting under a tree at Creation Fest East, listening to him share about his best-selling book, It swept the nation like wildfire and totally changed the dating culture within the Church.Fast forward a couple decades, and here we are today, taking a second look at how his book impacted the dating scene – in both good ways, and not so good ways.About six years ago when I was still a pastor I was sitting in my living room with members of my church who had come to talk about weaknesses in our church’s leadership and culture.The gathering came about following a sermon I had preached from 1 Peter 5:3 that says pastors are not to “Lord over” or be “domineering” towards the people in the congregation.I believe a pathway out of the tangled mess is possible, but it takes courage to start working through it. I didn’t find a pathway to healing without great friends, a handful of mentors and tear-stained journal pages. But taking calculated risks isn’t only about finding a soulmate—it’s about not waiting for dreams, goals, conversations overdue, volunteer opportunities, job changes, hopes and whatever else you are “waiting” on. I believe it is a mark of maturity to find out how to hold to those boundaries even in friendships or early stages of dating.
More than 800,000 copies later, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, with its inspiring call to sincere love, real purity, and purposeful singleness, remains the benchmark for books on Christian dating. Joshua Harris’s first book, written when he was only 21, turned the Christian singles scene upside down…and people are still talking.
That was the beginning of a dawning realization that my own book could contribute to this kind of unhealthy culture in a family or in a church community. Stepping away from being “the leader with answers” to being “a student with questions” gave me a willingness to engage with new perspectives—even those that made me uncomfortable.