New Website Tackles Josh Harris’s “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” with Powerful Message

As a teen, Joshua Harris’ 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, played a fundamental role in shaping my perception toward dating, love, and romance. Today, several of my blogger friends have launched a website, titled Life After ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’, to highlight the stories of others whose relationships and life trajectories were fundamentally altered by Josh’s book. They are asking for submissions, including both posts on personal blogs, which they can link up, and original essays. If your life, too, was changed by I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I’d encourage you to consider participating!

Why now? Why a website of collected stories? The answer is simple! As my regular readers will know, several months ago Josh apologized on twitter to Elizabeth Esther, another blogger, for the harm his book caused her. Last month, he appeared on NPR, walking back his book in ways that were promising but not all the way there. The question I asked then was this: Has Josh actually changed his mind on any of the positions he laid out in his book? Or has Josh decided that bloggers like myself have so strongly turned the climate against his book that he needs to reclaim the narrative by repackaging his original teachings under the guise of reform?

I’m not the only one asking these questions. Here’s an intro from the Life After ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ website:

Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, is currently taking submissions from people who were affected by his book and his teachings on Christian “sexual purity.” However, in taking these submissions, he is asking for several things:

  • for the stories to be kept under 750 words
  • permission to share the stories anonymously online
  • volunteers to share their stories in a video format

While we think that actually taking the time to listen is a good start for Harris, many of us are deeply uncomfortable with his chosen format. By giving Harris permission to share these stories, they are being licensed to him for use in whatever way he sees fit—in whole in or in part, censored or uncensored, in service of whatever conclusions he comes to about the impact of his work.

But the reality is that the impact of his work is not his to decide.

This week, we’re inviting you to share your stories—uncut and uncensored. We want to curate these stories in the hopes of preventing more damage from being done and to provide an alternative narrative to the rigid and narrow thinking that IKDG and Harris’ other work espouses.

Click through to learn more about how you can participate, and to read the stories already submitted! I love the idea of reclaiming narratives and owning our stories in powerful ways. Our words—our voices—can make a difference.

Samantha Field has already posted her own story, and it does not make for easy reading. But then, true stories—the stories we own and guard—often don’t.

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