And though I assume St. Before I get too far, understand that Joshua Harris is a man who did believe, and who now still believes, many people will — quite literally — burn forever in eternity after they die.
He believes a Jewish man who lived during the Iron Age was tortured on a cross for all the things Harris himself, and everyone else on Earth, would do wrong in their life. For a time, I had similar ideas. In the sake of transparency, I supply that truth. Not that long ago Rebecca St. James was, as far as the public knew, a virgin. Only in did she get married. And if we take her at her word she waited 15 years after she wrote that forward and 10 years after Harris got married, up until the day of her wedding at the age of 34, to not be.
Read her Wikipedia page and learn she was, according to her, abstinent that entire time. James was steadfast, committed to promoting Kissed through her 20s, even into her 30s, as she must have watched one after another of her Christian friends get married.
And I can understand why she believed, or said she believed those things. Doing so made gave her a comfortable life. To this day St. James speaks at conferences on abstinence.
She writes books about waiting for The One. Many of her songs have the same message. James writing the foreword to Kissed. At the end of her teens, on her tour bus, maybe going somewhere like Casper, Wyoming, her room is filled with pictures of home in Australia and her family, maybe a poster of Leo in Titanic.
Quiet, she has her journal open. Her family in another country, save for perhaps her mom, she writes in her foreword about wanting to be normal, with a boyfriend.
She writes as Harris would as someone who believes in the partner God will bring each person if they just believe. She also writes, and I assumed believed, a boyfriend would be a distraction, agreeing with Harris that waiting on God is the way to happiness.
Then she puts down the most revelatory portion of the foreword, a single paragraph, hidden in the middle. James was eventually given her partner from God. What if all you ever dreamed about was finding a husband or wife? All you ever did was pray for him and all you did you ever did was live your life as best you could to make it happen but you never found him?
Correction, God never found him? Worse, what if you found him and he, by instruction from God, told you to look elsewhere? I should surrender more thoroughly now.
He and I were similar then. When people we knew talked about sex our hair stood on edge, but we dreamed of a wife. And not just any wife, a superhuman wife.
Her physical dimensions, I could continue to list, since most of her acceptability hinged on her appearance. She would have to be hot and a strong Christian, or, at least, the former. So then, on the question raised in the first paragraph, on why Harris wrote Kissed, let me offer that nearly all people misinterpret the book. The first camp thinks of it as being if they ever thought of the book at all full of irrelevant, prehistoric thinking. Then the other camp of Kissed readers, the people who thought, you might still think, Kissed is a book of God-breathed principles, admonishments for young non-married Christians to take to heart and incorporate into their lives, a guidebook they can use to avoid getting pregnant before finding a scripture-memorizing spirit-led man.
I contend, instead, the book was written for a more simple reason. The premise is simple. This book was his way of catharsis, to help Christians avoid the mistakes he made. Harris wanted his readers to kiss goodbye to dating — or money, or cars — whatever was most detracting from their relationship with Christ.
Specifically, dating before marriage with another Christian. And while the main thesis of the book is basic — the title alone gives it away — its pages contain a litany of extenuating branches, or, if I may, a messy tube of psychosexual toothpaste which Harris can never put back in the tube. If you live by one rule it sets forth you live by this rule: In Kissed, and by extension, the Purity Movement, physical intimacy before marriage destroys the relationship.
A tickling match ensues after Heidi playfully makes fun of Dave, which leads to a kiss. But, for Dave and Heidi, the physical representation of their affection adds confusion. It mistakes being physical for love. And that might be true if your view of dating is one of a child. As a child, dating is a foreign idea.
Your world is insular. It can be confusing to five-year-olds, and Joshua Harris, who did not understand that at the time of writing this book. Which is fine enough, he was very young. In Kissed Harris gives a kind of Tootsie Pop analogy to describe the dilemma of being attracted to the opposite sex — and only the opposite sex — before marriage. The town, camped in between the Cheyenne mountains, is referred to as the evangelical Vatican, laying claim to the headquarters for Young Life, The Navigators, and Focus on The Family.
To meet and fall in love as a young Christian there is akin to meeting and falling in love as a young painter in Paris, a young writer in St. We shared other common interests like tennis and the piano. We had little reason to continue our friendship from a distance.
We had no basis for continuing the relationship except for the fact that we were interested in each other. By that logic, anything outside of marriage between a man and woman cannot be done without sinning and, as it is known, sinning leads us down a path where we will, not to mince words here, burn eternally.
One particular gathering at a camp in the woods outside Sioux Falls the leader asked us in the group to confess our secret sexual downfalls. After a few moments of skeletal silence a friend of mine from my college spoke up about his addiction.
Harris tells a similar story to preface his chapter on purity, though, embarrassingly, he was in high school at his weekend retreat. In the world of Kissed, this is considered normal.
Bizarre or not, once freed yourself of any physical stumbling blocks, one can be ready to give their whole heart to God. Go ahead and Google them. Okay, those seven habits came to be with a story Harris was told and wrote about in Kissed. Years later, the pastor told the story of Eric and Jenny to his own youth group, how those two came back to the church for a high school reunion. And just from those two sentences, the fact that there was once a couple that had sex and later broke up is enough that when the youth group hears it, they go silent.
Turns out, Jesus is the same room. This a very long drawer, because Harris is a person, and each one of those cards is an affront to God. Each one Jesus covers up and Harris breaks down in tears as Jesus comforts him and the dream ends. Where does the guilt come from in the first place? In the Harris model, even daydreaming can send you to hell. Another heart disease is self-pity.
Feeling bad about yourself is not what God wants.