Candice Gage on Why I’m Still Glad I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Early last week found me getting a check-up for the first time in more than a decade. With medical professionals in my family, I can too easily put off those preventative appointments. So, I sat in the olive-green vinyl chair, the sort that populate doctors’ offices across the country. I felt a bit sheepish, like I’d been getting away with something by not going to the doctor for so long. The nurse took my vitals. The doctor asked the routine questions. What medications am I on? None. Do I have any allergies? No. Am I sexually active? No. Have I ever been?

At 34, I don’t always know what response I will get when I describe my sexual history. This was my first time at the clinic, and I wondered what my doctor would think.

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I grew up in the ‘90s, when the purity movement was in full swing — especially within my homeschool subculture. I read When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. I meditated on Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity. And like most girls my age, I devoured I Kissed Dating Goodbye, the classic manifesto penned by a young, good-looking homeschool graduate named Joshua Harris.

Like so many other teens during that era, I gave my love life to God and vowed to save myself for marriage. I remained dedicated to the courtship method of dating into my early twenties, even when such conservatism became unpopular among my peers. Things got more complicated once I started putting my theories into practice. My views matured with experience — but my convictions regarding sexual purity have never changed.

Since its early proponents came of age, the purity culture we all created has received a heavy amount of criticism from within, and with good reason — it had its problems. Some odd traditions sprang up — purity rings, purity balls, courtship contracts. Young men and women took the whole thing so seriously that they struggled to even talk to one another. People — especially women — were shamed when mistakes were made. Despite our best efforts, so many of us have found ourselves with a string of broken relationships and no marriage to show for it.

And then, starting a couple years ago, our one-time poster boy Harris began rescinding his early teaching on Christian relationships. Last month, he consummated his new position by announcing his divorce and renouncing his faith. While we may all speculate about Harris’ motive for this massive shift in thinking, Dr. Albert Mohler suggested struggles with the Christian sexual ethic were a major factor in Harris’ decision to walk away from Christianity.

I didn’t really believe it when I first heard the news. I took a tour of Harris now infamous Instagram account and was stunned. Then I was sad, and angry, and confused. I offered prayers for both Harris and his family. And I thought about Harris’ legacy, the purity movement, and the way my own life has been affected.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Candice Gage

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