More than 20 years ago, Josh Harris wrote the best-selling Christian dating book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Though the popularity of the book has waned in recent years, it changed the culture of Christian relationships for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. We are still feeling the effects of the book—and its culture—today.
I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye (IKDG) in high school. I actually found it helpful, though I liked Harris’ second book—Boy Meets Girl—much more. But the book had implications on Christian culture, and many Christian homes and churches, that caused others to have more negative experiences than mine. For some, IKDG was a penalty and a prison, not an open door to more positive relationships with the opposite sex.
Since the writing of his book, Harris has changed his stance. In his brand-new documentary, I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Harris travels the North American continent interviewing people who were impacted by his book—for good or for ill. Men and women who read it in their teens share how the book changed the course of their relationships, how it affected their marriages and what they would change if the book—and their lives—were rewritten.
The documentary raises a lot of questions: whether the purity movement achieved its aim, whether it created more problems than solutions and where to go from here. Harris shows incredible humility in opening up the floor for a conversation, even with his critics. He also takes time to interview experts on Christianity, theology, marriage and relationships, all of whom contribute fascinating insight to this much-needed conversation.
Josh produced the documentary in league with Jessica Van der Wyngaard. According to Harris’ public relations team, “Jessica is a single in her early 30s who once was an IKDG devotee, but wrestled with much of its impact on herself and fellow Christians, whom she heard voicing many similar frustrations.” As a result of Harris’ journey in the film, he and his publisher have decided to halt the publishing of I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
The documentary launched online (via Vimeo) on Tuesday, November 20, and is available via free streaming online! This would be great for small groups, Bible studies and youth groups to watch together and discuss: Is how we’ve talked about sex, purity and relationships in the church really reflective of God’s heart for these things? How can we change the conversation?
Learn more about the documentary on its website. You can be emailed the free streamed version of the documentary by signing up at Exploration Films. (If you do not receive the link, wait a few minutes and check your spam folder.)