Jefferson City, Missouri, is a place where it's harder for a college-educated, twentysomething, professional, Christian man to find a date than it is to find a good coffeehouse or bookstore. For the last four years, I have lived in a very conservative Midwestern town of 35,000.As the couple begins to say their vows, a woman in the congregation stands up and walks toward the front of the church, silently taking the groom’s hand.Then another joins them, and another, and another, forming an ominous chain at the altar.Harris proposes a system of courtship that involves the parents of both parties to a greater degree than conventional dating schemes.In an interview with Family Christian Stores, Joshua Harris indicated that "people have taken the message of 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' and made it something legalistic -- a set of rules.Beginning in 1994, he began publishing , a magazine targeted at fellow homeschoolers, and one that quickly gained a substantial readership.He was now the second generation of Harris’s to make a mark in homeschool circles.
In his book, Harris encourages young Christians to look beyond our Western culture's dominant paradigm for developing serial intimate relationships (namely, the process of "dating") and instead commit to "purposeful singleness." Romantic relationships, he suggests, should exist only as a means to preparing for marriage—what's commonly called "courting." Harris avoids that quaint-sounding term in , but the idea is implicit in his promotion of relationships that emphasize long-term commitment and the supervision of the community of believers over and against traditional dating, which he feels emphasizes self-centered emotional and physical satisfaction.His parents were pioneers in the Christian homeschooling movement which was only in its infancy while Josh and his siblings were growing up.Gregg’s book was a foundational text for homeschoolers and a Christian Booksellers Association bestselling title in 1988.That's something that's beyond my control and it's disappointing at times...." On November 20, 2005 Harris gave a message to the church at which he is Senior Pastor, titled "Courtship, Schmourtship: What Really Matters in Relationships." In this message Harris acknowledged problems with how the singles related in his church.I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a 1997 book by Joshua Harris.