Let’s not condemn the pawns of the evangelical bubble

I don’t know Joshua Harris and I haven’t read his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, so I really don’t have anything to add to the discussion about his recent decision to end his marriage and abandon his faith.

I can only guess how painful the journey must have been for him to move from being the poster boy for evangelical purity culture to a divorced unbeliever.

I feel for him. And for his wife and family.

It’s too easy to heap scorn on him as a “backslider” or an apostate. Like a whole generation of teens, he was swept up into the all-consuming world of conservative evangelicalism. They were “on fire”. They were “Jesus Freaks.” They were immersed in the world of youth conferences and Amy Grant and True Love Waits.

It was intoxicating.

And Joshua Harris drank the Kool Aid. More than that, at 21, he wrote the handbook on purity culture.

I’d heard he’d disowned the book a while ago, asking for forgiveness for what he wrote and how it had messed with so many kids’ lives.

Then came his recent revelation that his own marriage had ended.

Then came yet another disclosure that he’d lost his faith altogether.

Like I said, I don’t know him. I can’t reflect on his journey specifically. But he’s not the only one who’s gone down this road. He’s not the only one who became so utterly consumed by evangelical youth culture that he found himself completely unprepared for life in the real world.

In her astonishing book, When We Were On Fire, Addie Zierman describes that world in all its cringeworthy glory:

“You were born into a world within a world. Evangelicalism. It is spinning on its own axis, powered by its own sun—the radiance of God’s glory bright above you.”

 

She goes on to depict the strange, us-versus-them Christian subculture of the 1990s, where your worth was measured by how many WWJD bracelets you wore and whether you had kissed dating goodbye and how much Christian music you listened to.

She writes,

“And, remember, you were born into this. You asked Jesus into your heart, and you belonged to the Church People who had known you forever, who loved you like their own… From there, Jesus became your thing, your own kind of extracurricular activity. You’d found your safe place, and you stayed there, burrowing deeper and deeper into it. You had God. You had Jesus the way other kids had soccer or drama or choir. You had youth group pizza parties and bike trips and weekend retreats…. It felt so big to you, that fire in your heart. It filled your body, gave you buoyancy and belonging, a sense of purpose… At fourteen, we believed in these things. Bigness. Numbers. Revival. We wanted a hundred people, a thousand people, a million different voices all saying the same thing… We wanted everything.”

Wow.

I remember watching Rachel Grady’s and Heidi Ewing’s documentary, Jesus Camp, about evangelical summer camps, where children are taught that they have prophetic gifts and are trained to “take back America for Christ” by laying hands on a life-sized cutout of the then-president George W. Bush. In another scene they are given plastic models of fetuses to pray over. Some of them become traumatized by the experience, weeping uncontrollably.

If you grew up in that world – of homeschooling, creationism, proselytizing strangers at malls, begging for God’s forgiveness at summer camps – and then you graduated into 1990’s evangelical youth culture, it was all just too intense. You were literally submerged into it.

 

In her book, Zierman chronicles what is was like to be on fire for God, until she wasn’t.

The flame dwindled and then it burned out.

She had thrown herself — unprepared and angry — into marriage, so when she dropped out of church, sailing off on a sea of tequila and depression, her marriage nearly floated off as well.

Joshua Harris writes of his experience, “The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction’, the biblical phrase is ‘falling away’. By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practise faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.”

Similarly, Addie Zierman isn’t sure if she’ll ever go back either.

Some evangelical commentators have been pretty harsh on Harris’ very public disclosures about his loss of faith and his apology to the LGBTQ+ community for his previous stance against same-sex marriage.

But is it possible for evangelicals to take a look at the kind of church culture that is spitting out these disillusioned adults?

 

It’s like evangelical churches are raising kids and teens in an alternate universe, making them fit for that world alone, offering them no preparation for life in the messy, gray, complex world in which they will live as adults. And then condemning them when they fail to retain their faith as adults.

Are we raising church kids a bit like tropical fish who need the water temperature to be perfectly moderate, and the pH levels balanced, and the tank kept pristine, and regular feeding? When they graduate from youth ministries and summer camps and make their way in the world, it’s like they’ve been removed from the aquarium and dumped in an ocean. And despite what you saw in Finding Nemo, aquarium fish don’t survive in the ocean. They die. Quickly.

Let’s stop condemning the pawns of the evangelical bubble. In the Joshua Harris case, it’s futile. Harris has left the church. He doesn’t care what you think.

Maybe, we need to turn our attention back to our own church culture to ask the really difficult questions about how to disciple children and teenagers to develop a strong, robust faith with enough flex to cope with the complex moral world into which they will one day swim.

 

 

 

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48 thoughts on “Let’s not condemn the pawns of the evangelical bubble

  1. I’m watching my children rejecting these values, and reflect that I, too, am changing. They still profess a faith, but it looks quite different – and I confess, I’m afraid of mine looking different, but there it is. Will my church support a leader whose life looks different from what we’ve always been taught? I’d really like to support my (adult) children – and young people in my church – in exploring what their personal faith looks like – I guess the work needs to start in me!
    I’d like to continue this conversation with others working their way through.

    1. From someone who hurts that my parents cannot say this, I thank you. Seek, and you will find—may it come to you with joy.

  2. Mike, I endorse your critique of the evangelical bubble. But the alternative can’t be a pretty much wholesale adoption of tge values and norms which prevail in the ocean. That too is a failure of discipleship.

    1. The root of the problem lies in your assumption that those are the only two options.

      1. There’s a risk of that being what people take away from your post when you essentially critique a church culture that promoted abstinence before marriage, a traditional view of marriage, and the idea of national revival. I’m guessing you affirm each of those ideals, but one wouldn’t know it from the post. I think these days it’s tempting for us to avoid painting our colours to the mast on these issues in a discussion like this. In the long run, it makes it even harder to defend those values when no one of any profile affirms them. Not saying u don’t generally, but had you done it here, your critique of the evangelical bubble would have been more nuanced.

        1. I was explicit about critiquing American evangelical purity culture. If you’re not familiar with that sub-culture I encourage you to do some research.

          1. I was at Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Seminary in the early 90’s. You might badge them as fundamentalist. They certainly embraced abstinence b4 marriage, traditional marriage and revivals. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was they did not love people who were gay, viewed America as Israel, cared mainly about souls and heaven at the expence of bodies & the here and now, some were legalistic etc etc. In this blog u are quoting people whose main critique of the purity culture is its views on no sex b4 marriage, ssm, conversionism, and yes, correctly, the W Bush thing. Given we all affirm those same views except the last, the critique should distinguish btween the 2 areas is all I’m trying to say. I truly value your work.

    2. Your cynicism of evangelicalism taints your observations. Saying Harris “drank the cool aide” says a lot. You really believe because young christians went to Amy Grant concerts, made purity pledges, and were “on fire” for Jesus is “drinking cool aide”? Sure there3 will be a percentage of people in any movement that will struggle and some fall away. Don’t blame the high standards or biblical convictions for that. Blame sin and human nature. Imagine people like you criticizing Jesus because of his “go and sin no more” attitude and “get thee behind me Satan” statements that were offensive to many. And his high standards that cause many to fall away and stop following Jesus. And how about Jesus purposely offending the religious leaders of his day? One of his inner 12 fell away and committed suicide. I guess they were “drinking the cool aide” Jesus was serving because so many fell away?

      1. For a start, it’s spelled Kool Aid. And secondly, you’ve taken the least generous reading of this article that you possibly could. I was critiquing a certain type of evangelical experience, as described by Addie Zierman, and attested to by the literally hundreds of people who’ve commented or written to me to say they experienced it as she described. To equate my comments about that particular sub-culture as a condemnation of Jesus’ teaching or the values of the kingdom, is not only ungenerous, it is disingenuous.

        1. Mike, have look at tjis article. Be interested in your thoughts and response:

          https://www.abc.net.au/religion/joshua-harris-and-the-cruel-optimism-of-christian-purity-culture/11369762

          For the record, I have a pretty serious problem with the view that that abstinence before marriage (to take the first point referred to) is not livable or realistic and therefore effectively an oppressive ideal imposed on people by the purity culture. But as I say, I’d be interested in your thoughts on that and the article if you get a moment to read it.

          1. If I understand you correctly, you share the author’s anxiety that if we abandon evangelical purity culture we open the door to promiscuity. But purity culture (rightly defined in this article) isn’t just about chasteness. It puts the primary responsibility for maintaining pre-marital virginity on teenaged girls, not boys. And it heaps shame on those who fail to fulfill that ideal. And yet we don’t do this in any other area of sinful behavior, do we? We don’t insist that teenagers remain devotedly committed to practicing hospitality or feeding the hungry or peacemaking or not coveting (all clear biblical instructions). And we don’t imply that all is lost if they don’t do these things. We teach teenagers it’s good and proper and godly to feed the poor, but it’s not a deal-breaker if you can’t. We don’t expect kids to get everything perfectly right.
            Except when it comes to sex. Then we have a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy. When you abandon purity culture, you are still able to teach that God has set standards and given us laws for our own benefit and his glory, but you are gracious and understanding with teens that learning to embrace those standards takes time, devotion, and maturity. The options aren’t simply EITHER (a) purity culture, OR (b) promiscuity. We raise kids in the faith, knowing they will stumble and fail, and get up, and keep going. Learning to be generous and peaceable takes time, so does learning to be chaste.

          2. Appreciate your response Mike, and totally agree. My concern was the article might not come across like that to outsiders, I must confess it didn’t come across like that at first instance to me, but I have interacted with Rosie on the With All Due Respect fb group and she confirmed along similar lines. I just see the wider audience/non-Christian readers taking both your articles as a critique of ‘traditional’ sexual ethics and missing the narrower critique of the purity sub-culture. I mean if u had included tge above in your article i think that would have been very valuable to both church an non-church people.

          3. I’ve been inundated by literally thousands of people appreciating this blog and clearly understanding it. If you and someone called Rosie read it too quickly or brought your own biases or anxieties to it, I can’t help that, brother.

          4. All good Mike, but the nuance or distinction I was driving at is addressed olin this Eternity article. I get though that your audience may have understood where you were coming from.

            https://eternity.news/s/me9k0

          5. When I became sexually active, later in my twenties, unmarried, yet still a Christian, I was astonished that I was able to be discerning and discriminate about who I had sex with. Truely, I was utterly surprised. For some reason, I thought that if I abandoned celibacy I would automatically become promiscuous with zero control over my body or desires. And yet, I couldn’t remember having ever been told so explicitly (kinda in the way you have above) that my options were so binary. Purity or promiscuity. But I had swallowed that message hook, line and sinker. And that’s so messed up for so many reasons I don’t have the time or energy to express.

          6. Ash, appreciate your comments and thanks for sharing about your life. You make a great point re my binary approach, but to clarify I wasn’t assuming tge alt was promiscuity, but rather just the idea that a relationship didn’t necessarily have to be aimed at being lifelong. I guess my query would be this: are you saying the idea of entering a relationship which contemplated a lifelong partnership would have been too asphixiating?

        2. I took your words for what they meant. I do not have time nor desire to be disingenuous as you accused me of. Not generous you say? How generous were you with your observations and comments of the evangelical movement you described? You broad brushed millions of people and disparaged their experience which was and is legitimate. You gave no balanced view on evangelicalism.

          1. Well, I’m sorry, but I think you’re wrong.

          2. As someone who came from the very culture Mike outlined, he was spot on. And I’m part of several groups who have since deconstructed just like Joshua Harris has. It was exactly that way for millions of us, no maligning necessary. There is room for more than one interpretation of life in general, if one is willing to see that.

      2. Good response. Could someone please describe what the alternative to the purity culture should look like.

        1. As I say above, I think we should teach people to obey scriptural injunctions, but do so in light of the grace and freedom we have in Christ. That would include teaching sexual ethics the same we we teach them to practice hospitality or feed the hungry or be a peacemaker, etc. — that is, as central to a Christian understanding of human flourishing, and not to imply that all is lost if young people or new Christians fail to fulfil these things. As I say above, we can still teach that God has set standards and given us laws for our own benefit and his glory, but we must be gracious and understanding with teens that learning to embrace those standards takes time, devotion, and maturity.

          1. Absolutely love the way you have put these words & thoughts together, Michael. So helpful – thank you.

  3. Having grown up in that bubble, I, too, walked away from my faith and the church. I have tried so desperately to raise my children to think for themselves, to own their own opinions, including their own faith. They have gone through difficult times, scary times for me as a parent, but by asking the tough questions and seeing faith walked out in love to them and their friends, they have journeyed to the Lord. Their journeys look much different than the typical “church kids,” but their love and passion for God and others is very real!

  4. How do we disciple our young people to have a robust strong faith so that they can effectively live in our world with all its confusing values and challenges?

    1. Walk with them.
      Go deep with a few, rather than shallow with many.
      Stop focusing on the so called line between us and the world and start focusing on depositing the Kingdom deep in the hearts of those you disciple.

  5. Great reflections and questions mate. Its for a lot of these reasons that I’ve always been extremely grateful that I came to faith at the same time as attending a fairly rough public high school. My developing and growing faith, and my experiences of the church, had to constantly bang into the real world 5 days a week. It might be controversial to say, but its for that reason that I’ve always thought that the church has largely shot itself (and its young people) in the foot through the extensive development of Christian private schooling over the last 30+ years, yet another bubble to live in…

    1. I am freshly navigating this dilemma right now. We have just pulled our kids out of public schooling & put them in a great local Christian school – they needed greater pastoral care & I was no longer confident of their large state high school’s ability to take care of their well-being. I am very happy that we have moved them, for lots of reasons.

      BUT, I am concerned about their lack of exposure to “real world” situations in their new-found Christian bubble. Further, when they learn things at school through a biblical worldview, my question is… which one?

      We step forward very happy with our decision, but with some nervousness. I am keen to have a lot more conversation with them about their worldview (which should have always been the case, but it is especially heightened now that we are re-entering the bubble).

  6. Praying for Josh Harris, his wife and family, that whatever pain, heartache, soul searching they are going through, and whatever lies ahead for all of them, that God through the Love, Grace and Compassion of others; will make Something Beautiful Something Good out of the messiness of life…

  7. Growing up in decision based evangelicalism and the a fundamentalist church. I came to the conclusion when I was forty that I wasn’t saved. I had prayed a prayer, but I felt no deep conviction I was a sinner. I followed the rules and conformed. Eventually going to Bible School and the a four year theology degree, then ordination into a strict fundamentalist church. I knew I was trapped but it was my life, my work, my family depended on it to live. However over the years times were tough. My marriage was filled with problems. One of the. Hurches I was in broke me and I collapsed under the pressure and ended up suicidal and depressed for three years. Spending six months in a psychiatric ward took its toll, yet I tried to convince myself I was a believer. Walking away from a failed marriage I chose to be myself. I rejected Christ, turned to homosexuality, promiscuity and immorality. I believed I’d arrived. There was no judgemental people judging me. I lived like this for about twelve years but out of the blue God brought me under a deep conviction about my sin and for first time I realised my sinfulness. I began to fight the work of the Holy Spirit because I had rejected God. God hadn’t rejected me. The Spirit kept on working, eventually I truly called on the name of the Lord and I was truly converted. I have been enabled to leave my immoral life of homosexuality and I am living for Jesus. What a difference it makes when the Holy Spirit does the convicting and not some evangelist pressurising you to pray a prayer. Sadly to many are deluded into believing that the repetition of a prayer saved then. Only the Spirit of God can bring real sorrow over your sin against a holy God. Let pray Joshua Harris whose book I have read will find the Holy Spirit working in his heart. We may think God can just be dispensed of, I did but God is greater than us. Today I am back in God’s family seeking to walk with God and so grateful that He didn’t reject me.

    1. Beautiful testimony…May you go from strength to strength as you have a
      “Love Affair” with God and enjoy your new found Relationship With Him!

      1. I disagree wholeheartedly. I grew up during the 70’s, the 80’s in a very strict Christian community. These lovely folks were a little unprepared for real life…parents, that’s on you…but NOW they are drinking the Koolaid. God doesn’t change, we do, and just because life doesn’t fit how they thought…well…grow up!! Do you think that Jeremiah wanted to quit? Yes, but he didn’t. Was Hosea thrilled about his wife? Um….no. did Jesus suffer a little, so you think? The problem is in the hearts of the people…pride, lack of true faith in a wonderful, Sovereign God…stop looking around you and look up!

        1. And one last thing…you blamed a church culture for trying to outfit a generation of believers…maybe not in the right way, but trying. Blame the Enemy, who is taking our churches apart one pastor at a time. Recognize the real problem and pray for our spiritual leaders, because they are being led astray. We’re in a war, folks, and we need to rise up and fight.

    2. Would you please pray for my daughter is going through exactly what you just said . We are believing God she is coming home , Thank you so much for your story !!!

      1. I’ll pray.

    3. Halleluya!!! Thank you for sharing
      Your story! The testimony of a person transformed by the power of God, cannot be argued or denied! When a person has an encounter with Christ, that person can never be the same again. I know Christ came into my life when I was 15 years old. I remember the date, the time, the place. No one can take that away from me!! God is real. We pray for Mr. Harris that the Lord will reveal himself to him, like he has done with so many around the world!
      Ephesians 3:20-21. He can do anything, even better that can ask for or imagine!

  8. Spot-on article here. When I left evangelical faith after 30+ years (about half of them working in Christian publishing and filmmaking), it was like walking into a completely new world. I could now go to Disney guilt-free (despite their support of the LGBTQIA+ community) and that’s just one little example of how things changed. My parenting, friendships, consumption – it all changed. Suddenly, I was responsible for making good choices for myself, not just to stay in line with what the SBC expected from “good, God-fearing, Bible-based” Christians. I began researching where and how the products I purchased were made. I became familiar with terms like “fair trade” and “non-GMO” and “sustainable” in an effort to make life-affirming, wholesome choices. Like another commenter here, I significantly ramped up my parenting efforts to raise children who could think critically for themselves and be kind toward all around them. It became more important to be kind and loving than to be right and Bible-based. Thankfully, others who are farther along in this walk came alongside me to share what they’ve learned and tried.

    I am grateful to have a husband who walked out with me. Many marriages, perhaps like Josh Harris’s, don’t survive such a massive faith shift. It’s HARD. My husband and I have stayed in step with each other solely due to grace, patience, and probably luck.

    We’ve begun morphing the personal blog where I announced I was leaving evangelical faith into a resource site for post-evangelicals who still want to live a true, good life. You can see it at https://freevangelic.com.

    1. Rebecca,
      I have a question, are you and your husband still Christians, followers of Christ? Waking away from Evangelicalism, did that mean walking away from Jesus?

    2. Just remember, Jesus didn’t like rulesy religious people either. He called them white-washed walls (which culturally meant “nice on the outside but full of refuse on the inside”). He came to restore our relationship with our creator by covering over our sins with his very life! So while we should rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us, we don’t have to live in fear of keeping all the rules, because the law was fulfilled in Christ! Our debts are paid and now we are free to love God & love people!

  9. The problem with most of the evangelical culture, and yes I was a part of it and raised two great kids in it for many years, is that it forgot what Christ gave us. He died so the Holy Spirit could indwell us and form his understanding in our minds. He didn’t tell us to create a huge religious culture where acceptance is up to the crowd’s ideas of “good” behavior. He said we should love others as if they were us. He said we should listen to and obey God, not the pharisaical (adjective – of or relating to the Pharisees. Practicing or advocating the strict observance of external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to the spirit; self-righteous; hypocritical) leaders of religion. He gave us a personal, internal, spiritual teacher so that we may become one with other people. I believe Harris abandoned the religion but found his Christian heart. His humility, compassion, and contrition speak volumes about a re-birth through faith. Evangelicals, much like Mormons, want to set themselves above, when Christ tells us to go to the wedding feast and sit furthest away. Christ sat with, ate with, listened to, healed, and served society’s lowest of the low, while many evangelicals shun, reject, and attack today’s marginalized people.

    Today’s youth can only be empowered to survive in the ocean if they are acquainted with, accepting of, aware of, interested in, and trusting of… the Holy Spirit. Church doctrine does not teach to the individualized experience of following God’s personalized lesson from the ever-present, omniscient Tutor. Thus equipped, the child has a chance to walk as a sheep amongst wolves and not only survive, but to also lead.

    1. “I believe Harris abandoned the religion but found his Christian heart. His humility, compassion, and contrition speak volumes about a re-birth through faith.” Absolutely!

  10. I would have to say — growing up in this bubble, having the bubble pop and having to find my way back to a meaningful faith after I inevitably failed at being a perfect Christian — the main problem with how evangelicals parent and raise children as a church is that it’s full of lies and half-truths! The image of being perfect is more important than the reality that no one is – and that’s why Jesus came! We don’t stop needing Jesus because we’re saved! We need him all the more! And all the well-intentioned “protections” to “shelter innocence” or “model good behaviors” by masking everyone’s imperfections, just leaves young people feeling empty and not good enough when they can’t live up to the facade. And when you lie to your kids about your own mistakes or about what the world is really like, you not only fail to expose them to the infinite love and grace if God, but you also fail to equip them with the tools they need to stand firm on the foundation of their faith, because what you have built under them is hollow…
    we all need to know God can handle our failings, doubts, and pain. We don’t have to hide things in shame from God – like things were hidden from us… God can handle it. We can’t offend him with our honesty (like you can in the church) God is truth! And the most beautiful thing about that realization is being able to place our imperfections and disappointments at God’s feet, knowing that we serve a God who is in the business of resurrection! And even when opportunities/relationships/situations/callings/hopes/dreams seem dead & crushed into dust — God can still make something beautiful!

    1. I think that’s brilliant Kate! And it’s where I think the critique of the evangelical bubble is best aimed at, rather than evangelicalisms views on relationships before marriage, ssm, revivalism, creationism etc.

    2. What a beautiful, insightful and encouraging response to this post. Thank you.

    3. Yes spot on kate.

  11. My growth as a young Christian was in the context of a family with an alcoholic anti-religious father, attending a government high school, and being a student studying social work at university. None of these situations allowed for easy answers or living in a bubble. Most of our church youth group came from non-church homes. Our solidarity and encouragement of each other was part of navigating life in the ‘real’ world. In my time in our Bible-based church it was the young people from church families who often seemed to struggle. Looking back, I don’t think we were particularly helpful to them at times as we unconsciously regarded them as having it easy compared to those of us being denigrated in our homes for our faith. It took until I was in my mid-30s for my father to finally concede that becoming a Christian was not just a ‘phase’ I would grow out of if he argued with me enough. I learnt early in my faith journey how to think through my own values and live and work immersed in a multi-faith or non-religious community. Iron sharpens iron.

    Now I’m an ‘almost/on the verge of’ senior, I aim to remain one of those who keep challenging the easy answers and encouraging younger generations to navigate their own faith struggles in the world. Faith must be honest if it is to be anything. It is not a comfortable bubble.

  12. Mike, I was so glad to read your post. I agree with you 100% and have been so disappointed at how Christian leaders have publicly rebuked Josh with such strong and angry words. A few hours ago, I posted Elle’s personal story. She was at his church and has a similar response. Thanks for showing compassion.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2019/07/30/sgm-survivor-speaks-out-about-josh-harris/

  13. I like your perspective here Mike — in trying to form a response and get a conversation going re: Evangelical’s 50 year run at responding to culture.

    Clearly Harris is a product of the Bible Bubble culture and his community in East Portland is known as a stronghold of Evangelicals, surrounded by the culture of Portland. I don’t think I have to explain Portland, Oregon to anyone . . . anymore. Both Evangelicals and the church in general have had a hard and difficult time trying to respond to the Portland question. Portland is North America’s Dark Pit. Church people here have been trying to counter Portland since the 1970s.

    I applaud Harris — as you would I think, in trying to take an action in living out the Christian Life as best as he understood it from his Christian culture upbringing. Right or off base, it’s an action in response to the Gospel that Harris leads out on. Ultimately a fail by Harris, but I think it was an amazing effort by Harris.

    I was a Bible Theology student in Portland (Multnomah) at the time Josh Harris penned his book. I grew up in Portland not far from Joshua Harris. We know the same people. Attended the same events.

    Harris pulled his moves and grabbed the stage microphone for all the world (and Focus on the Family) to see when we were still working on the Jim and Elizabeth Elliott method the last 30 years. He was in high school at the time. My Bible College classmates were his Youth Pastors. We were not big on his breakout book I can assure you. We talked about how Harris was no Jim Elliot and we all agreed it was a strange approach to the Purity question. Fast forward to 1993-1998 Promise Keepers Core Values and Mantra, it was pretty much the same as 1990s Joshua Harris. Laying down a “Fear Based” approach to women of worldly cultures and any other women out there including Christian women.

    I think Harris’s failure and walk away is probably where most if not all would have ended up if we would have traveled down the same paths and insulating ourselves from what Jesus was actually about in the world.

    I was raised 7th Day Adventist till age 12. I’m 56 now. Ive been pulling back from the Evangelical train for 25 years now. About the same amount of time as my high school friend Hugh Halter. Growing up Christian Culture Boy or Girl in Portland offers you amazing chances to actually try and get the Gospel right in this world. I love Portland and the stories that come from here. I love raising my son here. Raising a child outside the Bubble is not hard or easy. It’s just life.

    I’m excited for Josh Harris. Jesus will use all of it for the Kingdom and Josh, I believe will have a good front row seat to see Jesus do His thing in this world with the Josh Harris Story.

  14. We are desperate to no longer be constrained by traditions and trends but to have our understanding of evangelical culture transformed by the Spirit’s renewing of our minds, so that our lives, our families, our congregations, our institutions and our missions communicate the Gospel of God as good, pleasing and perfectly designed for the believer (see Romans 12:2).

    Time to #ReimagineCHURCH which calls us to #ReimaginePRAYER so we discern the (probably) surprising leading of the Lord that will give us direction to #ReimagineDISCIPLESHIP in the 21st century.

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