If you have been around Evangelical homeschool subculture for any length of time, you are probably aware of courtship and Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Harris was homeschooled through high school and immediately went into ministry with C.J. Mahaney, who has been implicated in a massive sex abuse cover-up in his church network, Sovereign Grace Ministries. Several years ago, Harris acknowledged he had been abused as a teen and stepped down from ministry to go to seminary and work some stuff out. He participated in a documentary about all the people who claim to have been harmed by his book and courtship culture, and he eventually apologized for it and asked his publisher to pull it from shelves.
This interview is a bit far afield from faith/science, but I’m posting it because some of his responses are so prototypical of someone who grows up in the strict homeschool environment and then eventually starts listening to people outside the bubble and actually wrestling with the Bible and conversing with people who come down in different places about what it means.
I do think though that, for me, in that change of interpretation of such a fundamental level when it comes to sexuality, it’s just hard for me to … In a way it’s almost easier for me to contemplate throwing out all of Christianity than it is to keeping Christianity and adapting it in these different ways.
I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think I’ve just been so indoctrinated in a certain way of interpreting scripture and viewing sexuality that it’s just hard for me to see the scriptures and its kind of overall, you know, commands and principles and so on and see how that can be consistent.
I feel like that echos things we hear here sometimes from people trying to come to terms with a new approach to Scripture.
He goes on to speak of his exhaustion in facing the inadequacies and harm of his prior system of belief and how he just can’t even take any more in at the moment. I think that is important for some of us to take note of this and remind ourselves that sometimes in these conversations with people who are watching their childhood paradigms come crashing down (for whatever reason, whether it is science, sexuality, parenting, mental health, whatever), it is sucking a lot of life just having the conversation. Everyone needs grace and space.