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As for everything short of intercourse, I spent hours with my youth-group friends applying Talmudic analysis to the question “How far is too far?

” It was an excuse to talk about sex and imagine we were really talking about God.

It inspired both praise—from the likes of purity matriarch Elisabeth Elliot and Focus on the Family—and book-length rebuttals.

Harris was already a popular speaker at conferences for Christian home-schoolers and had started his own magazine, but the book’s influence quickly outpaced its modest built-in audience—it has sold more than 1.2 million copies to date. You weren’t just not having sex, you were adopting “a revolutionary pattern of living” that would make you both a better Christian and, someday, a better spouse.

Over the years he wrote more books about dating and marriage, including , he is the father of three kids—two of them teenagers—and he is pursuing formal education for the first time in his life.

And these days, he’s having very mixed feelings about the book that turned him into a Christian celebrity.

Aimed at teens and twentysomethings, the book discouraged teen relationships and proposed that courtship, in which a couple moves purposefully toward marriage with their parents’ blessing and involvement, was a superior model to dating..” “The idea that is so insidious in IKDG is the idea that our bodies are our power—that as a woman the best gift you can give to a man is your virginity,” writer Lyz Lenz lamented.Last month the hashtag #Kiss Shame Bye became another place for people to share their stories about how the book affected them: Even some readers who have remained firmly rooted in the evangelical community have come to be critical of Harris’ approach.“It’s like, well, crap, is the biggest thing I’ve done in my life this really huge mistake? Last month he gave an interview to NPR in which he said he is re-evaluating the book’s impact, and he has been responding to critics on Twitter and having phone conversations with some of them, too.A few months ago, he started soliciting messages on his website from readers about how the books affected them.“Part of the reason this has been so hard for me is that I have so much of my identity tied up in these books.It’s what I’m known for,” Harris told me recently from Vancouver, British Columbia, where he moved his family last year to enroll in a graduate program at evangelical Regent College.And it argued that any kind of physical intimacy before marriage was a violation of the sacredness of married sexuality, and could lead to lifelong regret.became a phenomenon in conservative Christian circles. A bride is walking down the aisle toward her beloved on their wedding day.Stained glass, string quartet: Everything is perfect.

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