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.
Harris's book struck a chord with an entire generation of young believers.
The US church was afraid of sex and sin, and so we became afraid too. Even in the black churches that I attended, this book was widely read.
In hindsight, it’s a bit scary that a white evangelical had that much sway over people whose bodies are already policed by white ideas.
Here was this young guy, only 21, preaching chastity, virtue and not kissing until you got married.
It was a supremely conservative message packaged with youthful fervor and a fedora.
And that’s so much bigger than sex; there’s a critical portion of a healthy life that I have to strain to reach that was damaged in the name of God.
I actually didn’t read the book until a couple years ago.
But beside my non-existent teen love life, the book had a larger impact that as an adult, I’m only now coming to grips with—damaging expectations of myself, men, and sexuality—beliefs that have cost me love, friendship, and given me a life of shame.
(IKDG) about four years later near the end of middle school.
The teaching in Harris’ book is much like what I encountered in white and black churches.