The Corner


If You’re Not Old Enough to Rent a Car, I Don’t Think You’ve Solved the Mysteries of Life


Over on the homepage, David French writes with great sensitivity, grace, and understanding about influential Evangelical author and pastor Joshua Harris, who recently renounced his past work and announced he no longer considers himself a Christian.

Read on if you greet this news with a little less sensitivity, grace, and understanding than David does.

Let me get this straight: In 1997, at age 21, Harris wrote a book contending that he had made a great discovery about romantic relationships: Dating should be avoided because it was harmful to future marriages. He wrote this before he got married, the following year.

A few years ago, he backtracked from the book’s anti-dating stance and now he’s revealing, whoopsie, he doesn’t know how to make a relationship work, that he’s separating from his wife, that be believes his past teachings contributed to bigotry against the LGBT community, and oh, by the way, he doesn’t consider himself a Christian anymore? Come on, even Emily Litella would say you can’t just wave away all of this with a “never mind.”

Can the book-buyers get a refund?

And as mad as some folks might be at Harris, could we spare a little irritation for everyone who genuinely believed an unmarried 21-year-old had cracked the code on how to find love and maintain a healthy marriage? If you want to learn skydiving, don’t you want a teacher who’s at least jumped out of a plane before? (I’m not saying Pre-Cana was an endless thrill ride, but at least we had some old married couples bickering in front of us to let us know what awaited us down the road.)

Newsflash: A lot of 21-year-olds think they have all the answers. Very few do. At 21, I too was convinced I had all the answers, but thankfully, I kept running into bosses, editors, co-workers, my parents, friends, and the girlfriend who ended up becoming my wife reminding me I didn’t have all the answers. You know what cures you of the hubris of your twenties? Your thirties.

Am I the only one reminded of all the other times people have gotten swept up in enthusiasm for an unbelievably young voice, convinced they had discovered some prodigy with unparalleled insight?

Jonathan Krohn speaking at CPAC at 14 and writing a book at 15 – titled Defining Conservatism no less. Benji Backer. Tomi Lahren hosting a television show at age 22. The relentless coverage of the Parkland students as they became gun control activists. Now 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is sailing to the United States to attend a United Nations climate summit. (At least she’s not flying.)

It’s like everyone wants to discover their profession’s Doogie Howser. Look, maybe that young person really is a prodigy, a genius, a keen mind with wisdom beyond their years. Or maybe this person is just offering exactly what you want to see and hear in a young person.

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