Jessica Van Der Wyngaard Shares Vision for "I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye," Her Upcoming Documentary
Regent student Jessica Van Der Wyngaard is currently in the planning stages of filming a documentary which traces her fellow Regent student Josh Harris's process as he re-evaluates his popular 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. The book, which Josh wrote when he was 21 years old, became the go-to romantic relationship instruction book for evangelical teens. Now, 20 years later, Josh is well into the process of re-assessing his book, and delving into some of the strong reactions that are still being elicited by the hardline stance he took against secular dating culture as a young Christian man. In the film, entitled "I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye," Jessica will follow Josh as he encounters both fans and critics of his book, and as he seeks new, fruitful, and faithful ways of talking about relationships within a Christian context. Most of the filming, audio, and technical work will be done by a team of Regent students and alumni. Jessica is taking the project on as her Integrated Project in Arts and Theology (IPIAT) to complete the Arts concentration for her MA Theo Studies degree.
Naturally, considering the ubiquity of the book in late '90s and 2000s conversations around dating, the project has developed some substantial buzz. Both NPR and Christianity Today have interviewed Josh about his process of re-evaluation. Last week, Convivium interviewed both Jessica and Josh about the project.
Read our short interview with Jessica about her project below. If you're interested in learning more, you can check out the video for Jessica's Kickstarter fundraising campaign at the bottom of this article
How did you get the idea to do this film with Josh as your Integrated Project In Arts and Theology?
After this process of re-evaluation and deconstruction that Josh has gone through, does this film aim at presenting a reconstructed vision for what Christian dating culture should look like? Can you give us a sneak peek into what this vision is?
Instead, we have been inspired by our Regent experience to consider a broader vision. One that all believers can relate to, one that doesn't end with a wedding but ends with a community. Romantic love is a wonderful gift from God but it's not all there is to love. The reality is that many of us may never see a wedding in our life story. As believers we are not a collection of separate nuclear families, peppered with singles and others—we are the family of God, centred on Jesus, and no one should be excluded from experiencing love in that community.
IPIATs typically involve an artistic project that involves a theological component. In what ways is the film exploring theological aspects of romance, sexuality, and marriage?