Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


Jon, Kate, and the Breakdown of the Evangelical Family

posted by Diana Butler Bass

My young daughter is a dedicated fan of the TLC program Jon and Kate Plus Eight, a reality show
of a wholesome family with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets.  Over the weekend, TLC ran a marathon of
four seasons of the show leading up to the beginning of its fifth season on
Monday night.  I confess–I spent a
good number of hours watching the reruns with her. 

Rather unbelievably, the fourth season ended with parents
Jon and Kate Gosselin renewing their wedding vows and–within just a few weeks–a
tabloid explosion of scandalous rumors of the couple’s marriage failing apart
amid allegations of affairs.  In
the world of reality TV, news doesn’t get much bigger than this.  For months, fans, bloggers, and the
tabloid press have been speculating: 
How would season five open? 
Would Jon and Kate stay together? 
Would they get divorced? 

The scandal is exacerbated by the fact that Jon and Kate are
evangelical Christians.  The
Gosselins are folk heroes in the evangelical community–their sextuplets were
the result of infertility treatments during which they refused selective
abortion and carried all six babies to term.  TLC downplays the religious aspects of the show, but legions
of conservative church-going fans delighted in Kate’s stern discipline, cheered
Jon wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Bible verses, and devoured the couple’s
Christian parenting books.  The
show is something strangely compelling–the cute little kids and the endlessly
cranky parents trying hard to make a good Christian family. 

The new season’s opening episode recorded a familial train
wreck.  Indeed, Jon barely
participated in his sextuplet’s fifth birthday while an emotionally drained
Kate struggled alone to pull of the party.   In individual interviews, the couple talked about how
hard their relationship is–how they’ve become “different” people–and how
divorce was a distinct possibility.

As I watched, I recalled another show–An American Family–the original family reality show that PBS aired
in 1973.  Conceived as a video
diary of a liberal middle-class American family, the Louds of Santa Barbara,
the program quickly devolved into the chronicle of crisis–complete with
boundary-pushing teens and the wife confronting her philandering husband and
demanding a divorce.  The Louds
made big news–including the cover of Newsweek
on the breakdown of the American family.

Which, of course, brings us back to Jon and Kate.  If the Loud saga depicted the crisis of
the liberal 1970s family, what does Jon and Kate’s tale reveal about the state
of the evangelical family?  Is this where their politics of “family values” have taken conservative evangelicals?  Are the Gosselins the Louds of the Christian right?  

In Jon and Kate’s case, evangelical gender expectations seem
to be the root of their troubles: they reversed the parental roles.  After a couple of seasons, Jon decided
to stay at home and Kate went on the road to promote the show and their
books.  The choice made Jon increasingly
sullen and Kate happier and began to wear at their relationship.   For evangelicals, this is an
unusual arrangement that leaves the husband open to charges of “feminization”
and the wife of being difficult. 
The Gosselin’s tensions demonstrate how unsuccessfully conservative religious groups have been dealing with
gender–and how when a woman like Kate Gosselin breaks with tradition in order
to pursue what she loves–even when her business is family and motherhood–she
gets both blamed and punished for problems in her relationships. 

Kate kept saying, “it is so complex; it is so difficult,”
unable to stop her tears.  In a way,
she embodies many evangelical women who struggle between the role of homemaker
that their churches assign them and of finding interesting and creative work in
the world.   Kate, despite all
her pretentions to tradition, is actually a very contemporary woman with
feminist inclinations–one who is figuring out that her theology is at odds with
the way life works out.  She often
violates the mores of a nice evangelical mom (which I think is part of the
appeal; she is, in many ways, an evangelical fantasy mother).  She clearly likes travel, Oprah
interviews, and book signings. 
Staying at home with eight kids can be a drag, so she left her husband
with them only to find out that there may have been a girlfriend, too.  Success, good children, happy marriage–are
they all possible within her theological framework?  “I have a lot of anger,” she said on Monday’s program.  I bet. 

How dreary it is to watch a relationship implode on national
television.  In some measure, the
failure is theirs.  But the
conservative evangelical community shares some of that failure, too.  The religious world to which Jon and
Kate belong never successfully navigated the gender changes of the last three
decades, insisting that happiness can still be found in hierarchical roles of
male superiority and female submission.  Having rejected feminist theology, evangelicals can’t really navigate contemporary marriage issues like those facing Jon and Kate.  They made celebrities of the Gosselins for being traditionalists, yet
that success eroded the very basis of the traditionalism on which their family
was based.  Now, the woman is
criticized for that same success by an increasingly cruel media and tabloid
press.   I just wonder if all
those church people will turn on you next.   

You are right, Kate. 
It is complex and difficult.  It makes me
angry for you.

 



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churchmouse

posted May 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm


Who classified Jon and Kate as evangelicals?
I watched the show and in no way shape or form did they live the life of evangelicals. Never saw them acknowledge Christ for anything, did not see them read or study the Word, never saw them pray with their children or go to church.
I know there are two sides to every story and in this case marriage, but the way with which Kate treated Jon was appauling. I remember the Christmas episode where she literally kicked him to the curb in that Toys R Us store in front of a lobby of people. No true evangelical Christian woman would treat her husband with such disrespect. And he did nothing but hang his head as he was putting toys into the trunk. He did not act like he was head of the household, she wore the pants and he allowed her to do so. No respect between the two and the reason why is because they did not put God first.
Anyone that would call this couple evangelical, does not know the meaning of the word.
The Duggars on 18 and Counting are evangelicals. They practice what they preach and are NOT EMBARRASSED BY IT. Michelle honors her husband and he honors and respects her that much is obvious. This is the real deal.
Read Jim and Michelles marriage and parenting tips…..it’s no wonder their marriage is a success….the put God first and in doing so they honor him by honoring each other and their children and those that are not Christian.
http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/18-kids-and-counting/top-ten/marriage-tips/marriage-tips.html
http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/18-kids-and-counting/top-ten/parenting-tips/tips-for-new-parents.html



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sara

posted May 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm


I blame the christian community for turning these two selfish people, who are mainly concerned about making $50,000 and episode, into some kind of christian heroes. These pastors and congregations that paid thousands of dollars to hear their lies, and to keep the exploitation of their children going. All of you are to blame along with Kate, Jon, and TLC – the exploitation network. This couple makes me sick, and if they really cared about their kids they would stop their show and work on keeping their family together.
I’m a christian, but I can’t stand how the christian community does these things. They always want to find people to put up as their new christian idols, it’s sickening.



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Richard

posted May 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm


Churchmouse: Who is, and isn’t, an evangelical is always an interesting question. It is clear that the Gosselins packaged themselves as evangelicals, and have gone to church and spoken at evangelical churches several times over the course of the series. Zondervan has published three books, two by Kate and one by Jon and Kate, and here is Zondervan’s description of one of the books:
“Kate and Jon Gosselin have learned that, through God, all things are possible—though sometimes slightly improbable. Just three years after giving birth to twin daughters, Kate and Jon learned they were pregnant again—with sextuplets. In Multiple Blessings, Kate candidly chronicles the emotional and exhausting challenges she and Jon faced from the time the babies were conceived through the first two years of their lives. This amazing story of faith provides a heartening lesson in what it means to trust the faithful hand of God to provide the strength and courage to make it through life’s seemingly impossible situations.”
And here is how Zondervan describes the authors: “Jon and Kate Gosselin had the joy of birthing twins and sextuplets in three years. The daily lives of their family are chronicled on TLC’s hit show Jon & Kate plus 8. They are frequent speakers at churches and other events and live in central Pennsylvania.”
They clearly, it seems to me, tried to package themselves as part of the evangelical culture; whether that was only for commercial purposes is unknowable.



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John

posted May 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm


I’ve watched this show and was mostly repelled by it. I couldn’t see any Christian humility or mutual submission or wisdom or discernment or sacrifice in this family or marraige. I’m a Christian, but American evangelicals who think these people are role models for Christian living are just clueless. Part of me does feel sorry Jon and Kate them because they’ve been lured in by fame and fortune, but they also share blame because they have persisted in pursuing it even when it harms their family.
I agree with a previous poster: watch the Duggars if you want a picture of a family that exhibits the fruits of the spirit and is a reasonably good model for Christian living. Though I’m not as traditional as the Duggars seem in some of their choices (dress, expression, and even the choice to have 18 kids, etc.), that’s all secondary to the orientation of the heart, which reveals itself in how they treat others. You can see that they love and respect each other and their kids.



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Appalachian Prof

posted May 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm


When will Evangelicals, for once and for all, give up their celebrity culture? Their idols always have feet of clay, and continuously embarrass them; according to posters here, the Gosselins are “not true” Christians, while the Duggars are.
TV is phony and selective. If you believe even half of what you see on it, you are naive. Are you really concerned about these people? Pray for them. We’re so used to the idea of divorce that to see a couple with eight children break apart on television barely moves us except to judge. If you’re going to waste time watching television, and fantasizing a relationship/connection to Jon and Kate, then PRAY FOR THEM.



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Claudia

posted May 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm


Hi, Diana: Your point about the Gosselins is a good one. I want to say something about the Louds, though. I remember the Loud family well from the early 1970s (mostly because I was the same age as the middle son, Grant, and had a slight crush on him!).
In contrast to the Gosselins, the Louds were a secular family. But I’m not sure I would call their marriage arrangement “liberal.” Pat, the mother of five, was a stay-at-home mom while the father, Bill, ran a business and was away quite a bit. As I recall, the break-up happened because of Bill’s philandering.
And here’s an interesting twist: after their son, Lance, died in 2001, Bill and Pat got back together!



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Your Name

posted May 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm


I believe roles as parents has less to do with Jon & Kate than their inability to nurture their relationship. It appears to me they have put everything on hold in their relationship and grown more and more antagonistic towards each other. I believe Kate has never treated Jon with respect and he is now reciprocating.
If they love each other (and I strongly believe they love their kids) they will focus some time on their relationship and vows and nuture each others as a married couple–much like they have done for their children all these years.
I also believe they should end their show as soon as their contract allows. If it is not good for Jon it is not good for any of them.



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Karen

posted May 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm


I need to preface this with the fact that I am, embarrassingly, a big fan of the show. I can’t exactly say what the draw is for me, but it is there. A lot of it is that I do believe they are a strong Christian family, but they are also not perfect, and don’t in anyway pretend to be.
With that being said, in the last season, it almost (but not quite) got to the point where I didn’t want to watch because Kate was so disrespectful to Jon, and Jon was starting to do the same thing to her. Kate loves what she is doing. Is that wrong? No. However, add to that, her husband clearly didn’t want to continue with the show after last season, and probably before. She should have stopped. I do believe in submission as a wife. I believe God created it that way for a specific purpose. I believe Kate and Jon allowed their marriage to get to a point where they weren’t focused on each other, and this is what has happened as a result. I do not mean any of this in a judgmental way, really I don’t. I am so sad for them as a couple and as a family unit. I am sad that they have been so deceived and it is clearly hurting each of them desperately. I am sad that they believed the lies that Satan whispered in their ears which will inevitably lead them to misery. I have hope that they can make the decision to turn it around.



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DouglasC

posted May 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm


What strikes me is that these people have no privacy to work through their differences and troubles without having to put on a show for our voyeuristic culture. That’s gotta be a terrible burden for any marriage to overcome and probably contributes greatly to their problems. It’s kind of like the Heisenberg principle applied to the social sciences. The act of measuring changes the subject being measured, making it impossible to truly measure what a marriage would be like without outside interference.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted May 26, 2009 at 11:26 pm


I think it is interesting how a few of the conservative evangelical responses in this thread actually prove the point of my blog–that some quarters of the evangelical community have no constructive way to deal with the contemporary lives of women except to say “No, don’t.” Offline, a few commenters have mentioned to me that while Kate was obviously sad about her relationship with her husband that she actually looked “gorgeous, confident, and fulfilled” and “has come into a new sense of herself as a woman.” I think that’s true. In the course of a few years, she’s gone from mousy to strong, ambivalent to ambitious. Although that journey is often bumpy, it is actually fairly normal in the course of maturing women in their thirties.
When I was unhappy in my first marriage in graduate school, I attended an evangelical-type Episcopal Church. One of my sister church members approached me and said, “If only you’d submit to your husband, God would take away your desire to get a doctorate.” She assumed that the work (and my “selfishness”) was the source of my unhappiness–not the limited roles inflicted on me by the theology of the church. She was wrong. Over the years, my calling as a writer, speaker, and public intellectual has been the source of great happiness–as well as a broader, deeper, more inclusive theology, a supportive husband and family, and good friendships. Bad theology–and social expectations at odds with our gifts–causes much unhappiness in women who just don’t fit in the evangelical sub-culture.



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Bob

posted May 27, 2009 at 1:07 am


Diana is projecting her OWN failures and her OWN inability to navigate her problems with “traditional” theology on to evangelicals.
And then, of course, evangelicals disagreeing with her just prove her point.
Ugh. To be so self absorbed has got to be, well, just boring and played out.
Their marriage is failing because they are not putting their marriage above everything else. Sorry, that’s what it takes. It’s called sacrifice. Sacrifice a year of all the perks of the show to save the marriage.



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churchmouse

posted May 27, 2009 at 2:11 am


Diana Bass said, “I think it is interesting how a few of the conservative evangelical responses in this thread actually prove the point of my blog–that some quarters of the evangelical community have no constructive way to deal with the contemporary lives of women except to say “No, don’t.” Offline, a few commenters have mentioned to me that while Kate was obviously sad about her relationship with her husband that she actually looked “gorgeous, confident, and fulfilled” and “has come into a new sense of herself as a woman.” I think that’s true. In the course of a few years, she’s gone from mousy to strong, ambivalent to ambitious. Although that journey is often bumpy, it is actually fairly normal in the course of maturing women in their thirties.”
Diane I think it deals with the definition of the meaning of the word evangelical. IMO it’s a believer in Christ that puts a high priority on scripture. They use scripture to answer life’s questions, not some but ALL. They live the Word they just don’t read it. We got a intimate view of the Gosslins because they allowed us to come into their home. And IMO their home did not reflect evangelical in any way. They might have gone to churches and talked, done charity events, but that still is not living the Word, the way Christ commands us to do. Standing in a garage does not make one a car no more than a person sitting in church makes them a Christian.
Kate did change over the past years, so did Jon. But did they change for the better? How much do they make an episode? They moved from a small, modest home to a million dollar mansion. She probably can afford manicures and the best hairdressers. She has come into her own, but what did she lose to get it? Not all woman do that in their thirties because the majority are not multi-millionaires. Normal? Most women do not have the avenues that Kate has had. Sure she popped out eight at one time ….. I know a lot of families with more kids than they have and they do not have the luxuries that make life easier.
Diana said, “Over the years, my calling as a writer, speaker, and public intellectual has been the source of great happiness–as well as a broader, deeper, more inclusive theology, a supportive husband and family, and good friendships. Bad theology–and social expectations at odds with our gifts–causes much unhappiness in women who just don’t fit in the evangelical sub-culture.”
It should make you happy because obviously you are a talented writer and speaker. But when success comes at the expense of children it no longer becomes a positive thing. Children need nurturing and love. If Kate or any mother for that matter is gone a great majority of the time it’s not good. So what Jon is at home. God wants children to have a mother and a father for a reason. There is a time and place for everything. I too had children. I got my degree before I got married but waited to teach until after they were well into high school. I was their shadow and I am glad that I was. Children are a heritage from the Lord and we have a responsibility to them. God says parents have the primary job in training them up. If sacrifices have to be made to do this then so be it.
Mark 9:37 says, “Whoever received one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but Him who sent me.”
When I was unhappy in my first marriage in graduate school, I attended an evangelical-type Episcopal Church. One of my sister church members approached me and said, “If only you’d submit to your husband, God would take away your desire to get a doctorate.” She assumed that the work (and my “selfishness”) was the source of my unhappiness–not the limited roles inflicted on me by the theology of the church. She was wrong. Over the years, my calling as a writer, speaker, and public intellectual has been the source of great happiness–as well as a broader, deeper, more inclusive theology, a supportive husband and family, and good friendships. Bad theology–and social expectations at odds with our gifts–causes much unhappiness in women who just don’t fit in the evangelical sub-culture.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted May 27, 2009 at 9:59 am


Not projecting–personalizing the situation by providing a real life example (and not one from television) that happens to be from my own experience more than 20 years ago and presented in a dispassionate way. Personalizing stories is a literary device to make a point. For more such examples, see Professor J.J. Ingersoll’s fine academic study, “Evangelical Christian Women: War Stories in the Gender Battles” (NYU Press).



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Tina Stefan

posted May 27, 2009 at 10:11 am


These folks need to get their priorities straight and get counseling help. Marriage is not about the adults but rather the collective whole of the family. Carrie Prejean’s out there promoting the importance of marriage on Fox & Friends while Jon, Kate are getting exploited and losing their way on TLC. Sigh.
Miss CA talks Prop 8 victory and hosts morning show:
http://tinyurl.com/orf67l



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Nat Ersoz

posted May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am


Crap.
I was suckered into reading a People magazine “article” online by a Beliefnet blog post.
Good grief.
The best thing that could happen for the moral fabric of American society would be the boycott and shutdown of People magazine and all that other slick journal BS pandered by grocery stores.
Flush with that “The View” and Fox “News” and rationalism might even have a chance to flourish.
I’m disgusted with myself for even turning the page.



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churchmouse

posted May 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm


Title : “Jon, Kate, and the Breakdown of the Evangelical Family”
This title is misleading or did you mean it to be so? The breakdown of Evangelical families, insinuating that they do not work, is that what you meant? Is that what you secretly want to happen?
Did you just mean their family only or all families that consider themselves evangelical.
One would think so especially after these comments.
“She often violates the mores of a nice evangelical mom (which I think is part of the appeal; she is, in many ways, an evangelical fantasy mother).’
Slam it to nice evangelical moms…..we all like to see that don‘t we? Because making fun of someone who tries to live the Word looks frumpy and unsophisticated, right? It’s just more magical to see a marriage collapse especially if its an evangelical one. Such is the tone of your blog.
You said, “How dreary it is to watch a relationship implode on national television.”
But you said that its part of the appeal didn’t you?
“But the conservative evangelical community shares some of that failure, too.’
Jon and Kate have themselves to blame, not the Christian Community as a whole. They brought this on and should take responsibility for it. They wanted the television program and invited us in to their home and lives. Kate is the one that kicked her husband to the curb every show. She demeaned him and showed him no respect. And by respect I do not mean waiting on him hand and foot acts of submission like you think evangelical moms do. I mean talking to him civilly, in a loving way. I am not saying she deserves what Jon has dealt her but he obviously felt no love from her and strayed. She is the one who goes out on the road…book signings, appearances. Eight kids at home while her priority is money and fame. She constantly said how hard life was at home that Jon did not tote the load, yet she leaves him home in a role he obviously is not capable of doing. Why? Money, fame, all in the name of success.
“Having rejected feminist theology, evangelicals can’t really navigate contemporary marriage issues like those facing Jon and Kate.”
They put their ambitions over the Word. They did not keep the focus on Christ. You can’t worship two masters, and they sought money and fame at the expense of their marriage and family. One must decide what is more important fame or a godly home, especially when kids are living at home and are young. The Duggars seem to be doing this successfully. They keep their eyes where they should be, on Christ. They manage pretty well and they have double the kids.
“Now, the woman is criticized for that same success by an increasingly cruel media and tabloid press. I just wonder if all those church people will turn on you next.’
If Jon and Kate claimed to be evangelicals then their actions should be judged accordingly especially by those who are evangelical. They obviously missed the mark which by the sound of your blog excited you to no end. Those who hate evangelicals love when they fail and love to point out each failure. A failure for one is a failure for all. So by the title of your piece you lump all evangelical families together.
The media is doing their job, the job Kate and Jon have allowed them to do in their home. Jon and Kate Plus Eight is a reality television show. They signed on for the gig.
Kate and Jon both should be criticized for their conduct and actions. The media is not to blame, they are just filming a story. If the Gosslins really wanted to save their marriage and family they would kick the camera crew out and take a break. They would protect their children from the world right now. Kate was adamant in the interview that they would not take her down.
Is success worth taking your family kids down Kate?



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churchmouse

posted May 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm


“Carrie Prejean’s out there promoting the importance of marriage”
She lies about her pictures and she has the gall to promote anything.
Sigh.



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New Age Cowboy

posted May 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm


If some Evangelicals weren’t part of negative social forces (e.g., condoning torture, condemning any group outside their sphere of influence, fostering anti-intellectualism, etc.) this reality TV show would be a joke. I grew up Evangelical and quit the program in my undergrad when I realized what a good portion of ‘em promoted: basically a lot of ‘em love war, &/or cling to their guns, &/or hate paying taxes, &/or have serious sexual neurosis, &/or would prefer that the poor just rot away because of supposed laziness.
Instead of condemning gay marriage, I’d like to see Evangelicals put their own homes in order. I’m tired of the hypocrisy.
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented: “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”



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elizabeth

posted May 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm


Disappointing to see “evangelicals” used in too broad of a way; many evangelical churches ordain women and have very progressive views about women’s roles in both church and home settings.
The work of Christians for Biblical Equality (http://www.cbeinternational.org/) is one example. Feminist evangelicals were very present at evangelical Wheaton College (IL) where I graduated a few years ago.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted May 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm


Notice that I use the qualifier “conservative” in this post–and that’s what I’m talking about–conservative evangelicals. I’m well aware of progressive evangelicals–as well as feminist ones–and they actually criticize this same aspect of their brethren’s POV. So, this is not a blanket critique of the whole of evangelicalism, just a critique of a significant part of the sub-culture.



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LutheranChik

posted May 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm


It’s rather alarming to see the creepy, regressive Duggar cult held up as exemplars of Christian life. I’d also point out that Father Duggar, by incorporating his ginormous family as a “church,” is scamming the system to avoid paying taxes…is that a Christian value I wasn’t taught back in catechism class?



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churchmouse

posted May 28, 2009 at 12:12 am


Diana any reader can tell by your post you have it out for evangelicals and you seem to lump them together. I know why now.
I did not know anything about you so I read some blogs on your site. I found the one titled, Gene and Rick quite interesting.
You obviously can’t abide anyone that stands on scripture. I am talking about your defense of Gene Robinson and your attack on Warren.
You asked a question at the end of that blog. What would Jesus do with Gene and Rick? And what would Jesus expect of them? Who embodies Jesus’ command to love God and love their neighbor?
Well for one thing I do not believe this is a contest. I believe God would tell them to love their neighbor even if he was sinning and even if he had hate in his heart. But He also would tell them that if they had sin in their lives to confess it and sin no more. He told the adultress to do the same thing. He loved her but he corrected her.
He would tell Gene to sin no more, that his lifestyle was against the Word.
He expects every Believer to live the Word, whether they agree with it or not. He came to save the lost. He came for sinners and He spoke out about sin. He gave us the Great Commission where we are COMMANDED to spread the Gospel message.
I’m curious, do you also condone abortion? Are you pro-choice?
LutheranChik curious as to why you think the Duggars are so horrible.



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KMHutson

posted May 28, 2009 at 8:56 am


A few thoughts, inspired by your blog. Thanks for what you wrote.
http://kaytebug2002.blogspot.com/2009/05/jon-kate-plus-eight-few-thoughts.html



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LutheranChik

posted May 28, 2009 at 10:02 am


Churchmouse: LOL Let’s see…there’s the cultic, Dominionist, misogynistic, fertility-fixated “Quiverful Movement” thing…female subjugation…Pharisaical legalisms regarding dress and behavior…disdain for providing a comprehensive education and opportunities for higher education to their children, particularly their girls…pressure into early/arranged marriage…the let’s-finance-our-family-by-fleecing-the-system thing…should I go on? Every time I see this family on TV promos I sincerely pray that their female children run away as soon as they can, before they’re turned into another generation of subservient baby factories pressed into service for the Dominionist cause.



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Tina Stefan

posted May 28, 2009 at 10:12 am


If marriage law was strengthened, these two wouldn’t even be thinking about divorce, for they would not be able to just abuse and abandon their marriage agreement at will like this. And the kids are the ones who suffer most, as has been repeatedly stated. Marriage is making a comeback, though –
http://tinyurl.com/qsq65p



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reg599

posted May 28, 2009 at 10:47 am


If it’s that “complex and difficult”, make it simple, cancel the show, leave the fame behind and work out your marriage and family. Eight little kids need a Mother and Father united.



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churchmouse

posted May 28, 2009 at 11:33 am


And you are a Lutheran ? LMAO
Where does it say in the Word that it is a sin to have that many children?
You consider it cultic to have that many children? LOL
Who is dominating? Mr. Duggan shows more love towards his wife, more respect than 99% of the marriages in America. He honors her in everything he does. How many men do that on a regular basis in thier marriage? How does he show hatred towards women? They live in a beautiful home and he provides a wonderful enviroment for his children. And the children especially the older ones respect them. There is no hatred for anyone in that household. I would put the kids up against any kid anywhere as far as education goes. They don’t want their kids in the public schools, I didn’t either. They are hotbeds of liberalist values. It’s the only way our government can control the masses. Public education in the US is one sided and broken.
Kids who are homeschooled get quality educations far better than our public educational system today. Most children are even ahead of their actual grade level in knowledge. “The achievement gap begins to widen in grade 5; by 8th grade the average home school student performs four grade levels above the national average.”
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/991592/posts
You mention arranged marriages. For your information only one son has been married. So what are you talking about? They are Christians so arranged would be wanting their children to marry other Christians. This is scriptural for your information. If you are Lutheran and read the Word you should have known that. Or do you just toss the scriptures you dont like out of the bible?
This family is self sufficient and pay taxes like everyone else. They recycle too. They go to thrift shops for clothing and many needs, do you? Or is Nordstroms and Saks what you think should be the normal place to shop for the average family?
So you don’t want another generation of kids that respect their parents, that respect authority, kids that show love for their fellow man?
You probably feel they should be shaggin in the back of their parents car because practice makes perfect, right? They should be experimenting with drugs….and on the internet looking for porn sites… LOL
And because the girls wear modest clothes that cover them up they are weird. I think a normal society for you would be like the one in A Brave New World, one with no morals at all.



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Your Name

posted May 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm


Jon and Kate…better remember they have eight…
For Better or Worst…that is what I hear marriage is about.
I think the total “pressure” of being a TV family has gotten to them. They do not want to give up the notariaty or the fame of being on TV.
I do believe that they need more “date” nights. If they do not take time out for themselves on a regularly scheduled time frame..then they won’t have each other for long. The losers in all of this is the children.
What the children are losing is the “normal” childhood without all the cameras and living in a fishbowl atmosphere.
Perhaps, the show needs to be axed due to their marriage being over? I hate for the rest of the “next” generation to get ideas that a failed marriage even with obligations for your children to keep your family as strong and vibrant as you can is trashed in this family.
They need to quit show business and get to raising their kids and having more quality time with their family and nurturing their marriage.
I feel sorry for them. Due to basically watching episodes that they really appeared in love with each other and with the fact that God gave them a lot of souls to oversee.
God Bless them and I will say another prayer for them.



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Lum

posted May 29, 2009 at 8:58 am


Let’s see here. Traditional bible teaching on the role of the family holds that the wife is to be the primary caregiver for the children. Not the sole caregiver but the primary caregiver. The husband is to be the primary (not sole but primary) breadwinner.
When the series began these self proclaimed evangelical Christians occupied he traditional roles an seemed harried but happy.
Now they have reversed the roles with Jon staying home and Kate going out to promote the show and her book. The result has been a breakdown in the marriage and the author of this column wants to blame evangelical teaching for it’s failure to adapt to the modern paradigm?
Am I missing something here? Is it a failure of biblical teaching or a failure on their part to live by biblical teaching that led to this problem.
How about this – Jon goes back to work and Kate stays home to take care of the kids. And while they are at it how about they ditch the show and get back to making a marriage and raising Godly kids.
I suppose that answer would be much too simple since this is all so very complex



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Your Name

posted May 30, 2009 at 6:35 am


I agree Jon and Kate didn’t live a Christian life in their actions and that the churches who paid to see them should not have. Regarding the comment about the gender roles and the church not catching up always annoys me. Psalm 31 women has a job outside of the home to help her home. Deborah was a judge, so I know God is comfortable with the concept of women working. Submission in the Bible isn’t the picture of a doormat wife and a mean dictator husband. Men have to lead, as in make tough decisions when both husband and wife don’t have all the answers. Women have to submit sometimes to help bring some peace and not be a nag. Many women are prone to nagging which I believe the reason for submission in the Bible. Some men are prone to laziness, esp when men work a hard day and then just become a slob in the couch wanting the wife to do everything, hence the need for him to lead, so he cares more beyond laziness. The Bible says men have to be willing to sacrifice and die for their wives if necessary. If that were true… if a man is that loving, helpful, supportive…submission as in not being a total nag is easier. Both are happier for it. They key is love. I think Jon and Kate need to off TV and focus on finding the kind of relationship I described, and if Kate went to Christian counseling for her ocd..they could save their marriage. THey will have to want to save it, if they don’t want to, divorce will happen.



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Caring wife and mom

posted May 30, 2009 at 7:55 am


I believe this family is in crisis because they decided to exploit their family on national TV. It is not a normal life for any of them. I also believe the money and fame has gone to Kate’s head and maybe Jon has once again gone along with things.
God created man and woman for different roles and when we work within what he planned then we have a successful family. I believe the successful family has husband and wife working together for the good of the family, even if that means that both work. If both work then both share in the household duties also and I and my family are living proof that this works.
I do not believe God would be pleased with this family living in a fish bowl for all the world to see and as all the world is seeing it has not worked. Jon and Kate need to forget TV and go back to real family life and focus on raising the 8 little blessings they have been given.



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Marie Post

posted May 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm


The creator of marriage knows what’s best for his creation. And He has outlined specific roles for each to bring harmony and unity to the marriage. These roles specify how marriage works best.
When women defy these roles, marriage doesn’t work. End of story. Kate is a prime example of usurping Jon’s role, and Jon caved in to her demands, thus reneging on his role.
Result: Utter chaos, unhappiness and a broken marriage.



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Cathy

posted May 31, 2009 at 11:49 am


I hurt for this couple. The pain they are living with must be overwhelming.
But, to look at the theological side of all this:
first I hope this helps put an end to the whole idea that if you pray hard enough everything will be ok that evangelical fundamentalists live by. I get so tired of hearing church people say well, if “they” (meaning anyone but themselves) would have prayed harder their kids wouldn’t have….(fill in the blank)
second, would all you people who made comments please tell me where the Bible says that the men should be the bread winners and the women should be the primary care givers? Please, read the Bible withouth all the influence of your faith tradition. It is not there. We are all, everyone on earth, “working out our salvation with fear and trembling”.



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Fan before the gossip

posted June 1, 2009 at 5:03 am


What I find just as sad as this couple in pain, is that the season 5 opening episode was TLC’s highest rated show. What is wrong with this? The fact that some people weren’t watching the show when they were the “normal” family dealing with every day life but, when they are going through pain so many more tune in!!! My daughter and I have been a fan for a couple years. My DVR is set to record the show and has been for over a year…we’ve seen all of the seasons but, enjoy watching older episodes once in awhile…however, I have yet to watch Mondays episode…but, have seen and heard enough about that I feel like I have over and over and on every channel, talk show, gossip shows, etc. I just don’t understand what is about us that we only find it interesting when people are in pain, it wasn’t nearly as popular when it just Jon and Kate +8…more interesting when it’s Jon and school teacher-Kate and body guard-what about the +8…some are saying that they are exploiting the kids but, what is all this media doing to the kids…has anyone stepped up and said I’m not going to splash this all over my magazine or tv show in order to save the kids from being hurt??? Makes you wonder…



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Desiree

posted June 1, 2009 at 7:21 am


I don’t know what jon did…and I don’t care. If he cheated on “her” I can’t really say that I blame him. He probably got tired of being treated like her 9th child. Or maybe…he wanted to be with someone who didn’t belittle, insult, demeen, critisize and insult him constantly. He just got tired of being Kate’s whipping boy…..



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Greenman

posted June 1, 2009 at 10:33 am


It seems to me that no one has mentioned the one thing that I find most disturbing~ eight children in three years. I find it hard to believe that having a litter of children is part of nature’s plan. I can understand the desire for more children but this kind of manipulation is un-natural. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t believe it’s evil or anything like that. I just believe that these people have put themselves in the untenable situation of eight toddlers AND full time television coverage and when did they find time to write parenting books.
I think the best thing might be to send the TV cameras home, hire some baby sitters and just the two of them off on a good marriage retreat with a good counselor. Neither of them are bad people, they aren’t being sinful, they’re just very stressed out.
I wish them a lot of luck.



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Arlene Smith

posted June 19, 2009 at 4:00 pm


Jon and Kate Gosselin are the Jim and Tammy Faye Baker of the 21st Century – maybe even worse, as they have scammed not only churches, but other sources as well. I don’t have one iota of sympathy for either of them – they are getting exactly what they deserve. The true victims in all of this are the eight children. I personally believe that Jon and Kate only used the “church card” in pursuit of their greed. They saw an opportunity to play upon the hearts and souls of people who would not “judge” them. In the last few months, with all that has been written and televised about them, WHEN have they ever said that they were relying on their faith to guide them through? Does this sound like a religious couple? Even assuming that TLC might edit out their faith, there have been plenty of other opportunities (magazine articles and other network interviews) for them to acknowledge their faith. How often have the been to church in the last 6 months?



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Emily Jane

posted June 22, 2009 at 10:09 am


Desiree, you are so right about this.
While nothing can ever excuse infidelity, I have always wondered why Jon married Kate in the first place. She is a real harpy, constantly yelling at him as if he were an idiot, when his only crime is having a gentler idea of parenting than she has. Maybe she was a lot sweeter before she had eight kids to worry about (and perhaps we can’t blame her for being stressed out), but she really has no respect for her husband.
If we’re going to claim that this is an Evangelical Christian couple, we really need to examine their marriage to see if that holds up. In no way does this woman honor her husband, not even in a modern sense. As long as she acts the way she does, she will continue to drive a wedge between them.



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bobbi sawyer

posted June 25, 2009 at 12:02 am


What I question is have they gone to counseling? Maybe if the proper third party came in then they have a chance to work on the marriage. No one is perfect in marriage but we need some counseling so that we see our problems from an relieable third party. Ok she may seem bossy but….. who says she wouldn’t make necessary changes to save the marriage if they went to counceling. And if he won’t go maybe how about her alone. This saddens me that we can just walk away from our families.



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Lisa Graham

posted June 28, 2009 at 7:08 pm


I find it so ridiculous how so many people blame Kate, when if they truly looked in the mirror, they would see they too at times “harp” or “nag” on their husbands too. It happens. Quite frankly, I think if I was in her shoes and I was trying to make meals, do laundry, make appts, clean the house etc etc and my husband was sittin around watching football or played with the kids so much instead of helping me Id be pretty ticked off to. ALL marriages have these battles, its a TEAM work effort. How much did we see Jon doing work? Not near as much as Kate. People want to applaud her for being independent, strong and creative, but then criticize her for wanting to work outside the home (which feeds Jon by the way)and put those qualities to work. I dont understand all the people who judge Kate. You do the same thing. Youd just rather point the finger at her then yourself. Somebody said they had what was coming to them, are you REALLY that narcisstic and want their kids to be products of a divorce? You dont know by other than what you see on TV, which is only a glimpse into their lives. If “poor little whipping boy” Jon was sooo unhappy, WHY did he renew his vows w/ Kate? A free trip? Another honeymoon night? I dare say not. I think he just decided fatherhood was too much and he’d rather go act like a 20 yr old (hence the 23yr old gf)and bar hop, and have lust-ful sex. Poor Jon, is poor Jon for he has to lok himself in the mirror, one day realizing what a jerk he is and it was HIM who treated Kate badly. If my husband treated me like he does Kate, you can bet there’d be a whole lot more than me “nagging” him. Now go nag your hubbys ladies, you know its been about 20 min since you did it last.



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Rebecca Higgins

posted June 29, 2009 at 4:27 am


Well, I was about to agree with this Lisa Graham up above… until I got to the end. No one has any place to judge Jon OR Kate. No one knows how one treats the other on a regular basis, we only see what the media wants us to see. And, even if they are acting ugly to each other, it’s only out of hurts that need addressed. I agree with Lisa on one point- if we were as stressed out as Kate, we’d probably act like that too. But then again, Jon must be going through his own stresses as well. Let’s just show the family the love they need, pray for them (not at them or against them) and stop being so hateful.



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Your Name

posted July 31, 2009 at 4:59 pm


They started out doing all they could do to be a normal christian family.But then he stopped working and they brought in so much help that they soon grew away from the way they started.They got were ever thing was money! thay never spank their children and they talk back to much to their parents.The bible tell you about sparing the rod so there should be punishment.One of the twins is always acting up.The christian family soon changed untill it was like a circus with all the outside help and money things got to be a big issue.These pass few months they are strangers to each other and to the t,v.Yes Kate talked to rough to Jon and in the beginning I felt sorry for him.But the way hes acted these pass few month ,maybe when she started talking like that he was already running around on her.He acted like he doesnt care but I think she did care.I dont watch the show anymore there is alot of other show to see.Those are the ones that can care for alot of chidren like a normal family. They have 18 children and act like they have values. Its time to cut this show and then we would see how they do with out millions of dollars made off those children.



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Emma

posted July 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm


Just pray for them. That’s all we should be doing.



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Brandon Nicewonger

posted September 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm


I find it a little ridiculous that we are having this discussion in the first place. How many relationships that have been put on television in a reality show have survived the show? Jessica and Nick? Anna Nicole Smith? The Louds?
People change when they are given a lot of money in a short amount of time. I am also tired of America believing that someone actually has a relationship with Christ just because they say they do…why are we not examining their lives for the truth rather than taking people at their word?
I blame Jon and Kate for allowing their family to be made a spectacle. 70 years ago there were plenty of families with 8 plus children that were not given any attention by anyone, not given freebies, not given any financial assistance and yet they were strong and interconnected.
Let’s stop talking about the poor Gosselins and see this sham for what it is. Christians it is time for us to stop being so easily duped.



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Ludes for Breakfast

posted October 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm


You mean the fact that lots of evangelicals tend to be poorer, less educated has nothing to do with the fact that their marriages break down more often?
Suppose these people had belonged to an Hispanic church or a Black church-which also have high divorce rates-would you be preaching this message? Their churches have even stronger hostility against gay marriage and about the same percentage of women pastors.
How come they get a pass?
Butler B*sshole is one of the reasons Mainline Protestantism is America’s fastest shrinking religious group. Middle class, middle aged and middle brow, all the condescension of NPR but without the intellectual content or good music.



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Rick Garner

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm


Why did Christian fans embrace Jon & Kate Plus 8 and behave badly online during the couple’s divorce? Answer the challenge to shine or shred: http://www.jonandkateprayers.com/2010/03/will-you-shine-or-shred.html



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2010 polo shirts

posted August 9, 2010 at 6:44 am


Welcome to buy top quality Polo Ralph Lauren,Cheap Polo Shirts,Polo Discount,Lxvii Ralph Lauren,Polo Shirts 2010. Always Low Price, Open 24/7, 365days A Year!



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Brandon Nicewonger

posted November 10, 2010 at 8:11 pm


Ludes for Breakfast,
I am tired of people such as yourself, with no knowledge of the inside of the Christian community, making snap judgements based on poorly researched and poorly quoted statistical data.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Brandon



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