Jon – Kate + 8 = ?
By Jennifer E. Jones
Multi-Media Producer, The 700 Club
Even if you’re not a fan of the show, it’s hard not to know who Jon and Kate Gosselin are. They are the reality show stars of TLC’s Jon and Kate Plus 8. What used to be a charming show about a Christian couple from Pennsylvania raising two sets of multiples is now fodder for Page Six, E!, and celebrity gossip columns.
I’ve been a fan of the show since New Years Day of 2008 when a marathon wrapped my attention for hours. In the beginning, it was adorable. I wanted to see how this couple juggled twins and sextuplets – a combination that made even a trip to the grocery store an adventure.
Also, Jon and Kate were never shy about their Christian faith. In many of the shots, you can see Bible verses written on note cards scattered around the couple’s home. They talk about the spiritual significance of their children’s names. They were also active church members. So, it was great to see a Christian family getting so much publicity. They were on Oprah and even graced The 700 Club in October of 2008 and then again in May of 2009.
As I said, it started out well.
Trouble in paradise arose last spring when Dad Gosselin was photographed with another woman outside of a bar. Although initially it was reported as being purely platonic, it was the beginning of the Gosselins’ unraveling – at least to the rest of the world. Rumors flew of alleged affairs and diva-like behavior.
After a very rocky few months in the public eye, divorce papers were served, a ten-year marriage dissolved, and our collective hope for reconciliation was dashed.
I don’t know why I took this breakup personally, but a small part of me felt hurt. I am sure I'm not the only one. For years, we as viewers were invited into their lives to share in their daily adversities and triumphs. We rooted for them. In this world of divorce and infidelity, here was a Christian family that was working. It was giving everyone hope that we could make it too. So in a sense, when they failed, we failed too.
Nobody likes the word “accountability.” I know I don’t. I have shunned the good advice given to me by others, and I always end up regretting my ignorant stubbornness. Accountability is a necessary system of checks and balances within the Body of Christ. No man is an island, and if we want any chance at a life of holiness, we need each other to stand up straight.
I wonder, where was their church in all this? Members of their community were visible when it came to helping out with the children, but who was checking in on Jon and Kate and making sure they were okay? When they wanted to separate, where was their pastor? An element of accountability seems to be missing here.
Proverbs 24:6 reads, “So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers” (NLT). Back in the first chapter, verse 5 adds, “Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance” (NLT). There needed to be someone with spiritual authority that could speak into their lives and tell them how to keep their marriage together.
I realize that as viewers we only see snapshots of Jon’s and Kate’s marriage. TLC wasn’t able to show whether this couple sought counseling or not, although it is rumored that they did. Unfortunately, their post-divorce behavior in the public eye continues to draw concern, and they've decided to keep the cameras rolling for it all.
On this new path of raising eight children while living apart, Jon's and Kate's future is uncertain. The only response that we can give as Christians is to pray. Call me crazy, but I still believe that God can redeem this story.
So, the next time you're in line at the check-out counter and your eyes land on the Gosselins' faces on the latest tabloid, take a moment to lift them up in prayer. I cannot imagine what they're going through, but God knows and He cares. He has led them through so much, and in spite of the twists and turns on the journey, He is not letting go.
Jennifer E. Jones is the Multi-Media Producer who is curious how the Duggars and their 18 children manage to stay out of such trouble. Got comments? Drop me a line.
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