Saturday, November 8, 2008

Extreme Family

"Christianity Today" magazine features an article by managing editor Todd Hertz on "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" in their latest issue. You can read the article online at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/november/15.76.html.

Obviously, we have seen a lot of articles on the Gosselins recently. What sets this piece apart, of course, is its focus on the family's faith. It gives us the opportunity to ask our posters to weigh in some pretty interesting aspects of the Gosselins' story. How do you think the Gosselins represent their faith? Would you like to see the show allow the Gosselins to express their faith more openly and on a more consistent basis? Lastly, the author is pretty generous is his estimation of the reasons the Gosselins have decided to participate in the show - "to show God's love to others." We don't believe we have heard the Gosselins state this as one of the reasons for doing the show, but that said, do you believe they have succeeded in showcasing "God's love" and have helped others with their honest portrayal of a Christian couple that is far from perfect, but still loves each other and strives to do their best?

Submitted for post by Anya

70 comments:

floridamom said...

Unfortunately, they probably have done good and damage about equally. When they are shown being so petty and rude to each other, it gives people ammunition to say "some Christians they are!"
I don't necessarily think that is entirely their fault, because I doubt they do the editing, and I'm sure there are some sweet "boring" moments on the cutting room floor.
Sadly, most people don't realize that you don't have to be perfect to be a Christian. We are all works in progress. I think they acknowledge their shortcomings and hopefully are trying to work on them.
If they were perfect, it would give others ammunition to say that they are fake and their Christianity is unnattainable for the rest of us.
As most Christians find, they will have critics no matter how they portray themselves.

Nina Bell said...

I do not believe that "showing God's love to others" was ever a motivating factor behind doing this show. IMO.

The bottom line to me is that Jon and Kate are humans just like all Christians. They will have flaws and they will be quite evident since they are on national TV every week.

I personally think that TLC is taking the right stance in regards to allowing them to express their faith on the show. We know their beliefs, we see them attend church and we hear them refer to their faith. We get the big picture. In my opinion that is all that is necessary and I personally do not want to know or hear any more than that.

themrs said...

i have a hard time believing that tlc doesn't allow them to show their faith. there are several other tlc shows where the family's faith is evident. why would they only take that stance with jon and kate? i think that if tlc were honestly telling them that they don't want them to show it, they always have the option to say "then we're not doing this". my faith is an integral part of my life and i would not agree to "suppress" it for tv. that being said, i don't feel it is my place to judge their christianity. i wouldn't want another to judge mine therefore i will not judge theirs.

FIONA said...

Having come from a very religious family,living in a very religious state, I myself have never seen a Christian family close to the likes of Jon and Kate Gosselin.

For example, prayer teaching starts at a very early age, before meals, before bedtime. We have seen the children pray once and they clearly had not much practice in it.

Mady and Cara just got their first Bible at age 7, according to their website. My kid got a children's Bible at age 4.

Jon and Kate do not behave like a Christian couple.

While their might be some strong religous feelings within them, somewhere, they are far from any Christian family I have ever known.

Nina, I would like to see their Christianity at work in their lives. But just seeing one spisode of Jon and Kate standing in their Church really doesn't solidify what they claim in their lives.

You see it in the Roloffs, and of course in the Duggars. I just don't think it is apparent in the Gosselin's day to day life and therefore that is why we don't "see" it.

merryway said...

I don't think showing God's love to others was the reason for the show. I think it was strictly financial. I'm wondering if they're referring to the trickle out affect of their speaking engagements. That seems to be the forum for what they consider their calling/ministry. I'm sure what TLC leaves in is a perk to them. Ministry to others which is salvation in Christ is supposed to be apart of their daily lives. Assemblies of God churches love their Christian celebrities. It gives them validation and it's a fun break. The writer certainly put a shine on them.
TLC has really slanted this family with editing. I never realized how much their faith was apart of their lives until I saw the video of the Q&A that was posted for awhile.

Lizabeth said...

I think the whole "showing God's love" aspect may not have been as strong a reason as this article states. In a few episodes Jon and Kate have talked about how they were always addicted to their video camera (as we have seen when we witness their dating years, etc). I think a more plausible reason is one I've heard them state-- they loved capturing moments when Cara and Mady were little, and with 6 they just couldn't. When you have that many babies around, its tough to run to the bathroom, much less grab a video camera for some cute moments!! I think they saw this in the beginning as a way to honestly document their life. As time went on, it became the whole 'the show is our life and our life is the show' just naturally.

I am a Christian, also from a strict home (Baptist pastor's only daughter with 4 brothers) and feel strongly that it is no ones place or right to judge the faith of another. Thats God and God alone who knows their hearts. I hope Jon and Kate did this for good reasons and really do feel like its a great way to be home with their kids. Like most things, the truth is probably somewhere between that and the financial/free trips reasons. I still don't see how any of us have any right to point fingers when we don't know them outside of what an edited cable show airs weekly.

Anya said...

I have a lot of thoughts on this actually, but I'll keep it (relatively)short for now.

I grew up in a non-religious, almost anti-religious household. I did attend Catholic school for a number of years, but that was mainly because I came from a large urban area where the public schools were not great. Catholic education was the cheapest "private" education my mom could afford.

Like everyone else, I admit to having prejudice. I haven't been exposed to a lot of devotely religious people and most of the people in my life now are on the agnostic side. I am probably guilty of having pre-conceptions of religious folks, and in particular, the more conservative sects, like the Assemblies of God. And my opinions were not always good, I must confess. I associated a lot of them with intolerance and not really adhering to what I take as the central tenet of Christianity - God's love for man and Jesus' compassion for the poor and forsaken.

So I have been pleasantly surprised to see two clearly devotedly religious people on my t.v. screen that are far from perfect and have a sense of humor, which I always appreciate. They are relatable to me, not in every way, but in enough ways that I can connect with them.

J&K and I probably wouldn't agree on a lot of issues, but the Kate and Jon I see on my t.v. screen, to me, are good ambassadors for Christianity. We see that their faith has has helped them through the dark times. We see them fall and pick themselves up. And they give the credit to their faith. It's been a really interesting experience for me to watch them and I really think it's made ME more tolerant and interested in others with different views, which I think can only be a good thing....

Saint said...

Anya, I really like your post. It's so honest.

Lizbeth, I think you hit the nail on the head about their first motivation for doing the show. I've heard them say that, too.

BEE said...

I don't think that it was the only reason that they decided to do the show but I do think it had to of been part of their thought process when weighing the pros and cons.

I recently read an article where Kate talked about bringing someone to faith and she said something along the lines of, if their show/lives brought only one person closer to God then it was all worth it.

I also saw them last february at the Ohio speaking engagement and they said that TLC absolutely edits out most of their faith. They were actually suprised that the clip of Jon and Kate praying before her tummy tuck had been shown.

From simply watching the show many viewers do not get to see how the Gosselins truly practice their faith and their relationship with God. I know that seeing them at a speaking engagement and reading their book has shed more light on the "reality" of their Christian faith, then merely watching the show.

I also do not try and judge them when they squabble or are ugly to one another. No one is perfect, Christians alike! We are a Christian family and we strive everyday to be better people, just like I think Jon and Kate do.

Personally, I would LOVE to see more of their faith shown on the show!

I think that Anya's experience is one reason that the Gosselins continue to do the show and I am grateful that they are touching people! The Gosselins have been given a great opportunity to witness to others, the good, bad and ugly!

Nina Bell said...

Bee,

Thanks for a very insightful post.

You said: "From simply watching the show many viewers do not get to see how the Gosselins truly practice their faith and their relationship with God."

I do get that. To me it is very evident. I can tell by the t-shirts they wear, the scriptures posted around the house and the references they make. I get the feeling that their religion is a very big part of their life.

I also read somewhere that TLC edits out references to their faith. Personally, I am ok with that. I don't believe that should be a major part of the show.

Kelley said...

Fiona,
I didn't have a Bible until I was six, but I accepted christ around 3 or 4. They may have had access to one, or a "Children's Bible" but it doesn't make their family less Christian.

Judgements of the faith of others is not something you can do from watching a show. Even the people I know from church, I can't put a "quantity" on their faith. I honestly think that we need to stop calculating eachother's Christianity and worry about our own. There are many, many times when I am not a good representation of Jesus to others, In fact that is why I don't have a fish sticker on the back of my car. I am a terrible driver and wouldn't want that to reflect on my faith.

The Duggars are wierd. I wouldn't call them a perfect example of a Christian family either. Who wants to be part of a religion that churns out nerds?

I like the Roloffs, but they don't pray on tv. Maybe Kate and Jon consider their faith time to be private. NO child is a great prayer and most need to be coached to pray in a "Traditional Manner". I've heard that Kate spends an hour every morning on the Tredmill, but we don't get to see that ether.

I think that Jon and Kate are great examples of Christians. Becase we all fall short of being the perfect examples.

Nina Bell said...

I am not posting the last comment sent in but I would like to ask the person who sent it in - do you just sit all day watching this site so you can pick apart people's comments and then post your comment with some lame screen name?

I mean WOW! Your comments come in seconds after a person posts.

jace said...

I have enjoyed reading the comments on this issue.

I always find it a bit puzzling that people assert that Christians think they are perfect. The core of Christianity rests on the belief of the sinful nature of mankind that prevents us from reaching God by ourselves. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me." Perfect, we ain't. :) And most Christians I know would never claim to be.

I say this as a Christian in full understanding that there are people who claim to be Christians who are quite judgmental and critical. So I understand the all the hoopla that surrounds public religious figures who have a fall from grace, so to speak.

I do find myself cringing sometimes when I watch how Jon and Kate talk to each other, but I don't think they are being hypocrites really; they admit they have things to work on. Don't we all? I certainly do. Some faults are harder to conquer than others. I have a hard time judging the state of someone else's Christian journey because I haven't perfected my own yet.

a&m mom said...

What does it matter how long it took someone to post?? For the record, I wasn't even looking. It's just timing. Does that invalidate what I have to say?

A&M mom said...

Well, I really don't know now what you or I was referring to.... they're not posted, so I'm lost..

Nina Bell said...

A&m mom

I was directing my comment to someone who had posted something negative about the previous poster's comment and her religious beliefs. They posted right after she posted.

I think that person knew who I was talking about and what I was talking about. That is all the really matters.

Nina Bell said...

And to further explain, I have been receiving quite a few comments that I need to delete because they attack who ever posts here on a regular basis and they come almost immediately after the person posts.

Besides, why would you think that is directed towards you? I don't believe you post here, do you?

seeing the light said...

nina- you have alot more patience than i do! i think i'd tend to read those types of posts and want to throttle someone. good job!

FIONA said...

Kelley,

I can't imagine a 3-4 year old accepting Christ and having any understanding of what they are doing.

No, not having a Bible doesn't mean much, it was an example that I chose to use, that's all. My opinion is based on my observations of Jon and Kate over the years, the way that they behave as a couple and as parent's.

I stated my opinion in what I thought was respectful. I didn't call them names.

However, you did call the Duggar's weird, and that they churn out nerds. Who is the judgemental one?

I think the Duggar's very much walk the walk and talk the talk and I have much more respect for them then I do the Gosselin's. Neither lifestyle would be my choosing, but it is to each family to make those descions.

And yes, the Roloff's do and have prayed on TV.

Anya said...

Kelley said...Judgements of the faith of others is not something you can do from watching a show. Even the people I know from church, I can't put a "quantity" on their faith. I honestly think that we need to stop calculating each other's Christianity and worry about our own."

I agree with what Kelley says here and Lizabeth and others who have chimed in with similar thoughts.

Whether you are a believer or not, I don't know where you feel it is your place to judge how the Gosselins practice their faith. I am *not* talking necessarily about someone like Fiona or the TheMrs. who I think offer their perspectives, but aren't nasty about it. I get that the Gosselins are on t.v. and have opened themselves up to some of this. Again, it comes down to degrees - the level of nitpicking and vitriol directed at the Gosselins about a very personal area of their lives.

I should make something clear from my earlier post - I do not believe most Christians think they are better than others or without faults. My issue has more to do with the attitudes of some (again, the more conservative branches) to others with different lifestyles than their own. I am straying off topic here, however, so I will leave it at that.

I tend to agree with Nina on the degree to which the show addresses their faith. It seems to be a good balance. I guess I just wonder if the Gosselins ever have issues with it.

Saint, thanks for the positive feedback.

Daisy said...

I just received my local Christian Bookstore Christmas Catalogue in the mail and guess who's on the cover! It's the picture that's on their book with a Christmas fireplace background. I tried to find an online picture but couldn't.

There is no article. The DVD and book are being promoted.

There's already been a lot said that I agree with on this thread by Lizabeth, bee, kelley, to name a few.

I'm wondering if when they first negiatiated their contract with TLC if they thought through the whole editing process. If it was me I probably wouldn't have seen the consequences before I was into it. They are showing more of their faith so maybe TLC is editing in favor of it.

When Jon prayed for Kate before her surgery it seemed to me that that's how they operated on a normal basis.

PlankInYourOwnEye said...

I seriously can not understand why anyone would hold up the Roloffs as an example of a good Christian family. The kids are disrespectful and rude. There goes the whole honor your mother and father thing right there. Amy isnt exactly loving to Matt. Most of the time it looks like she cant freaking stand him. Thats quite understandable to me, but a good little Christian wife wouldnt speak out like she does. And Matt, where to start. I dont think Jesus would be so irresponsible. I think those who judge Jon and Kate ought to find a more shining example of Christianity then the Roloffs. Heck there is even a big controversy online because of the twins friends has been making racist comments and the family hasnt been very condemning.

Kelley said...

Perhaps I was advanced. And as for wether or not I knew what I was doing? Yea I did, Because I remember the day, and who I spoke to about it. Mrs. Cricket Land at Granada Heights Friends Church in Whittier California, it was summer,so I was 3 1/2. And I felt like I was a sinner, and so, I prayed for forgiveness. I've never regreted that decision and while I questioned my faith as a teenager, I have always believed what I believed and have re-committed myself many times. To have a stranger tell me that my decision at a young age wasn't possible is quite offensive. Why do we bother praying with children when they're young if they can't grasp what it's about? Why would it matter if people get their kids Bibles at a young age as you imply that it is? Just so they can follow a ritual? That seems more wrong than my attempt at faith at 3 and a half.

And I guess I've just not seen the episodes where the Roloffs pray.



And as for being judgemental...Yep. That is me, I am opinionated and not afraid to say it, however, I was not judging their faith, just their family. nerds to the core. I've heard others call them "zombies" or something, which I thought was a little harsh. Nerds aren't scary, and they can be loveable and even sucessful.

Really Fiona, I wasn't tryng to call you out.

Saint said...

I have noticed more religiosity lately: T-shirts, Bible verses, some on-screen praying. I think Nina's right about it being a good mix at this point. There is a part of the Gospels where Jesus teaches us to guard against trumpeting our prayers and sacrifices before others. Perhaps they are more comfortable with a more quiet faith themselves.

It's nice to know there are posters with so many different faith backgrounds here.

Guinevere said...

Perhaps they are more comfortable with a more quiet faith themselves.

I agree with this; I think there's more than one way to be Christian. I'm not Christian, but at the same time I don't like to hear Christianity used as a club against people - it's one thing if the person acts holier-than-thou and claims their faith as the reason, but I don't see J&K doing that. Since they don't, I think it's important to remember that they are not held to higher standards because of their faith - that is, being a Christian does not mean they are required to be better people. My understanding of Christianity is that it accepts that people are imperfect/"sinners" and that they will err. Most religious faiths are similar - I can't imagine the faith that reasonably expects perfection from its adherents. And being without a religious faith does not mean, obviously, that one does not have a moral code that one lives by.

I would not mind seeing a little more of the Gosselins' religious beliefs on the show, but I wouldn't want a lot more. I like the show the way it is, and I think I might feel preached to if there are were a lot more God-talk. It would really depend on how it was presented, though, I guess.

I think you do get a lot more of a feel for the Gosselins' faith reading their book. It's an interesting, and for me, a different perspective on the world. At one point, Kate talks about all the of things the volunteers gave her and did for her in the first year of the sextuplets' lives. She gives thanks to them but also mentions feeling that they were sent by God. I think from my secular POV, there is a slight feeling like she's giving short shrift to the volunteers by giving God credit. I don't think that's Kate's intention *at all*; I think it's just a different perspective than I am used to and it's hard for me to reconcile praising God and acknowledging that the volunteers acted of their own free will, and not just as agents of God.

FIONA said...

The Duggars are wierd. I wouldn't call them a perfect example of a Christian family either. Who wants to be part of a religion that churns out nerds?
----
Kelley,

It certainly did seem that you where indeed judging their faith in the fact that their kind of religion churns out nerds.

We start praying with toddlers to teach them but in know way can they grasp it all. For one thing, the Bible stories can be very graphic. I had a heck of a time explaining the sacrificing of a lamb to a 5 year old. So you understood being a sinner at age 3? And that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross and was reborn?

That is a deep concept and why most faiths don't confirm a child until the age of 7.

My daughter was "saved" at age 6, while spending a week with her evangelical Grandfather. She was at VBS with her cousins and they all got saved and baptised...without my permission I might add.

I spoke with her on the phone that evening and asked her what it meant and she said that God loved her. That was the extent of her understanding.

However, when she was older, and new the Bible much better, she said the only reason she did what she did, was because her cousins did it too.

All I am trying to say is:

1. You comment about the Duggars was offensive. You don't care how they worship, fine.

2. It is hard for me to fathom a child as young as 3 understanding accepting Christ as their personal savior-who died on the cross and was resuirected.

3. And my opinion is the Jon and Kate are not good stewards of their faith.

MommyZinger said...

I thought that article was fair in that it didn't describe Jon and Kate as perfect people.

I am not familiar with the Assemby of God faith so I don't know how Jon and Kate represent it but I think they are just like every other person that practices a religion - not perfect and don't claim to be.

If they wanted more of their faith represented in the show then they should try to get that but I don't think I would care either way. Whatever they feel represents their lives best, I suppose.

When I watch the show I don't really see much religiosity going on. I think they have inspired people to perservere through family and marital problems. If religion helped them get through rough times, I think that was in the background and not something people focus on specifically.

SamanthaNC said...

Hello Everyone-
None of the Christians that I know, myself included, claim to be perfect. Most of us are pretty quick to proclaim the opposite. In my experience there is a stark difference in people who calim "religion" and people who profess Christianity. The people who I've known that stand on "religion" tend to be the ones who are critical, hypocritical, and judgemental, wagging their fingers at imperfect Christians every chance they get. I see Jon and Kate in many ways when I look at my relationship with my husband. We make each other angry sometimes (just this morning actually!)and we bicker- but we love each other and work through those issues. Being a Christian does NOT mean being perfect, and Jon and Kate readily admit that they aren't. I do think that they strive to be better which is what we all should do- regardless of faith.

SamanthaNC said...

" a good little Christian wife wouldnt speak out like she does" from planksinyourowneyes

I resent this ignorant comment on so many levels- Christian men who truly understand their position do NOT make their wives doormats nor would the women let them!

Lizabeth said...

I am in agreement with Samanthanc and a few of you others who state Christians are not perfect. I forgot to mention that aspect in my earlier post (shows you I really AM imperfect!) but that is another reason I think people should lay off of Jon and Kate. I think the whole "if you had 8 kids you'd understand" statement has been taken out of context and overused. At least from what I have seen, Kate mainly sees that as a way to say "Seriously, people-- keep my situation in perspective!!" I think this addresses how many people out there choose to critique the Gosselins based on their lives and how their children act. Is it wrong that Jon and Kate have been blessed with free things? No- just because you haven't had that chance doesn't mean they are bad people. Is the way the children are being treated harmful? I am not sure, but I feel that so far the kids seem sweet, smart, and well adjusted considering they were all born at once. Plus I love seeing the preemie pics of them and how all 6 are healthy, happy, and have caught up physically to other kids their age.

merryway said...

It's just not fair to judge Kate's faith on a personality trait. Part of my interest in Kate is because her religious background. I do respect all different faiths, but because of my upbringing, I tend to be suspect of Pentecosts to be judgmental and close-minded. This doesn't apply to every single one, but it was certainly the theme of the life. This new generation may be different. From the little I've seen, they wear jeans to church and sing newer songs. Things may have loosened up and gotten more realistic. But there wasn't all a lot of room for error without being told you weren't being a good Christian.

I always wonder what their church thinks of the time Kate was surprising Jon with the FL weekend getaway. He was a little loopy after his drinks and any drinking is a big no no. I'm sure Kate's heard all of her life how it's supposed to be.
It's a common experience for these kids to break-away from all the rules for awhile. That doesn't mean they stopped being Christian, they just have normal human curiosity. The church used to shun secular events like movies. Being so protected can instill a lot of fear of the “outside world”. Some of my friends are still devout, others have gone different paths.

FIONA said...

if you had 8 kids you'd understand" statement has been taken out of context and overused. At least from what I have seen, Kate mainly sees that as a way to say "Seriously, people-- keep my situation in perspective!!"

----
Lizabeth,
I would tend to agree with this statement if Jon and Kate were the working class people we saw in the beginning of the show. Jon away 12 hours at a time, when he worked, Kate struggling at home alone, when the volunteers were gone. Serioulsy though, Kate has had more help raising her kids then not. It is very difficult to have any perpsective for the Gosselin's as who they are now.

And while I do get a kick out of watching the kids, the older they get, the more maladjusted kids I see-again, just my opinion.

chick said...

I think most people know that Christians are not perfect, but I also think the *expectation* of good behavior is higher when people proclaim their christianity.

IMO, a good christian accepts blame when they do something wrong, appologizes to people they hurt, and deals honestly and truthfully with the consequences of their actions. Christians also try not to take blatent advantage of others.

I have seen none of those behaviors on JK8. In the scenes we see, the adults don't act like christians, and they certainly don't model christian behavior to their children.

{{And before I say the following, a disclaimer. I do not believe that dwarfism or quiverful beliefs are disgusting or nasty. I am making a point about the Gosselins and the lack of Christian behavior shown on JK8.}}

I think, frankly, that the rotten and un-christian behaviors shown on JK8 wound up being the "weird disability" that brings in the viewers. It's the Gosselins way to be odd ducks. Let's consider...

LPBW: Dwarfism. A disability that also brings in viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.

Duggars: Quiverful. A belief that brings in the viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.

JK8: Vile adult behavior. Attitude that brings in the viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.

Now, with LPBW and the Duggars, perhaps their faith is shown because there is already a draw (and "ewww!" factor) that attracts new viewers. JK8 on the other hand, claim to be christain, but their behavior is so at odds with those claims that Vile Adult Behavior has become their only draw. Yes, the "ewww!" factor was supposed to be the multiple multiples, but J&K became the car wreck instead.

IOW, take away the VAB, and JK8 are just another family with a lot of kids. If Kate didn't whine, scream, slap her husband, throw tantrums...if Jon didn't act emasculated, yell at the kids, spout sarcasm, and lack empathy...if neither of them mocked their kids on TV, would they be at all interesting? Not in my opinion.

If the focus was on their trying to raise their children in a normal way with christianity as a big part of their lives, the show would be a snooze fest. TPTB know that. So they use VAB as the "ewww!" factor, and draw in the audience that way.

Today, kindness, compassion, humility, and self-knowledge don't get ratings if there isn't another draw. J&K haven't got a draw other than their VAB, so that's what gets shown, and the kids become neccessary detrius, or, as some might say, pure sacrifices to the TV gods.

Guinevere said...

I think most people know that Christians are not perfect, but I also think the *expectation* of good behavior is higher when people proclaim their christianity.

What do you consider to be "proclaiming" your Christianity? How have the Gosselins proclaimed theirs? As I said in a previous post, I only hold Christians to a higher standard if they act holier than thou ("we don't believe in/do x because we're Christian"). It has less to do with Christianity and more to do with hypocrisy.

IMO, a good christian accepts blame when they do something wrong, appologizes to people they hurt, and deals honestly and truthfully with the consequences of their actions. Christians also try not to take blatent advantage of others.

You know, again, I don't see this as having to do with Christianity. These are moral behaviors, regardless of one's chosen faith or lack thereof.

I have seen none of those behaviors on JK8. In the scenes we see, the adults don't act like christians, and they certainly don't model christian behavior to their children.

Maybe they act like imperfect Christians, who are striving to better their behavior?

{{And before I say the following, a disclaimer. I do not believe that dwarfism or quiverful beliefs are disgusting or nasty. I am making a point about the Gosselins and the lack of Christian behavior shown on JK8.}}

I think, frankly, that the rotten and un-christian behaviors shown on JK8 wound up being the "weird disability" that brings in the viewers. It's the Gosselins way to be odd ducks. Let's consider...

LPBW: Dwarfism. A disability that also brings in viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.

Duggars: Quiverful. A belief that brings in the viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.

JK8: Vile adult behavior. Attitude that brings in the viewers because of the "ewww!" factor.


I think this is a pretty out-there interpretation. I don't think any of these shows have an "ewww!" factor-they all have a "well, that's different" factor. For the Roloffs, it's dwarfism; for the Duggars, it's their huge family and unconventional beliefs. For the Gosselins, it's the sextuplets.

If people want to watch a reality show with "vile" adult behavior, I think they'd be pretty disappointed in J&K+8, when you compare it to shows like Rock of Love, The Real World, that Flavor Flav show, etc. These are shows where one really finds vile behavior. I think "vile" is such an extreme word to use in regard to J&K's imperfect behavior. I really think this exaggeration is at the heart of the issues I have with anti-Gosselinites.

Now, with LPBW and the Duggars, perhaps their faith is shown because there is already a draw (and "ewww!" factor) that attracts new viewers. JK8 on the other hand, claim to be christain,

How does one "claim to be Christian"? It's not like claiming to be Lebanese, or something. If you believe in some basic Christian tenets - Jesus Christ was the son of God, etc. - bam, you're a Christian, at least in my eyes. To use a phrase like "claim to be" - it seems to me you are bringing it back to the idea that a certain standard of behavior is expected of Christians, and I just don't agree. Maybe you can be kicked out of/shunned by a particular Christian sect for violating their beliefs, but you can't be kicked out of Christianity just because some strangers don't approve of your behavior. It doesn't work like that.

but their behavior is so at odds with those claims that Vile Adult Behavior has become their only draw. Yes, the "ewww!" factor was supposed to be the multiple multiples, but J&K became the car wreck instead.

Okay, by that token, then, I guess you aren't one of the anti-Gosselin folks who claim that the kids are the only draw of the show and no one would watch if it was just J&K? You don't think the kids are being exploited?

IOW, take away the VAB, and JK8 are just another family with a lot of kids. If Kate didn't whine, scream, slap her husband, throw tantrums...if Jon didn't act emasculated, yell at the kids, spout sarcasm, and lack empathy...if neither of them mocked their kids on TV, would they be at all interesting? Not in my opinion.

So you think their behavior is vile, but you also think it's interesting? If I thought their behavior was vile, I would not be interested, and wouldn't want to watch.

And I just have to say "ugh" to your use of the word "emasculated" - in this day and age, it's so depressing to me to see women spouting these antiquated notion of gender roles. I think that kind of thinking is vile, if anything is.

FIONA said...

Chick,

I have never once thought "ewww" when watching LPBW. I know you are refering to the dwarfism, and yes, I did read your disclaimer, and am confused by it.

I see Matt and Amy as courageous and truly happy people. I don't view them as different at all.

When I watch the Duggar family, I am touched by their rock solid faith. I have never thought "ewww" to them either.

I think the only time I even felt anything close to "ewww" with JK, was when Hannah blew out her diaper. :)

It is interesting to me that people go to great lengths to defend and justify a Christian's behavior and yet find it so easy to put down another family because they are perceived as "different".

I agree with the first part of your post-but you lost me at the end. Maybe it was just word choice, and for some reason it really pisses me off that so many people are so put off by the Duggar's and their faith.

Not you necessarily...

chick said...

What do you consider to be "proclaiming" your Christianity? How have the Gosselins proclaimed theirs? As I said in a previous post, I only hold Christians to a higher standard if they act holier than thou ("we don't believe in/do x because we're Christian"). It has less to do with Christianity and more to do with hypocrisy.

****Their website, their book, their posted bible verses around their house, and their "we don't believe in/do selective reduction because we're christians." Holier than thou? Check. Doomed to be held to a higher standard? Check.

You know, again, I don't see this as having to do with Christianity. These are moral behaviors, regardless of one's chosen faith or lack thereof.

****Kind of disingenious of you, don't you think? Does that mean that moral behaviors have nothing to do with being christian?

Maybe they act like imperfect Christians, who are striving to better their behavior?

****Please detail when either of them have been shown striving to improve?

I think this is a pretty out-there interpretation. I don't think any of these shows have an "ewww!" factor-they all have a "well, that's different" factor. For the Roloffs, it's dwarfism; for the Duggars, it's their huge family and unconventional beliefs. For the Gosselins, it's the sextuplets.

If people want to watch a reality show with "vile" adult behavior, I think they'd be pretty disappointed in J&K+8, when you compare it to shows like Rock of Love, The Real World, that Flavor Flav show, etc. These are shows where one really finds vile behavior. I think "vile" is such an extreme word to use in regard to J&K's imperfect behavior. I really think this exaggeration is at the heart of the issues I have with anti-Gosselinites.

****I think their behavior is vile. Maybe they don't act like the people on the shows you named, but if they did, they'd be on MTV or whatever, not TLC. I think they are the vilest adults I have watched on TLC, is that a better descriptor?

How does one "claim to be Christian"? It's not like claiming to be Lebanese, or something. If you believe in some basic Christian tenets - Jesus Christ was the son of God, etc. - bam, you're a Christian, at least in my eyes. To use a phrase like "claim to be" - it seems to me you are bringing it back to the idea that a certain standard of behavior is expected of Christians, and I just don't agree. Maybe you can be kicked out of/shunned by a particular Christian sect for violating their beliefs, but you can't be kicked out of Christianity just because some strangers don't approve of your behavior. It doesn't work like that.

****One "claims to be Christian" when one's actions do not reflect Christian beliefs and tenents. IMO, J&K fall far short of any sort of definition of Christianity. Showing up in church isn't quite enough.

but their behavior is so at odds with those claims that Vile Adult Behavior has become their only draw. Yes, the "ewww!" factor was supposed to be the multiple multiples, but J&K became the car wreck instead.

Okay, by that token, then, I guess you aren't one of the anti-Gosselin folks who claim that the kids are the only draw of the show and no one would watch if it was just J&K? You don't think the kids are being exploited?

****I can believe that J&K are the current draw of the show due to their car wreck life and simultaneously believe that they are, indeed, exploiting their children by selling their lives to TLC/Figure 8. The two beliefs are not logically mutually exclusive. Frankly, I don't think the kids are all that much of a draw anymore. Kate is being groomed by her PR peeps for "stardom", and the kids are much less of a focus. Good start to an end to the exploitation, but not enough IMO.

IOW, take away the VAB, and JK8 are just another family with a lot of kids. If Kate didn't whine, scream, slap her husband, throw tantrums...if Jon didn't act emasculated, yell at the kids, spout sarcasm, and lack empathy...if neither of them mocked their kids on TV, would they be at all interesting? Not in my opinion.

So you think their behavior is vile, but you also think it's interesting? If I thought their behavior was vile, I would not be interested, and wouldn't want to watch.

****When people love to watch people humiliate themselves during the audition shows for American Idol, and enjoy the crap TV you listed as "vile" above, I think it's obvious vile behavior interests the american TV audience at large. It's why violence leads off local and national newscasts, and why people watch "Cops", "Jerry Springer", and other shows that celebrate and focus on low human behaviors.

And I just have to say "ugh" to your use of the word "emasculated" - in this day and age, it's so depressing to me to see women spouting these antiquated notion of gender roles. I think that kind of thinking is vile, if anything is.

****Actually, I happen to think J is the better parent, more patient with the kids, more willing to accept less than sterile cleanliness, etc. But allowing his wife to treat him like he is a slightly slow preschooler, and allowing her to slap him around emasculates him. I bet if he had had a chat with Kate the first time she belittled him and/or slapped him, explaining why he was not willing to accept that crap from her, she might have stopped, and their relationship would be far less widely mocked.

Truly Christian husbands and wives don't belittle and hurt each other without any apparent effort to change their behaviors.

chick said...

I have never once thought "ewww" when watching LPBW. I know you are refering to the dwarfism, and yes, I did read your disclaimer, and am confused by it.

****Sorry it confused you. I briefly considered using "weird" instead, but I chose another word that I hoped would convey the "shock value" concept.

I see Matt and Amy as courageous and truly happy people. I don't view them as different at all.

****Never watched them, but my point is that the dwarfism is the draw. I have heard positive things about their show. But I bet that some people are originally drawn in to watching because of the unusual life they lead, don't you think?

When I watch the Duggar family, I am touched by their rock solid faith. I have never thought "ewww" to them either.

****Their "extreme" expressions of their faith, i.e., "quiverful" living is, again, the draw. If people are brought into their show by a belief they will see weird stuff, that makes their beliefs the reason for their audience.

I think the only time I even felt anything close to "ewww" with JK, was when Hannah blew out her diaper. :)

****Well, the way Kate treats Jon and her sons makes me go "ewww!" Heck, the way she and Jon treat Mady and Alexis makes me pretty disgusted as well. I am pretty immune to diaper issues myself, so....

It is interesting to me that people go to great lengths to defend and justify a Christian's behavior and yet find it so easy to put down another family because they are perceived as "different".

****Yes, defenders of J&K who cite their Christianity puzzle me as well. I think people have a bizzare belief that saying one is a christian excuses a multitude of bad behaviors.

I agree with the first part of your post-but you lost me at the end. Maybe it was just word choice, and for some reason it really pisses me off that so many people are so put off by the Duggar's and their faith.

Not you necessarily...

****Well, I tried to watch the Duggars once, and was glad to see that they at least seem to truly live their faith, but their show isn't interesting to me. I think they have every right to live as they choose, and that the ublicity they receive means people will, inevitably, critcise them. I bet they can handle it though, because they seem pretty secure in themselves. Unlike J&K.

Anya said...

FIONA said..."Maybe it was just word choice, and for some reason it really pisses me off that so many people are so put off by the Duggar's and their faith."

For what it's worth, I am not at all "put off" by the Duggar's and I partially credit the various J&K controversies for making me be a bit more compassionate in viewing those who have a different belief system than I do.

Overall, there are many things I don't agree with the Duggar parents on, and they are less relatable to me than Jon and Kate because we hardly ever see anything other than proper upstanding behavior from them all. I was shocked when they admitted they weren't morning people! :-)

However, and this is a BIG, however, I know they love each other and their kids completely. I know they are doing everything they can do live by their interpretation of God's word. Their children are polite and well-spoken - seemingly very well cared for despite the family's size. They all seem happy, so who am I to judge?

They have been called "weird" - I say big deal! I think people who are a little different are interesting.

merryway said...

TLC has really slanted this family with editing. I never realized how much their faith was apart of their lives until I saw the video of the Q&A that was posted for awhile.

I said that above thread. Not that anyone cares, but in the sense of honesty, I remembered this was wrong. It was when they did their new website thatI realized how much their religion was a part of their life.

Guinevere said...

****Their website, their book, their posted bible verses around their house, and their "we don't believe in/do selective reduction because we're christians." Holier than thou? Check. Doomed to be held to a higher standard? Check.

I do not agree that simply talking about one's faith makes one "holier than thou". I'm not sure that I've seen either J or K specifically state that they don't believe in selective reduction because they are Christian, but if they have, it just seems to me to be them stating their interpretation of their faith. Not sure why that automatically means they should be held to a higher standard.

To me, "holier than thou" would be them commenting on someone else's behavior, and then stating that they don't behave like that, because they are Christian. Kind of like all the Christians that judge them, ignoring the various Biblical verses that warn against making judgments on others.

****Kind of disingenious of you, don't you think? Does that mean that moral behaviors have nothing to do with being christian?

I know that some Christians think they do. But when you are talking about basic human decency, I'm not comfortable with labeling those "Christian values" - it suggests to me that people of other faiths or people without religous faith don't value those things.

****Please detail when either of them have been shown striving to improve?

Okay, have you never seen a moment on the show of either Jon or Kate behaving decently towards each other or towards their children? Because I've seen many, many such moments. For all I know, some of those moments are a result of a conscious effort to work on their flaws - to not snap at each other, to be better parents. Kate does something like hugs and kisses her sons and all she gets online is criticism and disgust over her "phoniness". Assuming that the "Kate prefers her girls over her boys" claim has some validity (I don't think it does), isn't it fair to say that Kate showing affection to her sons could be evidence of striving to do better?

****I think their behavior is vile. Maybe they don't act like the people on the shows you named, but if they did, they'd be on MTV or whatever, not TLC. I think they are the vilest adults I have watched on TLC, is that a better descriptor?

I guess. I think you and I have very, very different definitions of the word "vile", though.

****One "claims to be Christian" when one's actions do not reflect Christian beliefs and tenents. IMO, J&K fall far short of any sort of definition of Christianity. Showing up in church isn't quite enough.

So, again, we are back to the notion of the Perfect Christian. They are not allowed to be flawed, or maybe you decide how flawed they are allowed to be and still be called Christian? I'm sorry, but that is messed up.

Do you really think that your judgmentalism and extreme lack of compassion makes you a poster child for Christianity? Because I am not seeing it.

****When people love to watch people humiliate themselves during the audition shows for American Idol, and enjoy the crap TV you listed as "vile" above, I think it's obvious vile behavior interests the american TV audience at large. It's why violence leads off local and national newscasts, and why people watch "Cops", "Jerry Springer", and other shows that celebrate and focus on low human behaviors.

I don't see J&K as humiliating themselves, nor do I see the show as akin to watching a carwreck. Both are huge overstatements, IMO. I don't usually watch the other shows you list, but I've caught a few minutes of "Maury" here and there (are all his shows about DNA tests now?) and there is absolutely no comparison, in my mind, to J&K+8.

I think most viewers, unaware of the "controversy" that is constantly stirred up by a small band of internet denizens would be very surprised by the way you describe the show, and would likely not even recognize it by your description.

****Actually, I happen to think J is the better parent, more patient with the kids, more willing to accept less than sterile cleanliness, etc.

Of course you do. Because Kate has to stand out uniquely as the Worst Person Ever Born.

But allowing his wife to treat him like he is a slightly slow preschooler, and allowing her to slap him around emasculates him.

If she allowed him to treat her in a similar way, would it reflect on her femininity in some way?

I think he does allow certain behaviors, and thus is complicit in them. They have, IMO, a slightly unhealthy dynamic where she is the stern mom and he is the naughty little kid, her ninth child, if you will. It only works some of the time because sometimes she doesn't want a ninth kid, and sometimes he doesn't want to be scolded. They could stand to interact in more healthy, mature way, to be sure, and I think that is both of their responsibilities. But I don't think it has anything to do with Jon's masculinity or lack thereof.

jace said...

"Their website, their book, their posted bible verses around their house, and their "we don't believe in/do selective reduction because we're christians." Holier than thou? Check. Doomed to be held to a higher standard? Check."

I've been trying to wrap my brain around this comment. Because it almost saying that if you dare to show your faith, boy are we going to judge you. We don't give a rip about how anyone else treats their spouses. That brings up an interesting point though. Would the criticism be as harsh toward them if there were no evidence of their faith?

I'm not trying to stir up anything, I am honestly curious. There seem to be quite a few people who take particular delight in bashing them for not being good enough Christians. You know, how dare they display a Bible verse and then not be perfect. In my opinion, if they were perfect they wouldn't need to post reminders from the Bible. :)

Maybe I'm missing it but I'm not seeing a holier-than-thou attitude from them either. We all have met people who are completely self righteous and they sure haven't all been Christians. It's a human failing not necessarily a Christian one.

Out of curiosity, do people really think that if I have a verse on my fridge or mention church that I think that I am better than them? Really? That's the last thing that I would want people to think. Hmm. Something to ponder.

Anya said...

jace said..."Out of curiosity, do people really think that if I have a verse on my fridge or mention church that I think that I am better than them? Really? That's the last thing that I would want people to think. Hmm. Something to ponder."

Speaking for myself only, no I would not have believed you thought you were better than me, but I *might* have made other assumptions (until I got to know you). I might have thought that you wouldn't have a sense of humor or that you would be very judgmental against people who don't think like you. In short, I might think you wouldn't be much "fun"! I have learned that I may have been a bit too quick in the past to make suppositions based on very little information about the person.

A quick note about the Bible verses. I just finished "Multiple Blessings" and one of the things Kate mentions is that her mom decorated the hospital room where she spent several months with index cards with her favorite Bible sayings on them. Kate mentions how much comfort they brought her. I thought it was very thoughtful of her mom and might explain why we see the Bible verses taped up around the Gosselins home now.

Tricia said...

I didn't receive a Bible until I was in 4th grade- and my mother is a pastor. I am an adult now and still don't understand some of the things in it- each person is different in their spirituality.

The thing is, no one on earth is qualified to be judging anyone- that is one of the main points of Christianity.

themrs said...

a note about the Bible verses... we do this at our house. they are not for the benefit of others but for us personally. i tape verses concerning certain weaknesses we each struggle with in appropriate places. for example, i am very much an emotional eater. so on my fridge is a verse about self control and a verse about finding peace in the Lord. i also struggle with body image, so on my bathroom mirror is a verse that says "man looks at outward appearances but the Lord looks at the heart". i have them all over the house, even in my car (since i have terrible road rage ;) they are not to "advertise" to others that i am a christian, they are to remind ME what i am working to become. i also have them up for my children about what the Lord thinks of them and how perfectly they were created! (and of course, the old standby.. honor your mother and father!)

chick said...

chick..."But allowing his wife to treat him like he is a slightly slow preschooler, and allowing her to slap him around emasculates him."

guinevere..."If she allowed him to treat her in a similar way, would it reflect on her femininity in some way?"

chick..."Yes, I certainly would think of Kate as a weak and ineffective woman if Jon treated her as she treats him. I would love to have a word that was the feminine equal to emasculate, but I can't find one, so..."

chick said...

and also to guinevere...

****Actually, I happen to think J is the better parent, more patient with the kids, more willing to accept less than sterile cleanliness, etc.

Of course you do. Because Kate has to stand out uniquely as the Worst Person Ever Born.

****Oh, please don't put words in my mouth, Kate may be vile and unappealing IMO, but she is nowhere near the worst person ever. What a silly exageration!

See, I can dislike the way Kate acts, and even dislike Kate herself based on what I have seen of her in various media formats without GWoPing her. I am discussing Kate AS I KNOW HER, through media, not AS I KNOW HER because somehow I can tell everything about her from TV and print.

I dislike what I see of Kate. Period. What I see of Kate and Jon makes me question their dedication to their christian beliefs. And that's the point of this entry, yes? To gather opinions on whether readers see Jon and Kate as model christians?

chick said...

and for jace...

"Their website, their book, their posted bible verses around their house, and their "we don't believe in/do selective reduction because we're christians." Holier than thou? Check. Doomed to be held to a higher standard? Check."

I've been trying to wrap my brain around this comment. Because it almost saying that if you dare to show your faith, boy are we going to judge you. We don't give a rip about how anyone else treats their spouses. That brings up an interesting point though. Would the criticism be as harsh toward them if there were no evidence of their faith?

****Although I have been sent to the "naughty corner" for saying this before, when J&K put themselves out for public consumption, they set themselves up to be judged on EVERY action they take. If they ever get tired of being judged, they probably need to end their show. Face it, people judge what they experience. If 10 million people see you scream at your spouse/kids, you're going to be judged in some way bu all of them. I honestly think their faith has little to do with the fact that they're judged BECAUSE they don't make a huge thing about their faith on the show. People who only watch JK8 on TLC don't see as much as people who frequent GDNNOP and other sites.

I'm not trying to stir up anything, I am honestly curious. There seem to be quite a few people who take particular delight in bashing them for not being good enough Christians. You know, how dare they display a Bible verse and then not be perfect. In my opinion, if they were perfect they wouldn't need to post reminders from the Bible. :)

****Not to be all cliche, but there is no perfect Christian, as we all likely know. What I am not seeing on the TV or in other media appearances, is acceptance of fault, attempts to be better christians, etc. I'm not drinking the Kool-aid that makes people think blogs can cause "damage control", either, LOL!

Maybe I'm missing it but I'm not seeing a holier-than-thou attitude from them either. We all have met people who are completely self righteous and they sure haven't all been Christians. It's a human failing not necessarily a Christian one.

****OK, so we can combine the "holier than thou" with "better than you" and cover all the bases, if you like? IMO, J&K give off a very smug and self-satisfied attitude. My perception may differ from yours.

Out of curiosity, do people really think that if I have a verse on my fridge or mention church that I think that I am better than them? Really? That's the last thing that I would want people to think. Hmm. Something to ponder.

****Well, do millions of people watch you on TV and not actually know you? If so, do those millions judge you by what they see and read only? If you're living on a reality show, you likely will be judged by strangers and found sadly lacking somewhere. But if you are living a "normal" life, it's likely people who might judge your verses or your mention of church might be able to get to actually KNOW you, and they would then find out your true self.

Guinevere said...

Yes, I certainly would think of Kate as a weak and ineffective woman if Jon treated her as she treats him. I would love to have a word that was the feminine equal to emasculate, but I can't find one, so...

You could simply say unfeminine. But I don't believe people who cleave to traditional gender roles see being weak and ineffective as unfeminine (more's the pity).

Oh, please don't put words in my mouth, Kate may be vile and unappealing IMO, but she is nowhere near the worst person ever. What a silly exageration!

I think "vile" is a silly exaggeration, too. Not sure where you wanted to stop with the hyperbole.

I dislike what I see of Kate. Period. What I see of Kate and Jon makes me question their dedication to their christian beliefs. And that's the point of this entry, yes? To gather opinions on whether readers see Jon and Kate as model christians?

I don't think so. Again, I'm not a Christian, but I don't see the point in holding anyone up as a "model Christian". No one is perfect, and everyone, Christian, Hindu, or whatever, should be focussing on what they need and want to improv in themselves instead of judging other people and finding them wanting. JMO.

BEE said...

I too have scripture verses on my fridge and around the house. The reason I post them is to remind myself of God's love and that he is always with me, to have my children learn the verses(when they begin to read) and to be a constant reminder that I need to always be striving to be a better person. I certainly don't do it for any other reason, certainly not because I think I am better then anyone else.

As for why Kate and Jon have verses around their house, I can't say for sure but I bet it is for similar reasons.

Also, I believe it was in the 700 club clip on the internet or perhaps in her book but Kate touches on selective reduction. Even though it was not an option for them personally, she was very kind in saying that everyone has to make their own choices. I can't remember her exact wording and don't want to quote her incorrectly, but she came across as very sincere and that either decision was a difficult one.

If anything, I think Kate's faith is what grounds her. She is not perfect and readily admits to that.

Disappointed said...

JMHO but Jon and Kate talk the talk but don't seem to be walking the walk. And it bothers me to no end that she constantly says "Lordy Be" Isn't that taking the Lord's name in vain. I am a Christian and realize that we are all imperfect but they have put themselves out there on the "church" curcuit. Lately they rate up there with Jim & Tammy Baker.

Anya said...

Disappointed said..."Lately they rate up there with Jim & Tammy Baker."

This isn't really the topic at hand, but I did want to weigh in. I haven't really followed Jim Baker's career since his release from prison, but whatever mistakes Tammy may have made as a human and a Christian, I think she certainly suffered towards the end of her life (long battle with cancer). Obviously, I didn't know her personally, but I saw quite a few interviews with her and she appeared to be a very sweet and humble lady.

If we want to name names, I'll nominate James Dobson (Focus on the Family) as a Christian I personally don't care for, and think is a poor role model for Christians.

Disappointed said...

Anya: I am not doubting that Tammy Faye was a sweet lady but she and Jim SCAMMED little old ladies out of their money. There is a whole list of tv ministers that do the same thing and skeeve me out. In my mind there is not much worse than using God to further a greedy agenda. If Kate believes as she told Collin that God punishes, she better watch out.

Lizabeth said...

RE: Jon and Kate 'scamming' people....
I am kinda sick of all that talk. Yes, in the past they asked for money. No one had access to their banking records BUT Jon and Kate. As we have seen, Julie is not the best judge of all details, since there are other areas she was wrong in. How do we know for a fact they had thousands tucked away for a rainy day? I hope they had a little bit just in case (which everyone should) but seriously-- do you honestly think they had so much money set aside that the funds people donated willingly were not needed or used properly? Six babies-- all of which are preemies-- are expensive. Beyond that the thought of having to get six of everything had to be overwhelming-- at least from my perspective, Jon and Kate did need the extra they asked for at that time.

Since then people continue to complain about the love offerings (I am a pastor's daughter and know that our churches do a love offering no matter who is speaking-- its just the way we work) as well as the fact that they charge for pictures. That is their choice though! People are not contractually obligated to purchase pictures of the kids if they feel they are too expensive. I remember reading a review of their speaking engagement once where the person lamented how expensive the picture they bought was, and thought "Uhh.... then why did you buy it??"

I just think that the whole 'scamming' thing is too far. At this point it is obvious their financial situation has settled down-- in only 4 years. That is pretty awesome, and due in part to people who graciously gave when Jon and Kate needed it. And they do give back-- we know their garage sale benefited a charity (though this was seen as damage control) and that they gave back to the Ronald McDonald house (oops damage control again!!). That is just what we see on TV-- again, there is no way for us to know the exact details, so I really feel it is unfair to judge so harshly.

Just my opinion on the matter, but it just doesn't seem right to go and say they are still scamming (when even GWoP states they are not) and that they knowingly cheated people out of money (when as I stated above there is no concrete way to prove this statement).

Nina Bell said...

Anonymous,

Please re-submit your comments using a screen name. We have this notice posted on the right hand side of our blog and also above the box when you type in your comment. It is easier to respond to someone with a screen name.
Thank you

FIONA said...

I don't think they are scamming anymore. I think they have gotten to a point where they don't have to.

People love them, TLC loves them and makes oodles of money off them.

It was the means to the end result for JK, IMO. Do I think they got to this point unscrupuosly, um, No!

Anya said...

I agree with Lizabeth on this one. If you read "Multiple Blessings" (I have), Kate addresses how tough that first year was. Jon was out of work for most of it. Yes, people were coming forward with donations and I understand Jon's dad helped them out, but I think there were times there was concern about making their mortgage. Now, maybe you don't believe Kate's version of events, but I found nothing in there that made me think she was exaggerating the financial stress they were under. I just don't believe they had a bunch of money socked away the whole time that they wouldn't touch.

Everyone knows their circumstances have changed drastically since then, but if I were Kate and Jon, recognizing that I had at minimum, another 14 years to raise these kids, money would always be on my mind. It's just the way I am and I sense Kate is that way too.

I don't believe they have "scammed" anyone either now or in the past. Whether you agree with all their choices or not, I just don't *get* the perception of them as "con artists."

Disappointed said...

Sorry but I think they "scammed" people at everyone of their church chats. And given the amount of untruths or contradictions that come out of both of their mouths on a weekly basis, I am not so sure I would believe anything written in their book. I am at a loss why people continue to defend everything these two glutons do.

Lizabeth said...

Disappointed- I think there are two schools of thought regarding all this-- those that feel the Gosselin's are guilty until proven innocent, and those that feel they are innocent until proven guilty. I can't say that they have 'scammed' people at church speaking engagements, since I have never been to one. In fact, from the videos I have seen it appears they have not mentioned *current* financial strain in quite some time. Yes, they talk about their past obstacles (which as anya said is mentioned in the book) but that is a part of their story and the story of the tups. I can't fault them for talking about their past, and have no concrete evidence they continue to make these statements in the present.

Have you been to one of those speaking engagements within the past year and heard them talk of current financial stress? If so then I agree it is not appropriate, but as I stated before I can't make the leap to call them 'scam artists.' It seems as though there are many gracious people that have offered to help-- when the Gosselin's had needs, they would mention them. Now that their financial needs are set it appears they are no longer mentioning them.

This is all just my opinion of course, but I am of a mind to believe they are innocent until proven (by video, or myself witnessing something) to be guilty. As we have all learned lately, statements on blogs and comments on sites are not fool proof. I choose to look for the good in others, unless I had personally seen something to contradict that fact.

Disappointed said...

Lizabeth: I have never nor would I pay to see the Gosselins. That said, there was a link to an audio sermon at one of the churchs they spoke at in early 2008. I actually downloaded the talk to CD and listened to the entire thing. They reinterated their tale of woe and then the offering was taken. It is a case of ommission, they did not tell the congregation how well off they are now. Yes God blessed them with paper towels but they did not mention being blessed with tummy tucks, teeth whitening and innumerable vacations. As a Christian, I have always been taught that God will supply your NEEDS but Jon & Kate seemingly put out their outrageous wants out there and miraculously stuff appears. Nice work if you can get it. I suppose their motto is "Ask and ye shall receive"

mom of hope said...

I know there are some churches, maybe enven some denominations, that believe in the "Pray, Believe, Receive" mantra that teaches that God wants his people to be successfull, so if you trust God with your financial needs and wants, and you are faithful, God will give you what you want. There was an interesting Newsweek article not too long ago that tied some of this to part of the mortgage crisis, saying that some Christians felt that God was blessing them with a mortgage even though their credit was not great. I don't know if Jon & Kate subscribe to this belief, but it certainly comes to mind in this sitaution.

Lizabeth said...

Disappointed- I agree that the timing of when they mention their financial past may have been... well... interesting, but were Jon and Kate aware of when the offering would be taken? Did they know ahead of time what the schedule was? For that matter, is it even appropriate to mention things like tummy tucks and hair plugs in that church? I am a Pastor's daughter and spent my life as one of the first at church and last to leave. I understand your perspective that it seems like whenever they want something it is suddenly handed to them, but why is that a problem? I see it as being another thing to be thankful for (which they definitely seem to be from the shows where they have those opportunities). I can see why it would frustrate people that Jon and Kate got so many things and then ALSO get whatever they want, but I cannot see why that is something I have any power over. As with the recent episode in Hawaii, the Grand Wailea is definitely benefiting more from the Gosselin's stay than the family is. This is just to say that yes, God does supply your *needs* and at times supplies your wants as well. I know this for a fact, since I recently got a new job (yay!) which pays about three times what my old one did. Do I deserve it? Thats debatable :). Am I thankful for it? Ohhh yeah. I didn't *need* that much extra money, but I am planning to use it to buy a house and things like that, so while its above and beyond my hopes, I am going to do what I can with what I was blessed with.

I hope you can see where I am coming from-- as a fellow Christian I know its tough to see people skyrocket from their meager past to sudden blessing. I have had friends become resentful that I have gotten this new job. But at the same time, who am I to shut a door that God opened for me when the timing, logistics, and everything out played out perfectly? Why should Jon or Kate turn down opportunities for themselves or their family which are given through the show?

Guinevere said...

Sorry but I think they "scammed" people at everyone of their church chats.

You're free to think whatever you want, but unless you have attended every one of their speaking engagements, you're just speculating.

I have not listened to the "early 2008" audio tape, but I would have a lot of questions that would need to be answered before I felt confident to speak as you have of "scamming". Just a few: 1) how do we know the audio is actually from when it's said to be from?; 2) do J&K explicitly state that they are in financial need now, or are they talking about past need? Is it open to interpretation?; 3) is the "offering" explicitly stated as addressing that supposed financial need? Or is it the type of offering that many, many people have come forward and said is common in lieu of a speaker fee at some churches?

And given the amount of untruths or contradictions that come out of both of their mouths on a weekly basis, I am not so sure I would believe anything written in their book.

I know we're not going to see eye to eye on this, but I just don't believe I've ever "caught" J&K in a lie or "untruth". The claim that they are liars seems based on an extremely loose interpretation of the word: "J&K claimed in one episode a year ago that their kids didn't like TV, but then how do they know who the Sesame Street characters are in the visit to Sesame Place? They are such liars!"

As for contradictions, I think most of the things you call lies are simply that. And most human beings contradict themselves all the time. It's the nature of the beast. I think you find so many "contradictions" with J&K when you take every statement they utter as an unchangeable fact; then anything that doesn't jibe with it becomes a "contradiction." No one can withstand that level of scrutiny without contradicting themselves.

I am at a loss why people continue to defend everything these two glutons do.

People believe different things. I am at a loss as to why people continue to watch and talk about a show they hate. I am at a loss as to why so much vitriol is directed towards total strangers. People are weird.

Lizabeth said...

Mom of Hope-- that is my experience with it, too. Ask and you shall receive does not apply to just paper towels or money for your mortgage. This is more than just praying to get the perfect amount needed to make ends meet for the moment- its about having faith that God will provide what you need, when you need it, and that He knows better than we do what those things are.

That being said, a tummy tuck and hair plugs are of course not needs. As I stated before, though, I don't see how its wrong or bad for Jon and Kate to accept things that are offered.

(And for the record, I only ever post with my blogger account and offer again that if anyone has doubts I am legit I can link you to my Facebook, etc. I saw posts 'over there' by an Elizabeth, and wanted to make sure that was clarified :)! Too much craziness online nowadays to worry about people not being who they say they are...)

Disappointed said...

Lizabeth: Congratulations on the new job! Guinevere: I got that directly from the church website where they have the weekly sermons available for everyone to hear. I heard it directly from Jon & Kate and we all know that if they say it, it must be true. My problem with it is this, there are many people on tv using the name of the good Lord to further their own (financial) agendas. IMO that is what Jon & Kate do. Perhaps if they were standing at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington telling their story to a group of people and those people ponied up cash, it would not bother me so much. The fact that they chose to market themselves to church people (who tend to be rather generous and charitable) is what bothers me. I still think they are making their living off of their children which is wrong in my opinion.

Guinevere said...

I got that directly from the church website where they have the weekly sermons available for everyone to hear. I heard it directly from Jon & Kate and we all know that if they say it, it must be true.

I've never said that everything coming out of J&K's mouth is true. I've said that I think they are better authorities and sources for certain information than disgruntled in-laws of in-laws or message board posters who don't even know them, maybe.

If you want to transcribe the relevant portions of the talk, I'll read it. I have the feeling we may interpret what was said differently, but I don't know for sure.

My problem with it is this, there are many people on tv using the name of the good Lord to further their own (financial) agendas. IMO that is what Jon & Kate do.

I disagree, but even if it were true, I don't think it's fair to blame them for what other unscrupulous preachers do, or be more angry at them or suspicious of them because of other people's misbehavior.

The fact that they chose to market themselves to church people (who tend to be rather generous and charitable) is what bothers me.

Are the churches that book them not also responsible? It seems to me that if parishoners or being misled and donating money to people who don't need it, the person who brought those people into church, thus tacitly giving their story legitimacy, bear some of the blame.

Lizabeth said...

Thanks, disappointed-- I appreciate it!

I do agree with guinevere here though. The churches have to be responsible for the people they choose to come and speak. People have to take personal responsibility! This goes for Jon and Kate, too- I was impressed at how Kate admitted her faults and explained things she had been criticized for in their book.

While I am definitely a fan of the show, I was not nearly as supportive of Jon and especially Kate till I read the book. It helped me see a different side of Kate, and made her seem more real. Maybe that is part of the reason why I feel the 'scam artist' label is so harsh- I have seen a different side (well... I guess *read* a different side!) of this family and can see more of myself in who Kate is.

As far as 'marketing themselves to churches' I am not sure where that comes from. Is there something I am missing on their website which states they will speak in churches specifically? As far as I know, Jon and Kate were asked to begin talking to groups and it naturally began in churches, since their faith is so important. I know they speak in other places too (there were youtube vids awhile ago of them in a mall, correct?) but I am not sure if the fact that they end up speaking at churches who contact them means they or their PR firm are out there actively seeking these sessions.

Disappointed said...

My observations are based entirely on what I see on my tv and what I have garnered from their own - before the PR firm - website. And yes, I totally agree that the churches who booked them are also responsible. Personally if my church wanted them to come speak, I would speak out against it. As for reading the book, if someone wants to transcribe it for me, I will read, otherwise I think I will donate my $19.99 to some WORTHY cause, not the I gimmie gimmie gimmie Gosselins. Plenty of families go through alot more in life and make due with alot less and still Praise the Lord.

Rosey in Washington said...

I dont understand how they accuse TLC of "editing out" them talking about their faith when TLC lets the Duggars talk about their faith ALL THE TIME. It just doesn't make sense...why would they edit it out of J&K but not out of 17 Kids and Counting??

Also, if I was having a network film my life for the world to see, and they always edited out the most important part of my life (the Gosselins faith for example) I don't think I would continue to let them film me...so I guess it doesn't bother the Gosselins enough to make them pull the plug.

Anonymous said...

" If Kate believes as she told Collin that God punishes, she better watch out."

I don't recall her saying "punished" though I could be mistaken.

I thought she was implying about God having built in consequences. He is a parent of all of us and therefor his love can include consequences and not necessarily punishments.

The consequence of disobeying about running is that likely you will fall. It isn't a punishment, it is a consequence of the action.

I actually liked her statement so it would surprise me if she used the word punishment.

Humans have free will--a free will without consequence...I'm not sure how God could have a faithful following if all free will was without consequence. What would be the spiritual incentive to freely choose to follow God if there were no negative consequence of not choosing to be with him.

I struggle with that.

I give my kids consequences--but being without their Nintendo DS due to misbehavior is hardly punishing. It is simply a privilege they cannot enjoy.

Nina Bell said...

Anonymous,

I put your last comment through but I need you to pick a screen name and use it please in the future. We have this info stated on the home page and above the comment box.