Eugene Cho

if i were jon and kate’s pastor


Since I was intending to write some posts on marriage, dating, and some other issues related to relationships in the coming month, I thought I’d share a few personal thoughts about Jon & Kate’s announcement to proceed with divorce and end their marriage.  Umm, this despite saying I wasn’t going to blog about them.  Just this once.

Last night’s show was the first full show I’ve seen. I’ve seen snippets here and there. For whatever reason, I remember the episode where they were at church, sharing their story in front of their church community with their pastor, and recounting God’s faithfulness in their lives.

And now, it’s come to this…  Last night’s announcement had no mention of God, covenant, church, community, or prayer. I wonder what kind of pastoral/spiritual care and counseling they are seeking and receiving. So, let me ask you:

If you were in Jon & Kate’s community group or was their pastor, how would you advise/counsel them?

I have no personal feelings for the Gosselins since I have no relationship with them but it is indeed sad to see their marriage exposed and explode in the public arena of reality TV. Let me also say that I really have no idea about all the details and gossip. I just know stuff is going on because of the buzz and all the magazine & tabloid covers. But I wanted to share three simple things with them if I was Jon and Kate’s pastor and was approached for counsel:

1. “The show must go on…”  //  No, the show must not go on…the Marriage must go on but the Show is absolutely unessential.  The show needed to have ended a season ago. The show may have been a good idea at one point but it’s no longer a good idea. They’re sharing their pain and drama in front of an audience of people who have no deep soul connection with you. End the show and spend some quality time with your counselors, pastors, community, and family.

Ending the show should have been the announcement on Monday.  Give reconciliation, counseling, and healing a chance without the cameras.

2. Remember your vows. Remember your Covenant with God and with one another.

When you’re angry, upset, hurting, and bitter, our covenant doesn’t often prevail but rather, it’s these feelings.  What they are feeling – anger, bitterness, betrayal, etc.- are all legitimate. They are experiencing every one of them but our feelings can also betray us which is why we make and honor these vows and submit – joyfully, respectfully and at times, painfully – to our Covenant.

Because of our Covenant with one another and with God, we seek to live by Grace.  We strive to listen to the other person, understand, seek counsel, ask for forgiveness and forgive, pray, communicate our feelings, pray some more…  If you believe God brought you together, God can sustain us if we confess, repent, and receive and extend grace to one another.

3. Repent…for God loves you.

It’s as short, honest, and real as possible.  Repent. Apologize. Forgive. And start the healing process.  God has never stopped loving you both and your entire family. Repentance conveys to us that God has a better way for us. It’s painful and a lot of work but there’s a better path.

Despite their announcement, I’d still say:

Reconciliation is possible. Do you believe?

Two more random things somewhat related:

  • What is TLC’s responsibility here?  For goodness sakes, turn off the cameras.
  • Reminds me again: Can anyone resist the power, fame, and glory of “…my precious?”


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60 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    In the end, I’m just disappointed that they’ve chosen to continue the show. Since they spoke about how much their kids mean to them, I’d simply ask them one question:

    “What would help your kids the most? Being on the show or being a family without the show?”

  2. BL78 says:

    Even though Jon and Kate know their marriage is being exposed which is hurting the whole family, they both probably agreed to continue on with the show. Why, since they know they cant financially support the family on their own finances, the show is probably their only source of finance to bring food on the table and clothes on their backs. If they can find another source of financial support, I bet they would cancel the show.

  3. Jason says:

    I completely agree with your advice – perhaps that’s the pastor in me, as well. My wife is really into the show and because of the buzz I’ve been watching it with her and the thought that kept going through my head was: “Where’s the pastor? Where’s the talk about seeking counseling?”

    While I am well-aware that this has been something in the works for quite some time, there has been very little talk about canceling the show, which seems to me as the simplest, most obvious solution to their marital woes…and the best thing for their children. That’s wouldn’t be a quick fix, but it would go a long ways toward reconciliation.

  4. nanette says:

    Probably many thinking parents out there are thinking this–that the couple sacrificed their chance at being a family to fame and fortune. Sounds like a deal with the devil and TLC should be ashamed.

  5. DD says:

    * Jon and Kate’s business is really none of ours. The show is cute, but it’s also titilating. It’s gossip. Do I really care what happens to them? In a general way, yes … as I do for all humankind. But specifically, not at all. They are not part of my sphere of influence in the least. TLC knows that and could care less.

    * Reality shows always take advantage of people in unfair ways and the people who say “yes” to being on those show don’t really seem to know, or care. One can only imagine the legal documents people like Jon and Kate signed before agreeing to being on the show. Can you imagine if, say, Eugene said “yes” to Quest being on a reality show? People in the church would come unglued. Their internal compass would be saying to them, rightly, “Eugene, you’ve lost your mind. This is just wrong, just plain wrong.” So few people seem to have internal checks in their lives when the opportunity for a little money and fame come along. It’s sad.

    * If the show goes on, well, that sad, too. But Jon and Kate, like everyone else on the planet, will reap what they sow in life. I always do. Why should it be different for them? I guess that could be a lesson to us — When somebody sins, somebody pays. And usually lots of somebodies (read … children, the most vulnerable and most fragile).

  6. […] I felt compelled to write about the Gosselins. Thankfully, I read Eugene Cho’s blog first: If I was Jon & Kate’s pastor.  I really couldn’t have said it any better!  Nice job, […]

  7. Great thoughts Eugene. I agree with you completely! I also believe they should be seeking spiritual advice and ending the show.

    Its too bad that we (as viewers) continue to watch the show even though they are hurting and need to turn off the cameras and focus on their marriage right now. We could help TLC make a decision to support the couple by NOT watching!!

  8. Wayne Park says:

    great post. shame on the producers. They’re implicitly guilty and more people should be calling them out.

  9. Joel says:

    Well said, Pastor Eugene. It’s quite a heartbreaking situation–and a reminder that we are each all so broken and in need of the Lord. My wife and I actually prayed for the Gosselin’s last night after watching the show–the first time we’ve ever prayed for reality tv show cast members. :-/

  10. I’ll have to finish reading this later today during a break, but what I really want to know is why anyone in their right mind would knowingly do a reality show on their life. I’m pretty sure that virtually everyone who’s ever done this and had the “ugly” parts of their life exposed on TV has had their life come unglued (you’ve got that right, DD). Every marriage has either struggled hardcore or fallen appart. Every family finds their drama on public display and it rips them apart.

    Why do people think it will be different for them? Every time I hear about some new family putting themselves on TV I start both praying for them as well as a mental count-down to implosion. It’s tragic, but history has proven this to be the case. *No one* can handle living under that kind of microscope for very long.

    BL78: I think I disagree with you on the food provision bit, though as a disclaimer I’m a single mid-20-something so I don’t really know what it costs to raise 8 kids (or even 1 for that matter). I think that they could afford to raise the 8 (folks do it across america), but I doubt they could do it with the lifestyle they’re currently used to.

  11. Eugene Cho says:

    @BL78: it’s clear that money impacts their decision on some level. supporting a family of 8 young children is…difficult to say the least. But even if they were to have stopped the show, I think the outpouring of love and support (incl. financial support) would have been overwhelming.

    @DD: how did you know about the quest church reality show?

  12. Rich says:

    Eugene –
    I picked up on the “the show must go on” piece, as well, and was equally disturbed. I never knew they were professing Christians. I only knew that conservative evangelicals made heroes of them, hung a picture over their mantles, and “blindly” invited the Goslins into their home week after week (and in some cases into their churches).
    The show does not have to go on and the fact that they are continuing to subject themselves and their family to this nonsense further details their greed for fame and attention.
    But before I get too amped about slamming them, I have to be honest that the craving for fame and the love of strangers is deep within each of us.
    It’s deep within me.
    Why else would we blog, facebook, twitter, friendfeed, text, purchase exclusive items, etc?
    Because we want attention. We want to know that someone loves us. We hope that would be interested in us enough to follow our every move.
    There is.
    His name is Jesus.
    He’s God’s son.
    His Spirit is present and wants to connect with you.

  13. nourisha says:

    at this point, i can’t believe their children are the most important thing because they have chosen to continue to exploit their children rather than remove them from the public eye during this time of turmoil and devastation. i would like to see them go through counseling. kate seriously needs to learn to speak to her husband as the head of their home and not another one of the children she has to raise. that was the main reason i stopped watching the show faithfully. i feel for those children but i think i’ll add them to my prayer list. maybe they need to hang out with the duggars and get some perspective on how to not be affected by fame.

  14. Steve says:

    Quite actually, I’ve been wondering why the community of faith to which Jon & Kate belong to has been missing in action. And even the churches that Jon & Kate have spoken at, where are they? As much as marriage is a covenant between two people, it is also a covenant between the couple and the faith community they belong to. I’m sadden to see that no one from their faith community is doing so and counseling them against divorce. The faith community cannot give up its responsibility of speaking in truth and loving with grace in a situation like this.

  15. @Rich & @Nourisha: Amen to both of you.

  16. Eugene Cho says:

    last comment for a while for me as i need to begin my work day here:

    @steve: we have to be mindful that this is TELEVISION and Entertainment. Meaning, the producers choose what to show and not show. I’m certain that there are some folks – perhaps their church, pastors, etc. – that are involved in their lives but on what level? on what balance?

    i know that when crap hits the fan, we tend to look for people who are going to affirm their decisions rather than gently and/or firmly call them to a higher and more difficult path.

  17. John Grebe says:

    I think Jason makes a good point in asking where the pastor is when watching the show? Personally if I was their pastor and was involved I would refuse to meet with them on camera and insist it was off camera as you can not have real pastoral counseling on national TV. Pastoral confidentiality is around for a reason as it allows people to be upfront and honest trusting what is said does not leave the room so bringing in TV cameras into the pastor’s office is a big NO.

  18. Samantha says:

    And just when you thought reality TV was going to take a breather, you get this from Jessica Simpson:

    Ever since she performed at a Florida concert last February in high-waisted “mom jeans” that made her the target of scrutiny by body bullies, Jessica Simpson has continued to be critiqued about her figure and her weight. And now it’s her turn to do the scrutinizing in her new VH1 docu-series called The Price of Beauty.

    Starting in July, Jessica will travel the globe talking to everyday women about the lengths they go for beauty, while investigating — and even participating in — some of their dietary fads, beauty regimens and apparel. “When [I was approached] for a show about true beauty, I was immediately intrigued,” Jessica said in a statement. “I have always believed that beauty comes from within and confidence will always make a woman beautiful, but I know how much pressure some women put on themselves to look perfect. I am really looking forward to discovering how beauty is perceived in different cultures and participating in some of the crazy things people do to feel beautiful. I know we will all learn a lot on this journey.”

    Simpson seems to have moved past the criticism targeted at her earlier in the year, and is looking forward to the next chapter in her career. “Jessica is so excited to start shooting the show,” says a source close to the pop star. “She has been doing research into some of the insane things people do to try to make themselves more beautiful and she is shocked. She thinks it will be fun to try some of them.”

  19. Bo says:

    Ha! I knew you couldn’t resist the temptation as well to blog on them. As for those who feel the temptation to do a reality show is irresistible – consider the 1st famous Christian family of multiples – oh I forget their names they had something like 8 babies and made national headlines – they’ve chosen intentionally to stay out of the public eye even when the media was begging for an interview.

    Given that they have exploited their family for $$, I wonder if they did the same with Christianity. Let’s face it, evangelicals make a good market. Church speaking events, book deals with Christian publishers, this is all part of the job. Perhaps a similar analogy would be those who use the Christian music industry as their initial step to make it big. So do they even consider themselves Christians? I can’t help but wonder if this was all part of the business strategy.

  20. DK says:


    Taking a break until August. Eugene, looks like your blog influenced the show’s producers! 🙂

  21. Pam says:

    I feel terribly sad for the whole family. I heard this just after I read this article from Newsweek:

    My heart just hurts for those in this place.

  22. Matthew says:

    I’m kind of ignorant of popular culture, but I was still saddened and more than a little disturbed on reading this story. Television is notorious for its ability to compromise people’s ability to communicate freely and sincerely with each other, and to skew people’s priorities and projects in accordingly unhealthy ways. I can’t judge for anyone but myself, but personally, if I had to choose between a public persona and my authentic, private personHOOD, I don’t think it would be much of a choice for me.

  23. Visitor says:

    I love it how everybody seems to be so quick to judge them and say they should walk away from the show. Somebody already mentioned it but do you think TLC started this show with the Gosselins and contracted it so the family could just end it whenever they feel like ending it? They probably signed tons of contracts which pretty much told them that they would have to pay back any or all of the money spent on the house/production/numerous trips if they were to breach their contract in any way, shape or form.

    i also think the show should’ve never made it past 2 seasons but what’s done is done. i’m sure kate (and maybe even jon) have thought long and hard about what would happen if they would’ve just walked away from their contractual obligations. they said everything is for the kids (from a financial standpoint at least) and i really believe that. i have 2 kids and i worry about how i’ll support them as they get older. I can’t imagine what kind of financial worries i’d have if i had 8 kids.

  24. Sarah P says:

    I don’t know Eugene. I don’t think I agree with your advice. Don’t “Christian” marriages have a higher divorce rate? I don’t think “repent” and “remember your vows” really cuts it. And in my own personal experience when I’ve had struggles I personally have felt the least support from the the Church, because the “support” I hear is the “Repent and Remember” advice; Which isn’t necessarily all bad but if that’s it, I think I’d be all “F#&% that!”. I’m guessing there are true issues of the heart that need reality and help/guidance/discussion/healing and could probably use a good dose of therapy. And a community that doesn’t just belittle the sadness to “not remembering their vows”, (not that I feel those were your intentions, I know you meant better), but that’s how it would make me feel….

    I have never seen the show, I don’t know these people but I’ve heard that it’s not suprising that it’s ending. If that’s the case, shouldn’t all the people coming out with opinions spoken up long ago? Why now?

  25. DK says:

    @Sarah P.

    I don’t think that’s what Eugene is saying. He didn’t just write about repentance. He shared alot about what you mentioned in your comment about help/guidance/discussion/healing.

  26. Sarah P says:

    Yeah, maybe…all of our narratives are different, and we can all read/hear things differently. Even hearing the word “repentance” makes me want to vomit profusely all over my desk, where for others it could be what they need to hear. Whatev…I didn’t feel the help/guidance/healing part through the blog, maybe because he used the word repent and I was busy puking instead of reading the rest…HAHAHA! I do still think Christian divorce rate is higher than non-Christian (right??). So, I still don’t think the “God-talk” (whatever that means) directed to even Christian couples necessarily means anything [to them]…I dunno, maybe I have to think through that more for a better verbiage of what I am feeling about it…but I sitll don’t like the “God-talk” advice…

  27. Tmcfield says:

    I want to begin by cautioning us all on passing judgment. As an avid Jon and Kate watcher I believe the split was inevitable. The incentives of the TLC show allowed the marriage to last a little longer but there were bigger issues underlying the show that can be discussion for members of the Christian faith. For example, “honor thy husband”- in contemporary society when a woman is/ becomes the bread winner how do we support, validate and uplift our men.

    The clips that pieced together the life story of Jon and Kate was tainted with greed/ overindulgence and overshadowed an amazing story of unconditional love and sacrifice (read her book). Although many may disagree with me- I do believe they entered into the show contract for the kids. I do believe they should break their contract with TLC and end the show. More importantly, I believe their love can lead to reconciliation once the anger, lack of communication and resentment are addressed.

    Eugene- Thank you for beginning a valuable dialogue.

  28. Beth (Ovilla,TX) says:

    I do not watch this show, but had heard they were making a “BIG” announcement, I’m sure just to draw viewers…well I guess that worked for them. The sentiment, the show must go on, I am not sure I agree with. Having gone through a divorce myself, I feel that once a marriage reaches this point it’s very hard to go back, attend therapy and say all is well. There has to be repentance and brokenness with both parties in order for the marriage to work. In my personal experience, I feel like the church turned its back on me, yet accepted my ex back with open arms, regardless of the fact that he was the one who strayed from our vows. I know as Christians we are to repent, and show mercy and grace but how much should a person withstand when, your husband, repeatedly cheats? In the Bible, Jesus says we are to forgive 70 times 7. But when an offense is over and over and over again. How much in reality can one person take? I do not regret my decision to divorce, I do regret it for my children because they are the ones who truly suffer with any divorce. My ex has already re-married and has moved on with his life, adding four step-children to his brood. I say, more power to him.

    I assume the producers of the show will have a hay day with the re-marriage of one or both of John and Kate, once it gets to that point. They may even call it John and Kate, plus 8, plus 8!

  29. Joanna says:

    There’s so much that we don’t know about. For goodness sakes, it’s a 40 minute show. But I agree and appreciate with the three things you outlined, Eugene, if and only if THEY ARE CHRISTIANS.

  30. Andy M says:

    @Sarah P,
    About the “God-talk”. Not to be rude but what did you expect to see by coming onto a Christian pastor’s blog? I understand a certain revulsion to some language that has been misused by some people, particularly the word “repent”. But don’t be misled. Repentance is not meant to be only connected to hellfire and brimstone preachers (I assume something like that is what you picture when reading that word, it gives me the same revulsion). To “repent” simply means to turn, or return. The picture is of someone getting off the right path and repents, turns around, returns to the right direction.

    To “repent” and “remember” is, I would say, exactly what those people, and many many others should do when struggling in their marriage. I have read that when a couple is struggling in their relationship, that it is most often very good for them to look back to where they came from and what brought them together in the first place. Many marriages have been saved by doing just that. So I say “Repent”, return to the things that brought you together, “Remember” the way you fell in love and the reason you got married. It isn’t some legalistic, “you got married and made vows, so now you have to keep them!”, it is based off of the fact that we often forget how we got to where we are, and remembering can help us get back on the same path.

    I’m also not saying that things always work out. But true repentance, in the best sense of the word, in a marriage would save many couples the heartache of divorce.

    That all being said. I don’t know much of anything about the show being discussed. I’ve never heard of it before in fact. But I detest reality TV, in particular the shows that invade someone’s life. The relationship in marriage is a sacred and holy thing and is not supposed to be exploited for the sake of “entertainment”.

    I don’t say this to judge that couple. Like it has been said, we don’t know much about the situation because of the limitations of TV. Christians sadly tend to copy the culture of the rest of the world, so it was inevitable that a christian reality show would be created.

  31. elderj says:

    i don’t watch the show but am not surprised at the announcement. I saw one episode, once a few years back and thought then that they would divorce based on my observation of their behavior. of course the camera doesn’t capture everything, but even in that one episode I saw readily the kinds of things that inevitably lead to divorce.

    anywho… repentance and remembrance are definitely in order for them, and for anyone contemplating divorce (or any other thing that contravenes God’s good intention for us). it isn’t a very popular topic, but it is the essence of christianity. we are people of repentance; of utter brokenness at our failure to do even the most basic of things and so repentance and remembrance (and return) are our only hope. yes, christians divorce quite readily, which is actually a horrible thing and indicative of both how hard it is to be married, and how easily we adapt to the standards of surrounding culture rather than standing against them.

  32. Sarah P says:

    wow, my 3rd comment! I must be having a good day 🙂

    @ Andy M:

    I think you missed what I was attempting to say. Which is fine, but I did want to say that: even though Eugene is a (my) pastor, I would never limit his blogs to be or say certain words/phrases because he is a Christian Pastor. That feels like a very tiny box I don’t want to be apart of.

    Now this feels even more awkward talking to other people via comments on Pastor Eugenes blog….yup, I’m done now 🙂

  33. Shelly says:

    I think they should just stop the show and focus on their marriage.

  34. Ken says:

    It is said that power corrupts, how much more so the vain, glory-seeking of fame. When you become a caricature of yourself, I’m sure it is easy to feel entitled and to not consider the hard work of patching up a marriage. Much easier to let it go, harming the family that brought you that fame in the first place.

  35. Jennifer Y. says:

    Great post, Pastor Eugene. I was really hoping that they would cancel the show too. Vic and I had a LONG talk after we watched that ep (I was a major fan, since their kids kinda look like mine). I think they (like most people) forgot that the foundation of a harmonious family is God + husband + wife.

    What disturbed me the most was their constant insistence that they are doing this all for their children. Really? Do the kids need that big house and all those toys? Are they thinking that as long as the kids have all thiis material stuff that they will be happy?

    And then (gulp) am I maybe guilty of the same thing, as I wade hip-deep in cars and trucks and robots in my living room? This was a real wake-up call for me to keep my focus on my marriage, and not on my kids. Because that’s the best present I can ever give them: a happy mom & dad. So maybe *I* can learn something from this show (it is on The Learning Channel, after all).

  36. P. Scott Cummins says:

    This is so well said.

    Carefully yet clearly pointing out the pillar of faith they trumpeted in the good times, and apparently shrank from when all those dollar signs were at stake. Personally I could not have written about the Gosselins without going on and on about the frankly juvenile immaturity of John, and how incredibly narcissistic (get this woman a banana republic or something to rule) personality of Kate. And how they both need therapy – individual and (certainly prior to filing for divorce) as a couple.

    I cannot fault TLC. Not one bit. The Gosselins are (if only chronologically) adults. They signed on and made the entire situation what it is. To fault a television network for being anything other than what it is (has been and always will be) is dissembling (and a legacy of adoration) by formerly adoring fans.

    If said fans really cared about this beyond a level of indignation, they should be focusing on the travesty being perpetrated on eight children by Mom & Dad Gosselin.

  37. Andrea says:

    @ Sarah P:
    Now we all know how NOT to talk with you when you are going through a rough patch!! Seriously though, make it number 4 and tell us what would be helpful. Other than telling them to get therapy. So, if you were a good friend to a christian contemplating divorce, what would you say?

  38. Hillary says:

    What a great way to put it. Very wise council. Amen.

  39. Eugene Cho says:

    @sarah p: like your new website. very cool.

    repent is no one’s favorite word but for me, it give me hope that there is a better way, a redemptive path, a God who beckons us to turn and return to him.

    and as you and others have articulated, my words are not just merely repent and remember. there’s a lot of work that needs to be done and i attempted to articulate that.

    i take no responsibility if you vomited on your MAC.

    @jennifer y: love your comment. thank you for especially this:

    Do the kids need that big house and all those toys? Are they thinking that as long as the kids have all thiis material stuff that they will be happy?..This was a real wake-up call for me to keep my focus on my marriage, and not on my kids. Because that’s the best present I can ever give them: a happy mom & dad.

  40. DK says:

    oh great, who is this other DK character that leaves comments here? i thought i was the only DK in the world! Just like I’m the only Daniel Kim in the world…

  41. truevineherbs says:

    We’re also the parents of many and have watched Jon & Kate many times. What you said, it’s dead on. It’s true. They’ve forgotten their vows, their God, and that their marriage is more than convenience or joy, it’s a covenantal promise. It isn’t about what he did or what she could have done, it’s about going forth as new creatures in Christ. And if that is so then they both must admit they’ve chosen to do wrong. But, #1 is my favorite. The money, the fame, the attention… It came at an awfully high price. Everytime I feel discontent and wish there was a little bit of help around here or a few more dollars, I realize none of it matters if you’re not grateful. A lack of gratefulness will always lead to discontent with what God has gifted you with and a failure to recognize your blessings.

  42. truevineherbs says:

    And can I just add it is never okay to focus on your kids. It is never okay to focus on your husband. It is never good to focus on yourself. Your focus? It needs to be on God and what He wants you to do. And when you do that, with prayer and thanksgiving, it will fall into line.

  43. AllThingsToNoOne says:

    I totally agree. They are a poor example to the millions who watch the show.

  44. asad123 says:

    I think you’re right, Eugene. They need to prioritize, realizing their marriage and their family matter much more than the show. Repentance is really important whether one is religious or not. If one cannot recognize one’s own mistakes, how can one repair a damaged relationship? I would add that they need to open up dialogue, following Steven Covey’s advice to seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

  45. The saddest part is to see how they have deceived themselves into thinking that they’re doing it all for their children. They are simply rationalizing their need (Kate especially) for the fame and fortune that comes along with the show. Perhaps a decade from now they will be able to look back and see that, but for now they simply can’t because they are entangled in the arms of two powerful idols- cash and fame.

    What makes this worse is that here we have two people who profess to be Christians; two people that get paid to come and speak at churches about relationships; one who writes books about parenting and marriage peppered with Bible verse. Yet, neither of them seem to understand the importance of their vows OR the meaning of repentance and grace. Although we are only getting a very selective window into their lives, isn’t it odd that two Christians dealing with an event this life shattering never once mentioned God in their interview or public statements?

  46. light4reading says:

    I was hoping the show would be canceled, too. It is more important for kids to have their parents together than to have relative peace by their being separated. There is so much insecurity that the children will face because of their parents’ decision. Think of the mixed message those kids got at their parents’ vow renewal in August: “Mommy and Daddy will stay together forever. We love each other.” And now, “Mommy and Daddy aren’t going to be married any more.” The kids won’t know what to believe.

    I don’t know anything about the TLC contracts, but a less extravagant lifestyle would allow the Gosselins to support their children with the money they have made over their last few seasons. The McCaugheys in Iowa who have septuplets (and successfully remained out of the spotlight) made things work, even with two special needs children.

    I’m not watching the show now. I don’t want to support the Gosselins. I read their book and thought they were a solid Christian family–which I supported–but found out the book was mainly written by Beth with Kate’s input here and there. The faith in the story seems to be Beth’s. Just before all the firestorm/gossip started, I bought the first 4 seasons DVDs. Now I wish I hadn’t.

  47. One message comes loud and clear from the show (and I hope others heard it). One the last episode, as you watched the camera pan their large house, their ample acreage, and all the toys and other goodies that they own, it was quite clear: money can never buy happiness.

  48. ~Colette~ says:

    We have watched this show in the past and stopped because I became so discouraged with Kate’s behavior towards her husband. I am so sad for the children that they are loosing their family over this. Jon and Kate both have stated so many times that “this”(the show) was done for the children, as a way of providing for them. How sad that divorce is all that it has really provided them.

  49. Andy M says:

    @Sarah P,
    Sorry if I misunderstood you. Sadly, blog comments are a difficult form of communication. I didn’t mean to suggest that because it is a blog of a Christian pastor that he has to be limited to certain phrases or words. But different people use their language differently, like I would expect the website of a scientist to use the language of science, a theologian use the language of the study of God, an athlete to use the language of sports, and etc. And so I would expect a pastor of a christian congregation to use words of the christian heritage, of the scriptures and so on. Again, I don’t mean to be rude or argumentative, I just have a hard time seeing any surprise that Eugene used this language.

    I know that there are many words that have to be used delicately because of their being misused. But I believe that we should redeem those words to their original meaning. “Repent” is a hard one because of the image it brings up in so many people, hell and damnation, people screaming on street corners and so on, so we have to be careful how to use it, but on the other hand, the word itself has a deep history and wealth to it that we should not ignore. Repentance in the true biblical sense is a beautiful thing.

    And I don’t mean that we redeem the word by simply using it. I don’t mean that we should all start speaking in some “christian” language making sure we use all of our churchy words. We redeem a word only when we spread the true meaning of it, explain it’s history and what Jesus actually meant by it.

    If that doesn’t happen, then what does someone do, who is going to a church where they never use those words, when they read the scriptures where Jesus says to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”? Do you feel you have to vomit when reading the scriptures? I understand your frustration with the words, but as I see it we can’t just throw the word away because someone somewhere used it improperly and gave us a bad taste in our mouths.

    Again, I apologize for any misunderstanding on my part.

  50. becky says:

    Lewis’s quote about ‘pursue first things first and second things could come’ or something like that would have loved the reality of watching that pursuit…

  51. Sarah P says:

    @ Eugene
    AHAHAHAAAAHAHAHAHAH! Such a MAC hater =) Good thing I had my PC in front of me at the time….HAHAHA =)
    Yes, I never questioned your intent, and your desire in using the word repent. I guess something I would clarify, even as a “Christian”, I don’t necessarily feel like God is worth “turning back to” some (a lot) of the time. I can only imagine (for me) I would feel even more angry and saddened by God, least likely to want to “repent” back to him, ESPECIALLY when my marriage is on the verge of divorce. (disclaimer….I know what everyone is going to want to comment after reading that…I know, I know….but my story is different than yours, God in my life is different than in yours… it’s my story, and my POINT is that I would not feel like “repenting” back to a God, who I don’t trust anyway). And I’m guessing I’m not the only “Christian” who would not want to hear that language, or take comfort in that…..which leads me to

    @ Andy M:
    I was never surprised by Eugene’s verbiage. And I was never questioning his true intent, and I don’t doubt that those “words” can be redeemed. But I guess my point was that (as mentioned above), regardless of that, a Christian has to want to “repent” back to God, or trust God to even do that…I think there are plenty who could care less at that point in their life (on the verge of divorce), so even that advise (in my opinion) would be useless (to some)…..which leads me to

    @Andrea P
    I love your challenges =) And I’m still processing, I don’t claim to have any answers….tough question! I’m still thinking……=)

  52. […] if i were jon and kate’s pastor Since I was intending to write some posts on marriage, dating, and some other issues related to relationships in the […] […]

  53. Arukiyomi says:

    I can see where SarahP is coming from… esp after 14 years of marriage.

    Someone way back there said “I have read that when a couple is struggling in their relationship, that it is most often very good for them to look back to where they came from and what brought them together in the first place. Many marriages have been saved by doing just that.”

    That sounds like advice from someone who hasn’t had to take it. For a start, that last sentence sounds too simple to me. Marriages are extremely complex beasts. And I can vouch for the fact that it is often doubts about why you came together in the first place that can undermine you later on so this advice simply wouldn’t work.

    So, what does? Well, don’t look back, look ahead. Remember that God has a future and a hope for you and build it together.

    As for this reality show. Is it possible that because of being out there in public, their relationship lasted longer than it could have done and there was more necessity for soul-searching and resolution exploration? I’m not saying there was but when you have the public looking in on your marriage, you can’t just ignore what’s going on, you’re forced to deal with it. When a couple who struggles bottles it all up inside their relationship, things can reach boiling point and explode a lot quicker than they would otherwise have done.

    Finally, I’ve had to learn that feelings are very very valid. They can deceive as Eugene said in his OP, but so can my thoughts. He said “our feelings can also betray us which is why we make and honor these vows and submit – joyfully, respectfully and at times, painfully – to our Covenant.” I know one person in my life who would say to that: but when I submit to those vows in spite of my feelings, I betray my true self.

    What advice would you give to people who are feeling-oriented?

  54. Andy M says:

    @Sarah P,
    I get what you mean, and I agree with your point, but the word repent is not only supposed to mean, “return to God”. That is part of it of course, but it is not all of it. It is meant to have a more wholistic idea of returning. Turn away from our current life direction and return to the way our life is meant to be. Return to the way things are meant to be within a marriage.

    I won’t press it anymore, my point is that the word repent means more than what you are attributing to it.

    I never said that the relationships in a marriage are simple. Of course they are complex, and that is why I didn’t say that remembering why you got married in the first place “always works”, I never said that. I said that many marriages have benefitted from that. And I believe that to be true. In my limited study of counseling and whatnot, I believe that that is one thing that is often done in marriage counseling.

    How many people, who you say would look at their past and wonder why they got together in the first place, would look forward into a future that includes their spouse that they are having doubts about? Considering this simple scenario, I doubt that many couples would end up going into their future together. If I felt like I’m in a dark hole of a relationship with my spouse, and I start thinking about the future without reflecting on the past, I would think that I would likely dream up a future that does not include my spouse.

    Overall, I think it is more likely that most people would be more inclined to stay married if they look to their past, not to try to go back to how it was, but in order to look towards the future with hope, with their spouse.

    You say that that advice sounds like it comes from someone who hasn’t had to take it. Well, yes and no. I can’t say that I struggle greatly with doubts. My wife and I try hard to always nourish our relationship and we have done well.

    But when doubts have ever arose, if I were to look back to the days when we first started dating. If I only kept those days in mind, then my doubts would be fueled by the history of mistakes, misunderstandings, and so on, and it is possible that I would be tempted to quit. We came from families who are so different that they have only ever met twice or so. We started dating around 9 years ago.

    But, if I also look back to around the time when we got married, about 5 years ago, it would be a completely different story. Especially keeping in mind what I have already mentioned. It took us over 4 years to be ready for marriage. This was because of our need to grow in all areas of our lives, together and separately. We had to overcome all kinds of obstacles, many of which would have split up many couples. But we did, and we got married.

    If I have doubts, I remember what led us to get married, and it overcomes any doubts I ever have about our relationship.

    This is my story, and it is only one story. So, of course not everyone will experience things the same way I do.

    Following your logic in your statement, “when I submit to those vows in spite of my feelings, I betray my true self.”

    I strongly disagree. Feelings are most definately important, but they are only one aspect of you as a person. To let yourself be ruled by your emotions like that is to deny the other aspects of who you are. Example: I love my wife, and I have committed myself to her, heart and mind. During our 9 years together there have been other women that I have worked with or known that you could say that I had some level of “feelings” for, call it lust, whatever. If I followed my feelings in those moments it could have easily led to something else and it would have destroyed my marriage, my most important relationship.

    You betray your true self when you let yourself be ruled by either your mind or your emotions, rather than both together.

    Sorry this was so long.

  55. Jose says:

    Great points Eugene. Thank you for your eloquence.

  56. Arukiyomi says:

    mmm yes, well put and dont ever apologise for it being long… esp on your own blog!

    I think that there’s a lot of wisdom in that last statement of yours “You betray your true self when you let yourself be ruled by either your mind or your emotions, rather than both together.” It’s that “both together” bit that is very important.

    My other half is very very feeling oriented. I’m mind oriented to an equal degree. We have had to learn to appreciate and respond to both of those worldviews and how they colour our theology too. I’m still learning how I can be more feeling oriented in our marriage, spending time and effort nurturing the feelings in my wife which make her readily agree to keep to her vows when the going gets tough. We’ve not got it right yet but we’re getting there.

  57. greg says:

    Great discussion! Is it a sin to covet blog comments?

    @AndyM and Arukiyomi:
    Watchman Nee said we’re triune beings, made of spirit, soul, and body. And the soul is also triune, made of mind, will, and emotions. To be balanced and healthy and holy, we’re to be led by our spirit, submitting our mind, will, and emotions, as well as our bodies, to our spirit, which is submitted to the Holy Spirit.

  58. chomama says:

    i am sure that we didn’t see and hear their whole story. i hope that Jon and Kate made best decision for their family. and i pray that they can have opportunities to reconcile and create their own space which can provide time, and place for just two of them…healthy marriage is the foundation for healthy family …i pray that God can protect their family and specially 8 children…. they have too many eyes on their lives….

  59. […] if i were jon and kate’s pastor // Do I need to say anything else? If I were their pastor, I would pastorally kick their arse – seriously, graciously, and lovingly. But that’s just me. […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove

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