Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Moral of the Story: Jon and Kate Plus 8, Part 2

Marriage is expendable
So I’m watching YouTube episodes of the show and note the faint resemblance of their opening sequence to The Brady Bunch. From unemployment to $70,000 per episode, their reality show (thanks to the sextuplets) has vastly improved the Gosselins’ financial state. After four seasons, I’m guessing that adds up to quite a mound of cash. So what if this fifth season is like watching the Titanic break in two? They need the money to care for their eight children’s futures and a new house and two puppies and Kate’s unique hairdo and, and, and…if they don’t have a show, will Emeril ever come back to visit them?

And here is the vicious cycle that I hope Jon and Kate recognize and make a decision to end: the TV show will go on as long as their marriage is in danger. Their marriage is in danger, because they have allowed fame and the pressures of childrearing to take precedence over their relationship. Because their marriage is in danger, fame, fortune, and childrearing will substitute for the apparent neglect of their marriage.

This situation might be a little redeeming if I could hear Jon and Kate say, “We always wanted a huge family with multiples in particular. We wanted our children to be the same ages so they’ll always have this extra special relationship with their brothers and sisters throughout life. We only want to celebrate birthdays twice a year for the birthdays for the convenience of not having to remember 10 different birth dates. And it will be easier for all of them to remember their birthdays too. We want for them to grow up together and leave the house all at once. Having so many siblings helps them intellectually and socially, because they’ll always have to remember each other and not leave anyone out, and they’ve been able to count to ten since the sextuplets were born!”

Of course, neither of them has said anything of the sort, because (unless you really are Octomom) no one ever intends to have six children simultaneously. Neither have they gone the other way and said, “Oops. We made a mistake fighting childlessness in this fashion. Now we have the huge pressure of raising all of them, plus the added dimension of having to entertain a TV audience. It’s tearing our marriage apart. That is ironic, because our marriage is the beginning to why any of this exists in the first place.”

The part I find starkly missing is the appeal to God and church to find a solution to their current marriage woes. Jon and Kate are not superhuman; neither are they doorknobs. In fact, everything in the show tells me that the Gosselins are the most normal people on the face of the earth. And maybe, just maybe, being normal is their biggest flaw. How many marriages similarly dissolve? Why, after the statistics on divorce within churchgoing couples are higher than the national average, do Christians still prefer to treat divorce as a taboo subject and refuse to combat it? Do we not know how? Are we lazy?

In conclusion, that (1) fertility is a god, and (2) marriage is expendable are two lessons from the world that we can find exhibited clearly in the life of a Christian couple named Jon and Kate Gosselin. There are more that I had planned on teasing out, but my better judgment tells me that I should save it for the comment box. That Christians in general don’t stop and consider the ethics of our actions by virtue of our being Christians is a dismal sign that the church has not overcome the world in the more significant ways.

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