Crooked Houses - Jon & Kate Plus Eight

If you tuned in last night to TLC on your cable box you were probably looking for the show, "Jon & Kate Plus Eight". Last night, after months of turmoil and paparazzi the couple announced that they had come to a pivotal crossroads and made a decision which would change their life forever. That decision was to split up and file for divorce.

My wife and I first started watching this show after we got married. That was just three years ago and my wife in particular was fascinated with Kate and her strong personality as she managed a house with eight kids in it. I specifically remember her being impressed and amazed as Kate struggled to cook healthy meals within a reasonable budget. There was something appealing to this Christian couple who had chosen to follow through with a pregnancy of six and then to try and raise them in a wholesome environment all while showing individual and unconditional love.

The first season we watched didn't always sit well with me. Kate was clearly the dominant personality and to a certain extent she ruled with an iron fist. She wasn't always nice and at time she was even disrespectful to Jon. Meanwhile, Jon would grumble and make sarcastic remarks about Kate's behavior and the whole while it became evident that their lifestyle was changing with the success of their show.

I remember the season Kate underwent plastic surgery and the rationale that followed, and then later Jon took her shopping to renovate her wardrobe. Next Jon was getting hair implants and Kate was going on speaking gigs to New York because of her book. It seemed to me that maybe they had shifted from showcasing their multiple blessings to capitalizing on them.

Pause for a moment, because if you didn't see last night's episode coming, think about the underlying transformation the Gosselins have endured with their fame. As the seasons have progressed, they've become more and more engrossed with themselves. Perhaps the real breaking point was when they decided to abandon their friends and pseudo-family for a new house on lots of property. They weren't so much interested in the kids' needs as they were with themselves. If you still don't think so, flip back to the first and second season and look at the way Jon dressed, walked and even talked.

It's unfortunate to see a marriage dissolve, and it's horrible to watch it unfold to the whole world at the expense of eight little children. Yet here the Gosselins aren't just parting ways and calling it quits, they say they're doing it for the sake of their children.

If you caught the episode, you also saw that the kids were getting new play houses, called "Crooked Houses". These little play houses were pretty cool. They were built to look like little kids had made them. Things weren't quite square or level and each little play house exploded with creativity and color. But the real crooked house wasn't being built in the backyard, instead it had already been built by Jon and Kate.

Kate kept saying over and over that her and Jon parting ways was best for the kids, and I honestly think she believed that was true. That just shows you the twisted and upside-down ways the world now views marriage! What's best is no longer what God has erected but what man wants to tear down. What Gods has said will not go asunder man insists must, and all purportedly for the sake of these eight cute and sweet little children. The truth of the matter, and as Kate made evident at the end is that it's going to be very hard for the Gosselin 8. Because of Jon's and Kate's actions, these precious children have been reduced to nothing more then a statistic reflecting America's continued despising of traditional marriage.

Ultimately that's what Jon and Kate comes down to, another episode in the unraveling of Holy Matrimony. What makes Jon and Kate different from Will and Grace? In the end marriage between a man and a woman is no longer holy and sanctified, but something that can simply be disregarded by fantastic ratings and an episode of cable television.

This is not what God intended for man and woman. God did not intend for Jon and Eight plus Kate and Eight. He did not want Jon and Kate to separate. What God intended was that those eight precious little children would look to their parents and see His love in the self-sacrificing of Jon for Kate, and the honor and devotion of Kate for Jon. Those eight sets of trusting eyes are supposed to see the love of Christ for His Church as He hung on the Cross for their sins. Instead of the kitchen cabinets with God's Holy Word taped to the cupboard doors, these kids get the unfamiliar doors of a new home in a new place without the loving presence of both of their parents. And that is truly sad.

God in Christ Jesus forgives all these things. He forgives our infidelities and our unfaithfulness to Him and to each other. Where the house that man built tends to stand a little crooked, the house that God has built stands sure and strong on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Tonight, as the credits rolled for the latest episode of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" and news of their decisions to break God's Holy Covenant of Marriage set in, I realized how truly sad this episode was. The only hope after an episode like that is to be found in the spilt blood and crucified body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died on the Cross to deliver us from sin, death and the devil. Let's pray that Jon and Kate might return to each other and to the Lord, for their sake and for the sake of their children; and that they might remember the love of God in Christ Jesus and the forgiveness He won for them and how that love mends all things, even our crooked houses.

Going further...

Bible Study Discussion Questions

  1. Read Genesis 2:19-25. The Lord gives Adam the gift of a wife, a helper comparable to him. How is the woman made? How is she presented to Adam? Why does Adam rejoice?
  2. What does Jesus have to say about divorce in Mark 10:2-12? What does He say about breaking apart a marriage? What sin often results from divorce? Why do you think Jesus wants marriage to be preserved and honored?
  3. Read Psalm 127. This song speaks about marriage and children. Who is needed to build a good marriage? Why do you think children are called a blessing?
  4. Review the Sixth Commandment and its meaning:
    You shall not commit adultery
    What does this mean?
    We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
    What does it mean for a husband and wife to love and honor each other?
  5. Read Ephesians 5:22-33. How should a wife act with respect to her husband? How should a husband act with respect to his wife? Of what is marriage a picture? What truth is denied by divorce (or same-sex marriage, or living together without being married, etc.)?
  6. Imagine that Jon and Kate are your personal friends. What advice and counsel would you give them at this point in their marriage?
  7. Is divorce the "unforgivable sin?" How does Jesus’ death on the cross point us to the greater marriage of Christ and His church? Read John 19:34. What do blood and water point to? How does this point the union of Christ and His church? (Recall how Eve was made!)

Created: June 23rd, 2009