I’m still not sure if I’ve done the right thing posting this. I seldom if ever have second thoughts about what I write here. But if you read this once and come back to find it gone, I apologise. This is a hard issue for me to write about.
A year and a half ago I got embroiled in the Gosselin mess. That was before they were in the tabloids more often than horoscopes and diet pills.
I started watching the show on an extended visit to my parents because my mother and younger sister were enamoured with the combination of cute kids and celebrity Christians that were the show’s formula for success during the first part of its run. My initial impression was of an overbearing and abusive woman exploiting her husband and children to achieve her own shallow aims.
In August of last year I was asked to contribute an article to the anti-Gosselin website, Gosselins Without Pity, which was formed when the Television Without Pity forum moderators shut down their Jon & Kate Plus 8 board. The article I wrote was one I prayed about and wrestled with. In the end I tried to make a statement about what I felt was the most serious flaw in the Gosselin play-by-play.
While I’ve always been appalled at the open spousal abuse and child exploitation of the show I know that those sad things are pretty run of the mill in this modern day society. Yes, it bothers me still. But as a Christian what made me honestly afraid for Jon and Kate was their approach to fund-raising. Even years into the show, with what we now know to be–at minimum–hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, Jon and Kate were going to churches with tales of poverty. They would speak in front of congregations packed with women who adored their eight little faces and talk about how they paid their mortgage with money found in the couch cushions and how they paid for groceries with mysterious gifts from generous donors.
Before I go any further I need to be perfectly clear. God is a loving God. God is Love. God does not strike down every sinner. But there is one example given in the Christian New Testament of exactly one time when God did punish people with death. On the spot. No questions asked, no chance to explain and make excuses. That time is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. There is a long version in the Book of The Acts Of The Apostles, but the story is probably most familiar to many through the lyrics of a catchy song:
Ananias and Sapphira
got together to conspire
a plot! to cheat! the Lord and get ahead.
They knew God’s power…didn’t fear it…
tried to cheat the Holy Spirit…
went into the temple and
they BOTH DROPPED DEAD!
The song sums up the story frankly. The couple lied to the Church about how much money they had so that they could keep that money for themselves. And as I heard tales about the Gosselins this summer I kept hearing that song in my head. Jon & Kate got together to conspire a plot to cheat the faithful and get ahead. And while they are still some form of alive, the state of their marriage and their prized television show is most certainly now dead.
Folks, God forgives everything. But God also places consequences on our earthly paths for wrong action. The only time I can recall Christians being killed on the spot by God is this story. It’s a warning about cheating the Church for material gain. It’s a warning many people tried to give the Gosselins more than a year ago. For their children suffering through this nightmare of a divorce and family breakup (for surely the camera crew that is no longer there is to their minds a sort of family also) I am terribly sorry the Gosselins chose this course of action. Over a few dollars they’ve lost everything.