Thoughts on Good Christian Bitches

Christianity Today reported that they were recently contacted by a reporter asking if they had any comment about a proposed  ABC television show titled Good Christian Bitches.

According to CT the proposed show has been deemed the Christian-bashing version of Desperate Housewives.  And thus begins the full frontal assault on all things Christian.

There are only a few things that we can deride publicly and get away with it — Southerners, fat people , and Christians. Spare me the joke that they are all three the same.

“ABC has no reservations about creating hate speech against Christians, but you can be sure they would never consider a show called Good Muslim B-tches or Good Jewish B-tches,” say the folks at the American Family Association.

They are absolutely right.

Any project aimed at depicting Muslim or Jewish women  in such a negative light would draw the ire of thoughtful people worldwide.

As well it should.

So why is it okay to bash Christians so?

CT reports that the proposed show is modeled after a book by the same title authored by Kim Gatlin, a professing Christian from Dallas. Her photos, videos and plastic could land her a spot on a Housewives from Dallas gig. Strike that. It could land her on a  Christian Housewives from Dallas show.

According to the New York Post, Gatlin (ex-wife of one of the Gatlin Brothers) says that she used her own life – that of a wealthy, super-Christian, late-in-life Texan divorcee maligned by her neighborhood church-going housewives – as source material.

About the book, New York Post writer Maureen Callahan says: “There is also a distinct strain of resentment threaded throughout the book – not so much at cheating husbands or duplicitous friends as at the poor and the strivers.”

Translated that would be me and you, us regular hard-working folks.

Explaining herself, Gatlin told Newsweek: “All Southern girls are taught to love Jesus, but just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we’re perfect. ”

(That’s a stereotype, Gatlin. You might want to spend sometime in the homeless shelters, or working in a public school. Or get to know your Muslim neighbors.)

Don’t get it wrong, she says. Her book’s title “is not mocking God. It’s mocking those of us who love God and don’t always make the best choices to honor him.”

Like writing books like hers for starters.

Gatlin might not know this but Bitch is a pretty degrading way to refer to other women — Christian or otherwise.  From a purely semantic standpoint women are at a huge disadvantage. If you want to really insult a man, you call him a Son of a Bitch or a Mother F–ker, which isn’t an insult to him as much as it it to his mama. When it comes to demeaning women, Americans say it best — almost all of our really ugly words are used to trash women.

This is the culture we are importing to Muslim nations?

You don’t have to grow up in a trailer park to act low-class. As a friend of mine who played in the NBA once said, “You can give people money but you can’t teach them class.”

Proclaiming the name of Jesus  and then calling others in your faith community Bitches is a pretty low-class way to act. Apparently Kim Gatlin was absent the day they covered “Love your neighbor as yourself” in Vacation Bible School.

CT says that Gatlin is trying to address an important matter — gossip. While I agree that gossip is something that we all need to be more diligent to avoid, especially given the impact of social media upon our lives, I think CT and Gatlin are missing the bigger issue here.

We have made sport of trashing the Church and Believers. We’ve masked it behind sarcasm and called it good-humor. We’ve elevated those who mock us best to celebrity status. I could name names but that would be gossiping. You know who they are though. You probably subscribe to their blogs.  They post videos that are funny, as long as  you don’t think about the bigger implication of the art of belitting. They write blogs in that same snide spirit of Perez Hilton, where everyone but Billy Graham is fair game. Nobody escapes their jabs. Ted Haggard and Mark Driscoll are two of their favorites, but they’ll pick on the one-armed neighbor girl selling lemonade if it’ll draw a laugh.

Why shouldn’ t Hollywood feel perfectly justified in producing a show that outright assaults Christians?

We’ve already lowered the bar for them.

“Being a Christian is becoming  more and more a do-it-yourself activity,”  says Madeleine L’Engle in her thoughtful book, The Irrational Season.

Who needs community as long as we can do this Christian thing by ourselves? And as long as we don’t need each other, it’s perfectly okay to trash talk one another.

In fact, it’s downright entertaining.

It’ll get you the most most hits on your blog.

It’ll sell your book.

It might even land you next to Two-and-a-half-Men.

What it won’t earn you, or any of us, however, is respect.

That this sort of behavior is in direct violation to Scriptures seems to bother very few, and that may be the reason why we were warned about it: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35.

You can slap a mask on and call it Grace if you like, but eventually meanness turns us all ugly from the inside out.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    My first thought at the opening of this was: “American Family Association?” They exist only to complain about Hollywood and Democrats. How is that ministering to anybody?
    By the end of the piece, I saw a parallel to some of the blogs you speak of. It’s still someone who seemingly exists to complain, only this time it’s about professing Christians. Interesting similarity I had not thought of till now.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks for sticking with me, James. I will try and maintain that trust.

  • http://katdish.net katdish

    Honestly? This is yet another example of how we have become a society without manners. People should know better, but they either don’t, or do and don’t care.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      A society for the crass and uncouth.

  • http://www.arielallison.com Ariel Allison Lawhon

    “Almost all of our really ugly words are used to trash women.”

    You’re right. With few exceptions, the most hateful, derogatory words are those used to describe women or their anatomy. What is most repulsive is that women sling these words at each other.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Or use them in the title of books to degrade other women.

      • http://www.trinapockett.com Trina Pockett

        Seriously…It is sad to me that a woman wrote this book. Why? Shock value? Does she truly have a legitimate point? Is she trying to get sales? Who published this junk?
        What message is she trying to send to women and about women?
        Very sad.

  • Janice

    I think katdish got it right when she said “People should know better, but they either don’t, or do and don’t care.” That is hitting the nail on the head – they do – and don’t care.
    It is so sad, but so telling of the times we live in, that this statement from the piece accurately describes the truth of the matter:
    “Why shouldn’t Hollywood feel perfectly justified in producing a show that outright assaults Christians?

    We’ve already lowered the bar for them.”

    How it must grieve the Lord to see how His people have become such a part of “the world” that we “don’t care” how we speak, act and represent HIM to the world.
    “…Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
    -Revelation 22:20

  • Holly

    (())

    I agree, Karen. Thanks for writing this.

  • http://steeletheday.com Candy

    Completely agree, Karen. Sadly, it will sell advertising and probably run for a season or two. I’ll go one step lower than “you can’t teach class.” You can’t fix stupid. But dang, can’t we at least try?

    “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Roman’s 12:2

  • Michael

    Am I the only one that doesnt find this offensive?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Yes.

  • http://www.thestubbornservant.com Nicole

    We’ve already lowered the bar for them…this is a perfect example of how much we’ve lost the word “Christian” completely. And I appreciate, Karen, how you draw out the truth that it’s not just plasticy housewives from Texas, that we can all use our influence–no matter how large or small–to glorify God or to slander our neighbor. P.S. I feel dirty after reading this, I think I need a shower. :)

  • Hippo Critt

    “You don’t have to grow up in a trailer park to act low-class”.

    People who grow up in trailer parks are trash? Did. Not. Know. That.

    Karen, you are precicely the type of “Christian” this book is aimed at.

    Stay classy.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Hey Hippo
      You are apparently new to this site. #Insidejokefortheregulars
      Have you read this book? Or did you write it?

      • Hippo Critt

        Hi Karen,

        I’m not the author but I did read the book and it’s clearly targeted at people like you.

        Good luck with your “life-long quest in search of God’s poetry and presence”, and stay away from those “low class” residents of trailer parks.

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          Hippo:

          You are welcome to write a review of the book and share it with the readers if you like…

          Regarding TP remark, I recommend you read this book. Then we can talk trailer parks…

          http://www.amazon.com/After-Flag-Been-Folded-War/dp/B0046LUCMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305035560&sr=8-1

        • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

          Due, if you read Karen’s bio, you’d know she was raised in a trailer, first kiss in a trailer, ….

          aahhh never mind. Your mind’s made up. And it’s your loss.

          • John in PDX

            James,
            Did you tell your little brother/sister there was no Santa Claus? I was really enjoying Hippo.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            No, but I am going to call my little (40-yr-old) sister and tell her. You never know.

  • rose blackwell

    With all these reality shows on TV now,I supose the christians have moved up. We are a people and country that is bored with their lives,ignorant, don’t know how to think. I dont understand the mental state of this country I certainly dont understand why they would pay to see this trash that is our TV reality…

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Rose — Ignorant might be the operative word here.

  • Angus

    Your tendency to pre-judge Kim’s work before reading her book or seeing the series adapted from it speaks volumes. It’s about hypocrisy, folks, and the reaction it has produced over its title alone is testament to her premise. But whatever happens, DON’T dare see or read it because it is bound to be illuminating in many more ways than the title reflects. Her story is real, and offers insight into the condition displayed by many of its unqualified detractors.

    Plus, it’s funny as hell. Check it out!

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I read the reviews , as I often do with new books — there are just too many good books out there to waste my time on bad ones. In addition to the observations made by the New York Post writer, I found these comments about Kim’s book at Amazon:

      What a waste of time this book was! It was touted as a light, funny read. It was definitely light, but not humorous at all. There was little to no character development. (It was impossible to tell one character from another as each was the same shallow, self absorbed, pathetic clone of the next…

      … bland, semi-humorous book about women in an affluent Dallas suburb. To be honest, I was reading this as a “fluff” book, and it did have its funny moments, but they were far between. There was very little in character development, which was fine as all of these women had no character, aside from being shallow and self-righteous…

      This so called “book” is a waste of money. I was prepared for a light, enjoyable read. Instead what I got was a cynical, hardened “fictional” account of wealthy Christian women…who by the way did NOTHING to earn the money they had…they married it.

      But perhaps you have a different idea on what manifest itself as humor. Demeaning others and employing gender-biased semantics as a way to do that has never amused me.

  • http://www.rebekahsanderlin.com Rebekah Sanderlin

    I think I get the point Kim Gatlin is trying to make with the title, that churchy women can be mean ol’ hypocrites, too – That’s the point, right? I hope so, because I think that point has a lot of merit and could be a good reminder to many of us that it is exceptionally hard to walk the straight & narrow while wearing $600 Blahniks…
    But (and I have not read the book) if the point is mere Desperate Housewives-style shock value, then shame on her for cashing in on the easy sell.
    And excellent points, Karen, about the etymology of the insults we use. I had never thought of that before.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Rebekah

      I only wish someone would write the book about all the ways in which non-Believers are hypocrites.

      The point is that if you are breathing and walking, you have likely been untrue to your core values at some point or another. The church doesn’t own the market on hypocrites. The Human Race does.

      It isn’t funny to trash Christians. Not any funnier than it is to trash Muslims.

      What passes for humor these days is so sadly uncreative.

  • Sue

    Karen, I’m glad you did the legwork about the book because now I won’t have to. And I admit I was curious when I read the CT article yesterday. And quite disturbed too, for reasons you wrote about here.
    My guess is if we Christians would bury our noses in God’s Word and then let the Spirit guide us more, maybe we would make more of a difference in our world. Our culture is becoming more crass and uncouth and books like this only add to it. And even though I have not read this book, something tells me I don’t need to anyway.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Won’t be reading the book or watching the TV show myself.
      Usually I’m not a fan of censorship. I’d make an exception in this case.

  • Kathy

    Many of you misunderstand the meaning of the title and have chosen to think the author is attacking Christians. Not the case. These woman NEED to be called out, for Christian they are not. They insult God and Christian’s,in fact, by constantly labeling themselves Christian’s and throwing around their “Christian” title as much as possible. It is a real problem in our society today. Some have distorted Christianity and made it fit into their entitled, self-righteous plan…not God’s plan. This “Christian title hanging” has found itself into politics, as well. I would think twice about coming to their defense. Yes, Angus is right…it is about the hypocrisy of it all. I know the author and live in the same community. Sometimes Bitch is the only fitting word. Granted it is tacky entertainment, but I do see an important message buried inside all the bs. I can see how some just can’t read this smut; it can be funny if you chose to lighten up a bit. I respect it if you can’t. I can handle it in small doses, but again, the underlying point is extremely valid and worth addressing.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Kathy:

      Bitch is never a fitting word to call another believer. Or another woman for that matter. It’s gender-biased degradation.

      Tacky entertainment seems to be the appropriate term for it, according to you and the writer at the New York Post:

      “It’s a fun, easy read with a message: at the end of the day, you can’t let gossips define who you are,” says 47-year-old first-time novelist Kim Gatlin. “I wasn’t trying to win a Pulitzer Prize.”

      Gatlin is not being self-deprecating. Among the book’s more unfortunate lines:

      “The carpets looked new, but they were the same dark red that, as a little girl, had always reminded her of the blood of Christ.”

      “There’s more to a man than money, but if you want my opinion, not much more.”

      “He was surprisingly well-spoken for a football player, dangerously handsome with an incredible heart for Christ.”

      Gatlin used her own life – that of a wealthy, super-Christian, late-in-life Texan divorcee maligned by her neighborhood church-going housewives – as source material. As she puts it: “You can’t lead a crusade for Christ and a hate campaign at the same time.”

      In the book, the evils of gossip far supersede other sins like materialism, envy, lust, and drug and alcohol abuse – a direct reflection of what Gatlin says was her deep pain about being persecuted by peers who hid behind their pious Christianity.

      “I was blaming God,” she says, for being talked about behind her back. “I was like, ‘These are your people – can’t you do anything?’ ”

      God did not.

      Is it just me or is there something self-righteous about calling others out for being a hypocrite?

      If Ms. Gatlin has an important message to deliver perhaps she could spare us all the BS (your term, not mine) and make it. Keeping in mind Hebrews 10: 25.

      To add fuel to the already vitriolic attitude towards women of faith seems very counterproductive to me.

    • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

      Kathy, why, exactly, do they need to be called out?

  • http://koinepdx1.blogspot.com AF Roger

    All we can ever do is be the change we want to see in the world.

  • Karen Spears Zacharias
  • http://premiumeyecenters.com Kate

    Too much hypocrisy in the christian world today, it’s too much on the television too much in the songs and not enough in churches

  • Megan

    While I agree with your evaluation of semantics, I think we as Christians need to be careful what we attack. Most people see the world through the eyes of and enemy’s enemy being a friend.

    Criticizing Gatlin for using the word “Christian” in her mocking behavior that is very much not Christian only further associates Christianity in the US with the ugly, bigoted and discriminatory behavior it’s become famous for.


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