Chip and Joanna Gaines are moving full speed ahead with Fixer Upper.
The beloved couple – whose chemistry is the reason why HGTV has found such success with this show about home renovation and design – aren’t letting a little scandal get in the way of their reality television dreams.
To what scandal are we referring?
Toward the end of 2016, Buzzfeed published a lengthy profile of Jimmy Seibert, the pastor at the church typically attended by Chip, Joanna and their children in Waco, Texas.
The article highlighted Seibert’s anti-homosexual views, quoting from sermons and interviews in which Seibert came out against gay marriage and sounded as if he believed in gay conversion therapy.
The pastor also has said that homosexuality is often a result of an addiction to pornography an that 90% homosexuals have been abused in some fashion.
Controversial stances, to be sure.
But Chip and Joanna simply attend this church.
Should they be held accountable for every opinion expressed by their pastor?
Should fans care about what is said behind church doors and do Chip and Joanna have a responsibility to share their religious views with the public?
In response, Chip simply called for “respect” via Twitter.
Also in response, viewership has not waned one bit. Fixer Upper remains wildly popular.
So popular, in fact, that Joanna recently confirmed that filming for Season 5 is underway.
It started about three weeks ago, with a rumored premiere date of November 2017.
“We have some cool new projects coming that we will keep you updated on as we make progress,” Joanna also wrote on her official blog, explaining in more detail:
“Our new restaurant is opening in 2017 which will serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. Chip has wanted a breakfast joint for years and he finally found the perfect spot for it, and I’m not going to lie, he is also super excited about serving ham sandwiches and bacon.
“The Elite Cafe was one of the oldest restaurants in Waco, but it closed down last year and we are excited about bringing it back to life.”
Elsewhere, Chip responded in length to the aforementioned pastor controversy.
He took far more than 140 characters to do so, sounding as if he recognizes the issue at hand and wants to make everyone feel like they are part of the Fixer Upper family.
“This past year has been tough,” Chip blogged on January 2, adding:
“In my lifetime, I can’t recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgement, fear and even hatred.
“Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand.”
We appreciate what Chip shared, so we’re just going to rundown other excerpts from his blog entry in their entirety:
If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow – we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love.
Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith.
That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.
In 2017: We have decided to change the conversation.
You wanna talk about how to build bridges between people that disagree? We want to be a part of that conversation. Do you want to talk about healing and compassion and kindness and restoration? We’re in the restoration business, we can for sure make time for that….
Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike. Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie….Our family wants to fight for a world that knows how to lovingly disagree. We believe it starts when we operate from a position of love in all things.
If your position only extends love to the people who agree with you, we want to respectfully challenge that position. We propose operating with a love so real and true that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside the very people that are most unlike you. Fear dissolves in close proximity.
Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side. This is how a house gets unified.
Think about it for a minute: This could be one of the greatest restoration stories of all time.
Who’s ready to get to work?