Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Former Christian Artist Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

Well, the semester has kept me busy and away from blogging, but I can taste summer in the air, so here's to my second blogging wind!

Soooo, as I've mentioned a billion times before, I grew up as a feisty Christian, attending a giant Christian music festival every summer, serving as a Christian camp counselor, running my church youth get the picture.

So when one of the best Christian artists of the early 00's, Jennifer Knapp, left the singing business quite abruptly in 2003, my curiosity was peaked.

For years, Christians have speculated about her departure. Was it family issues? Relationship problems? Was she losing her faith?

But above all, the question that continued to surface was, "Is she a lesbian"?

For those of you who did not grow up singing Kumbayah around the campfire, this seems to be the central concern of the Christian faith. Even worse, perhaps, than atheism is the idea that someone who professed Christianity would come out.

Well, come out she did! Seven years later, in an interview with Christianity Today.

Here's what I love about the article: the interview tries his darndest to get her to deal with her "struggle" in regard to homosexuality. Knapp refuses to acquiesce, instead calling into question the term "struggle" in the first place. She has this amazing ability to graciously allow her faith and her sexuality to co-exist.

She seems happy now -- content -- and authentically herself. And she'll be joining the re-vamped Lilith Fair tour this summer. She's not tortured or suicidal. She's not meek. She's just allowing herself to be who she is.

If only the rest of the Church could do that.

I'll leave you with just a few of my favorite passages that illustrate the honesty of Knapp's beautiful, prophetic spirit:

I'm in no way capable of leading a charge for some kind of activist movement. I'm just a normal human being who's dealing with normal everyday life scenarios. As a Christian, I'm doing that as best as I can. The heartbreaking thing to me is that we're all hopelessly deceived if we don't think that there are people within our churches, within our communities, who want to hold on to the person they love, whatever sex that may be, and hold on to their faith. It's a hard notion. It will be a struggle for those who are in a spot that they have to choose between one or the other. The struggle I've been through—and I don't know if I will ever be fully out of it—is feeling like I have to justify my faith or the decisions that I've made to choose to love who I choose to love.

I've always struggled as a Christian with various forms of external evidence that we are obligated to show that we are Christians. I've found no law that commands me in any way other than to love my neighbor as myself, and that love is the greatest commandment. At a certain point I find myself so handcuffed in my own faith by trying to get it right—to try and look like a Christian, to try to do the things that Christians should do, to be all of these things externally—to fake it until I get myself all handcuffed and tied up in knots as to what I was supposed to be doing there in the first place.

Yeah, Jennifer. Preach it, sister.


X.A.M. said...

I remember talking about this at the OE, but I hadn't heard about the interview. Thanks for posting that news - I'm definitely getting my hands on that new record!

Hope to be holding your first book of poetry in my hands before too long - holding it compassionately, of course!