Friday, April 16, 2010

Jennifer Knapp Is Back...And Out

CT has an exclusive interview with the singer/songwriter. Anyone who was into CCM style music in the late 90's and early 2000's will probably remember Knapp, and her sudden disappearance from the music scene. There were rumors in 2002 to the effect that she was leaving because of her homosexuality, and it turns out that it was a major factor.

Overall, I found myself disappointed by the interview and it highlights so much of what is wrong with the current evangelical situation. First, we have Knapp who, more or less, says "I just think it's ok to love whoever you love and I'm not qualified enough to talk about the theological implications. Therefore, I'm right because it feels good." I don't believe I really need to go into why that attitude is so disastrous. Then we have the interviewer who seems so busy dancing around the elephant in the room that he never bothers to actually turn the interview into a real opportunity to discuss the merits/concerns about her path.

In short, we have one person who is ignorant of Biblical teaching (while throwing out buzz phrases to imply the opposite) and another person who clearly doesn't approve but yet who can't put together a coherent critique without worrying about coming across as too condemning. I appreciate that CT is at least willing to deal with the topic, but this clumsy and ultimately unfulfilling bit of an interview doesn't cut it.

But I suppose what is most disappointing to me, as a long time fan of Knapp, is that apparent lack of Biblical literacy that I find in this interview. Anyone who listens to her earlier music can hear so much Biblical knowledge and wisdom. You can tell that she does read the text and does know the truth. She is someone who clearly thought through, and dealt with, the implications of what she was experiencing in Christ. However, as she came to her homosexuality, it seems she was too challenged and decided to give up rather than continue on in that spirit. My guess is that she does know exactly what the Bible says, but is afraid to embrace it because of the challenge that it would mean for her.

But we all face those. Sure, not all of us will face this particular debate in our personal lives. But God has called each of us to give up various things in our lives that we love, that we crave, that we convince ourselves "feel good." And the Lord expects us each to pick up the cross and die more to ourselves so that we can live for Him. The act of putting behind us those things that we most crave is often times the act that propels us forward most powerfuly in our walk in Christ.

I will most likely continue to buy Knapp's music for the time being and I hope for the best for her. But her decision here seems so utterly unlike the Knapp that created truly great music. And that does give me concern for the depth and value of her future projects. Not because she is now out, that has no bearing for me. But rather because she seems to be shutting off her willingness to confront who she truly is in the mind of God.


"Nick" said...

Some great thoughts. Great post.

CRCHAIR said...

The article to me was a reminder that just because someone is a good musician, doesn't qualify them to teach or preach. We often ascribe those gifts to our Christian artists when few of them have gone to seminary or even Bible College and they are not gifted in those ways. They may be qualified to be "Worship Leaders", but not Pastors.

quizwedge said...

Good post... much better than the interview which I couldn't be bothered to finish.

D said...

I think your post was thoughtful and honest. My comments here are honest, and hopefully will be seen as thoughtful as opposed to just some reactionary critique.

I am a straight man, 37 years old, white, lawyer, "good guy" who has always struggled with his intentions, desires and actions. For a time I thought (in my quiet moments when no one else was around) that I was feeling a connection with my Creator. Maybe I was. Maybe I was confused. How can I know, for certain, unless I trust that still, small voice?

I have read much of the New Testament, little of the Old, and I prayed deeply, fervently. I still pray for mercy, guidance and for grace...mostly for my loved ones, but, I do pray for those things for myself.

So, with all that lead in...what is my point? First...I can't accept the notion that homosexuality is a "choice". My straightness, my attraction to women, my absolute non-attraction (physical or romantic) to men is not a choice. I could choose to kiss a guy...(acting in a film, on a dare, to prove a point, etc)...but that kiss would not make me gay.

I could live my entire life hiding my straightness, denying it. But I would be hiding a truth. I would be denying something fundamental about myself. I understand the concept of denying your lusts, base desires, etc. I just can't believe that gays are just people who are sinful, or weak.

Do you really....honestly, believe Knapp's homosexuality is just a bad decision, or lack of Christian resolve? I think many gays are born gay. I don't try to use doctrine, written by men (even if inspired) to explain mercy, grace and salvation. I believe that Jesus is the Way. And I freely, openly admit that I don't understand everything...(or much of anything to be honest)...but I believe that Knapp, you, me, all of us, will be judged...and found wanting.

But I can't believe that gays will be damned for being gay, or failing to deny their gayness for the entirety of their lives. Maybe we will all be damned. Maybe Christ will intercede. But I HAVE to believe that Knapp, for example, will be judged on how she lives HER life, with her challenges, her burdens, her struggles. As I believe you will be judged. As I will be judged.

Anyway, I hope my comments are not seen as combative. I just think there is room for Faith and for the admission that doctrine, dogma and scriptures were written by men. Being gay, if born gay, just doesn't seem like a sin. Having to deny a fundamental truth, shared by so many, for so long, doesn't seem righteous.

Anyway, thanks for the time and forum. Take care.

It seems to me that Jesus

Ward said...

Hi D, thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion. You bring up lots of good points. First, let me express that judgment is, as you suggested, purely God's domain. Also it is very true that we have all been measured and found to fall short of the mark apart from His grace. This means that it is solely upon God to make that decision of what is ultimately acceptable and what isn't. The best we can do it try to understand the words that have been handed down to us and how we feel God interacting with us.

As for homosexuality being something we are born to, I have no issue with that. However, I believe that this is used as an excuse. After all, we're now finding that people have genes which make them more likely to be alcoholics and I still believe that drunkenness is a sin. In the same way, as a straight man, I feel attracted to women. It is 'the way I am made' and yet that doesn't give me license to simply lust after or sleep with any woman who catches my eye. Even being made a certain way, there are expectations put upon me.

And this is the crux of my belief...That wanting something doesn't make it right. Something making you feel good doesn't mean it is God's will or holy. We want all manner of things that are both bad for us and ungodly. So I believe that the argument for homosexuality which suggests that the 'feel right' factor is enough proof is simply intellectually lazy.

Until I can be persuaded of a better argument which convinces me that the texts in the Christian Testament should be interpreted in another way, I can't see any option other than to accept the "traditional" Christian teaching.

And that is where I believe that Knapp's decision is a lack of Christian resolve. We have all come to those places where God puts the mirror in front of us and we have to face the fact that there is ugly sin in our lives that we don't want to let go of. Can she change being gay? I don't believe so. But just like the person born with a taste for alcohol, she can chose how to live her life. We aren't responsible for how we're made, what we feel, or how we're tempted. But we are responsible for the choices we make in how we live our lives. Having to give up things that are precious to us is sometimes the walk we are called to by Christ.

Now with that said, I am also a firm believer that homosexuals should not get special negative treatment from the Church, which they often times do. I also see no reason why homosexuals shouldn't enjoy all the same privileges and rights that every other citizen of our nation enjoys. And I believe that the antagonistic view that many Christians continue to take towards the GLBT community does little to help the situation.

At the end of the day, the more that make it into God's kingdom, the happier I am. I would have zero issue whatsoever if, when history is wrapped up, we all managed to be able to enter His kingdom perfected and ready to spend eternity celebrating His presence as we were created to. If God can work that out, then that's great with me. But the best we can do for the time being is try to understand His plan here. He will be the ultimate judge. But just the same, we all must struggle with what it means to follow after the cross in this life.

So yeah, thanks again for the response and please feel free to come by and visit anytime.

shadowmom1 said...

My position is that being homosexual, that is having homosexual feelings and desires, is not sinful. Acting on them is. Sex outside of marriage is sin. I am single and must remain celibate. It is a command, not an option.
Sin is sin and as Ward says, is judged by God. Only He sees the heart.
But people involved in known sin cannot be teachers and leaders in the church.

D said...

Thank you for your additional comments. We simply disagree, but i respect the way in which you explain your opinions. I acknowledge my belief is not scripture based. So, there may not be much to discuss if I am going to go with my gut feeling, conscience and sense of right and wrong.

Another issue, for another day, is how homosexuals should be Citizens, by citizens, in this country.

I will keep checking on your blog, i like the discussions i see, even if I do not agree with all the sentiments.