Jennifer Knapp is a songwriter and Christian musician whose lyrics have always been honest and at times profound. Her music is good; a folk/rock mix with a sometimes gritty and raw edge. Two of her three albums were Grammy nominated, and in total, the three albums have sold nearly one million copies. She put out these albums between 1998 and 2001…and then she fell off the face of the earth – almost literally. For the last seven years, she has been roaming around Australia with only her acoustic guitar. She sold everything else and walked away from it all.
And then last September, she came out of hiding, moved back to the U.S., and decided it was time to record a new album (which is being released today). Not only did she come out of hiding; she also came out of the closet, confirming what some had suspected to be true for years that she was – in fact – gay. In a recent Christianity Today interview, Jennifer said, “I’m certainly in a same-sex relationship now, but when I suspended my work, that wasn’t even really a factor. I had some difficult decisions to make and what that meant for my life and deciding to invest in a same-sex relationship, but it would be completely unfair to say that’s why I left music.”
In one of her recent blog posts, she writes, “I share my life with a woman. I have approached this relationship with gratitude, joy and humility. I am honored to have the support of my loving family, a caring partner, friends and people of faith who have accepted me as I come, while encouraging me to become who I am meant to be.”
As would be expected, Jennifer’s “coming out” has been met with many questions about how she justifies her faith with her sexuality. In a recent interview with Relevant Magazine, she said that the concept of homosexuality has “always sat a little bit uneasy with me, for one reason or another.” She goes on to say, “I’ve experienced a fair cross section of people in my life that has made me less concerned with what particular point I might label or call a sin.”
“As a Christian,” she continues, “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.
In an interview with The Advocate, which is a gay and lesbian news magazine, Jennifer says that she no longer feels like being gay and being Christian are in opposition, even if others do. “I’m quite comfortable to live with parts of myself that don’t make sense to you,” she says.
And I guess this is where I struggle. I do hurt for her and for others who confess Christ while also struggling with their sexuality. I can’t imagine the pain, frustration, and confusion they must suffer. However, it seems from Jennifer’s words that she is no longer struggling. It seems that she has found a place where living as a Christ-follower and as a lesbian can comfortably co-exist. She no longer seems to be interested in engaging in the tension, and while I understand her desire to land somewhere outside the tension, I also feel sad for her.
My sin is just as bad as hers. I struggle with horrible things like anger, lust, spiritual apathy, and pride – just to name a few. And as much as I wish that I could be “comfortable” living with these things as a Christian, I can’t. I can not allow myself to get to the point where I let these things comfortably exist in my life. I must continue to live in the tension, and continue to fight daily to put off the sin which so easily entangles me.
Funny how Jennifer’s lyrics from a song on her first album come to mind: “Time to get down on my knees and pray, ‘Lord, undo me!’ Put away my flesh and bone ’til You own this spirit through me.” It seems as though she’s given up doing this, and for that, I am sad. I also see this as a clear warning for me in my struggle with sin. If I stop praying that the Lord would empower me daily to put away my flesh and allow His Spirit to fill me, there – but for the grace of God – would I go too.