What really happened to Jennifer Knapp

About a year and a half ago, I was listening to A Diamond in the Rough and decided to see if I could track down why Jenn disappeared so suddenly from the music scene several years ago. I couldn’t find much other than all sorts of wild rumors about contractual disputes, having kids out of wedlock, secretly being gay, giving up Christianity, etc. – although I did find one brief interview with her, and so I wrote a post with what I’d found. Since then, it’s become my second most visited post on the site, only surpassed by that one time I got instalanched. Thousands of people have found that entry thanks to Google and other sites and I allowed myself to think, “Hey, maybe some people are being disabused of all these rumors now thanks to me!”

Well, it turns out that one of the rumors was actually true, as Jen revealed today in an interview with Christianity Today that she’s been in an eight year long relationship with another woman. She says that it’s a hard decision even admitting to it publicly:

There’s some extremely volatile language and debate—on all sides—that just breaks my heart. Frankly, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t be making any kind of public statement at all. But there are people I care about within the church community who would seek to throw me out simply because of who I’ve chosen to spend my life with.

I empathize with her frustrations and pain, but I have to admit I’m kind of saddened by the news. I honestly believe that what she is doing is sinful, and that her denial of it being so is a dangerous act on her part. Denying sin only ever lets it dig its talons into you deeper. I’m not going to use this space as a spot to talk about why I think homosexuality is a sin – I’ve talked about it before, and if you’re curious there’s always email or comments (or the search button).

Instead, I want to talk about what Jen’s music has meant to me.

For years, her albums have been a place for me to find some comfort, some solace when life seems to be battering my door down and the sky looks like it’s falling. A few songs in particular have really meant the world to me – Martyrs and Thieves, Hallowed, Undo Me, Refine Me and more have really been huge impacts in my life. It’s funny how when everything is going so badly, something as simple as a song can ease the burden and make it seem like maybe, just maybe, things might be okay after all.

I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember, and the simple and honest pleas that Jen sings have always connected with me on some level that most music doesn’t. When I was in a dark place, listening to that music made it seem like I wasn’t alone, like there was light to reach for even though I couldn’t see it at the time.  The words to Martyrs and Thieves remain some of my favorite ever written.  So when I read that interview, my initial reaction was one of anger and betrayal. How could one of my heroes do this? How DARE she?

How dare she sin?

How dare I hate her for it.

Jesus once said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” While I still believe that she’s in sin, I’m in no place to think she’s any less than she was before I knew her situation. I’m just as sinful as she is, if not moreso. Why is her sin any worse? She’s heard from plenty of people already that she’s a terrible person, or that she can’t be a Christian with this out there now, and I’m not going to add to it. Christians sin just like everyone else, the difference is that we have hope to have that sin forgiven and taken away by the grace of God. The difference is that we can repent of it and have the Holy Spirit work in us to strengthen us in our weakness so that we don’t fall again.

In Refine Me, Jen sings “Lord, come with your fire, burn my desires; refine me. Lord, my will has deceived me, please come and free me, come rescue this child for I long to be reconciled to you.” If that’s truly the desire of her heart, and I really hope it is, then the Holy Spirit will work in her and convict her where she needs to be convicted. God will not leave even one sheep behind. So in the meantime, let’s just continue to support a sister and pray for her.

I’m going to keep listening to her music, and I’m going to buy her new album. I’ll keep following her on Twitter, and grinning like an idiot when she replies to a tweet. Even if this all goes south and she becomes the raving evil hedonist that the most judgmental of Southern Baptists are saying she is, she still has written some of my favorite music and she has still had a major, positive influence on my life. Nothing can change that.

So Jen, if you ever stumble across this: Thank you. Keep on honestly seeking God, and he’ll take care of you.

On the Prop 8 decision

The court upheld the ban, as they should have. They didn’t invalidate the marriages  made before Prop 8 went into effect, which is an interesting position to take, but not unexpected. The biggest issue I see here is that now they have two separate “classes” of homosexual people in California – those who got married, and those who cannot – which will inevitably cause legal battles down the road.

The text of Prop 8 is as follows:

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:

SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

The phrasing of this seems to invalidate the marriages made during that interim, and that to uphold the proposition they would have to cease to recognize the marriages made even before Prop 8 was passed. This, at least in my eyes, would be the correct and consistent legal interpretation. As it is, by upholding the propositon going forward but saying they will recognize the marriages already on the books, the California Supremes have set themselves up for a steady stream of litigation from both sides seeking to push the decision off the fence.

Edit: Here’s the full decision, PDF warning. I haven’t read the whole thing yet as it’s 185 (!) pages, but the gist of why they chose to go this route seems to be that since it did not explicitly apply retroactively, then they will not invalidate those made before the prop went into effect. Seems a rather weasely way to get past the issue, but, there you go.

Pandering

Elizabeth Scalia is pandering to the Politically Correct crowd, and she’s doing it at Pajamas Media, which is not the best place to do that sort of thing. She criticizes both “the gays” and “the Christians” for behaving “badly” during the Castro district altrication – you know, the one I blogged about the other day in which a crowd of angry anti-Prop 8 thugs surrounded a Bible study and prayer group and poured coffee on them, urinated on them, grabbed a girl’s Bible and attacked her with it, and then tried to molest the members of the group as they were escorted away by the police. Okay, I think we can see where “the gays” behaved badly.

But what are the sins of the Christians? According to Ms. Scalia, it was “singing hymns and praying for them, which might have seemed both separatist and condescending.” She says this “as a Catholic,” who says she’d feel judged by the fact she was being prayed for by strangers.

So on one hand we have a group engaged in physical assault, verbal abuse, and public sexual misconduct… and on the other hand we have a group who was praying.

Yeah. Those eeeevil Christians sure need a good talking to.

Praying is something we are commanded to do without ceasing, and singing hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” are hardly extreme measures. These people were holding a prayer meeting – the same one they held “almost every Friday night” according to the locals – where they prayed for the community and tried to share the Gospel.  This is commendable behavior, not something to be looked down on. I have yet to see a report from anywhere on this issue that says the prayer group did anything wrong, or did anything to provoke the attack other than praying and singing.

Yet Ms. Scalia says that what they did was very un-Christlike. Jesus would never have been so intolerant. I wonder, has she read Christ’s sermons? This was a guy who did not have concerns over coming across as extreme or controversial. Remember, he ransacked the temple and screamed at the Pharisees in public, decrying them as a brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs, hypocrites in every sense – can you imagine someone running up the stairs of the Vatican calling out such a thing? No, Christ was truthful. He was direct. He was loving. But he was not afraid of confrontation, and he was not afraid of what the truth would bring. In the same vein, we should speak truth in love, but be careful that we do not worry so much about appearing loving that it is no longer the truth being spoken.

On Moral Squirming

Via Leanna comes this link, which got my blood boiling for all sorts of reasons, as it attempts to invoke God’s grace as a reason for being accepting of not just political views based on sin, but the sin itself. The post is copied here almost in its entirety as I dissect it, and you can find the original here. This is going to be a little bit scatterbrained, but I needed to get this written down… Continue reading On Moral Squirming