Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

I found out with interest today that Jennifer Knapp, a well known contemporary Christian songwriter/musician has admitted to being gay. Not having been too aware of Knapp’s life story, it turns out that her being gay is not that much of a surprise as she’s been in a same-sex relationship since 2002. She has also been out of the Christian music seen for a similar amount of time. Knapp had an in-depth interview with Christianity Today about here story (read it here). She made one point about her “struggle” that I think is pertinent to churches that are “wrestling” with the issue of same-sex relationships, and how gay people experience that “struggle” …

But if you remove the social problem that homosexuality brings to the church—and the debate as to whether or not it should be called a “struggle,” because there are proponents on both sides—you remove the notion that I am living my life with a great deal of joy. It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.” The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people. I’ve struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself.

I think that is pretty telling. It is something that I’d like to keep in mind as an Elder at my church (Northfield), especially as we discern a way forward for my church’s stance on same-sex relationships. Knapp’s perspective on her struggle reminds me of how I may be inadvertently creating a “struggle” for someone who does not struggle with them self.

Here’s the first clip from an interview Knapp had with Larry King:

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8 responses to “Jennifer Knapp Comes Out”

  1. Mark Penrith says:

    “In a moment of weird lucidity I would admit to believing that the Spirit is convicting and prompting the church to change, despite how contrary it might seem in comparison to the traditional six-gun/anti-gay scriptures.”

    I’ve been thinking about this statement for the last few months and whether or not I wanted to engage with you on it. Today seems like an opportunity.

    What are the, “traditional six-gun/anti-gay scriptures”? How do you approach them?

  2. aiden says:

    Hey Mark,

    Apologies for taking so long to respond. I’ve also been mulling over your question …

    Let me first begin by saying that my initial statement about the convicting work of the Spirit on this matter was written in just that, a moment of what I considered lucidity. The truth is that my ‘believing’ on this issue waxes and wanes … mainly due to the complexity of the issue and the implication of the debate on gay folk and on the church itself. Also, it is way too easy to invoke the authority of the Spirit, and I’m aware of how throughout history many fateful movements have been justified by just this invoking.

    To answer your question about the six-gun, it is the set of six Old and New Testament scriptures traditional used to invalidate homosexuality. They are:

    Genesis 19:1-11
    Leviticus 18:22
    Deut 23:17
    Romans 1:27
    1 Cor 6:9-11
    Jude 1:7

    … with Leviticus 18 being the most referred to.

    Now, about how I approach them.

    Walter Wink’s work has been instrumental in my thinking on the subject. His overall point is two-fold: the Bible seems to have no clear and consistent sexual ethic, and that we seem to choose some scripture to focus on but ignore others that don’t suit us.

    So for example, Lev 18:22 is used most often to condemn homosexuality, BUT we ignore the prescription of verse 29 that says anyone guilty of any of the sins described in chapter 22 should be cut off from the community. If we are to obey scripture wholeheartedly, we need to be consistent in our reading and application thereof. So, if we are to condemn homosexuality, we are then to also cut them off … ostracize them. Now, this is where I get confused, because doing that would be against Jesus’ teachings. Then I also realise that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality.

    I could write forever on this topic.

    How do you approach them Mark?

  3. Jules says:

    Jennifer Knapp is right; we generally have no problem with who and what we are but rather, who and what society expects us to be.

    A common argument hurled against us is that our sexuality is a choice and that we chose to be gay. Yeah, the same way I suppose hetero people chose to be straight huh. Who in their right mind would choose a life filled with hate, discrimination, misunderstandings, pain?

    As to how the Church (and that is not a monolith, rather denominations and sects) responds to this, I have no problem with churches and elders not accepting or supporting us because of their interpretation of the Scriptures. My problem is with such people interfering with the secular legislative process that is trying, right now, to give gay people their basic human/civil rights.

  4. Mark Penrith says:

    Hi Aiden,

    I’m thinking.

  5. Boon says:

    Jules, I agreed that sexual preference is a choice. However, the question is wheather its right or wrong in God’s eye. Ok, let say through your interpretation, being gay is ok. How about a pedophile, they chose to be with 6-7 years old boys or girls, how about people who preferred sex with their father or mother or parent preferred their children, how about poeple preferred their pets. What is an absolute? In the Netherland they have an National pedophile party. In some asian country sex with minor,parents or animals are not outlaw. Should they get their basic human/civil rights to practice their preference? Would you allowed your 6 year old daughter to marry a 40 year old man? That is quite deviant right? Where is the line drawn?

  6. Jules says:

    Boon, by throwing in those scenarios you are confusing causation with correlation. Please construct coherent arguments before launching them at others.

    Aiden was blogging about Jennifer Knapp, who came out as a lesbian – not a paedophile, incestuous woman or a bestiality addict. The difference is quite stark. Neither a child or an animal can be imagined to be consenting parties.

    Please do read my reply carefully – nowhere in it did I state a desire for a religious organisation to accept or approve something which many of them interpret to be a ‘sin’. My main issue is with said religious organisations interfering with the legislative process. I am not naive enough to believe that personal religious beliefs or moral values do not impact a voter’s or legislator’s decision, but what I am hoping for, in societies that consider themselves to be humane, urbane and secular, is giving all citizens their full legal rights.

    As for what makes an absolute? Who gives Christians a right above any other group to prescribe what absolutes are, for Christians and/or non-Christians? If you would prefer that scenario, then a theocracy would best suit you, not a democracy. Where are lines drawn? By civil government. Again, if the laws of Spain, Holland, Canada, Portugal and the UK do not please its more conservative citizens, then they are free to leave that country and set up a theocracy.

    Plurality exists. As humans we must learn to co-exist or else fall prey to the horrors of war, genocide, murder and all manners of unspeakable atrocities.

  7. aiden says:

    Comrade Mark. Vut are you sinking about?

  8. aiden says:

    Boon, in addition to Jules’ argument about you confusing correlation with causation, I would add that the line you draw between an orientation and behaviour is fuzzy. The ‘sin’ you mention above is more of an inclination towards a certain for or sexuality (which many would argue is perverse), not an actual sexual orientation. At the heart of the same-sex debate is the issue of orientation, where for many gay folk their sexuality is not a choice, but an inherent orientation.

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