During my college years at Wheaton, we had some pretty amazing bands stop by to play concerts. I can remember being deeply disappointed when I had to miss the Jars of Clay show that featured Jennifer Knapp. Though I only ever owned one of her albums, I always resonated with her vulnerability and appreciated her honesty about her own sin. Lyrics like "There are ghosts in my past who have owned more of my soul than I thought I had given away / They linger in closets and under my bed and in pictures less proudly displayed" aren't exactly your usual K-LOVE fare. But then a few years ago when I tried to look her up to see if she had come out with anything new, I found that her website had been taken down and her Wikipedia entry said something cryptic about her veritable disappearance. Apparently, she had been sucked into the CCM Bermuda Triangle along with Sixpence None the Richer and First Call.
Amelia, it was just a false alarm.
I was genuinely shocked upon reading this interview in Christianity Today (thanks to Jenny K. for the heads-up) to read that Jennifer Knapp is not only coming out with a new album after nine years; she is also coming out. That's right. She's a lesbian. In this (I thought) quite objective interview, Knapp alludes to her latest project but mostly fields questions about this revelation about her sexuality. I'm sure this is the last thing she really wants to talk about--she essentially says as much, maintaining that she is a very private person--but as a former CCM artist and present-day Christian, these are the questions her listeners as well as her brothers and sisters in Christ want answers to. And so do I.
Though I definitely find it a stretch to compare the Bible's take on homosexuality to its stance on eating shellfish or wearing clothes made of mixed fibers (as Knapp does in the interview), I realize there's no point in me trying to evaluate her "Christian-ness." She still loves Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice. From there, only God can say where she stands before Him. We are all sinners and every Christian I've ever known has continued to sin even after entering into that saving relationship with Christ.
So here's my primary question: how does the Church deal with gay Christians who do not acknowledge acting upon homosexuality as sin? Do we Matthew 18 that puppy--confront the person about the sin and then "if he refuses to listen, even to the church, then treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector"? And for that matter, how do we treat the pagan and the tax collector? With love and respect, I hope--but as an outsider? So many churchgoing Christians engage in habitual, lifestyle sins. Is this the sin that breaks the camel's back?
And will you listen to Knapp's new album? How about if you don't have to buy it and support her lady-lovin' lifestyle? I wonder what she has to say, and I don't think her being gay means she can't have any relevant lyrics...but my filters will definitely be up.