Jennifer Knapp ended her 7 years of musical silence this month with the release of her new album “Letting Go.” She also ended her public silence by declaring she has been in a same sex relationship for 8 years. She is no longer on the Christian record label Gotee records, her new album is under the secular label Gaylin records.
During her 7 years out of the spotlight her fans – including me – wondered when she would release another album. No one knew why she suddenly quit making music, her last full album was “A Diamond in the Rough” released in 2003. She did release a live album in 2006 but that just left her fans asking for more.
I have been a Christian radio DJ since 2002. Before I began this wonderful job I was a devoted Christian music fan. Jennifer Knapp is a fellow Kansan and when she released her first album in 1998 (“Kansas”) I was attracted to her strong voice and honest lyrics. She had a way of saying what was in my heart even when I was in middle school.
My favorite song from that album still is “Martyrs and Thieves.” Her lyrics are so deep and full of truth:
I am not afraid
To bare all my weakness knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain
Jennifer Knapp told CNN that her new album is all about, “inner-conflicts, spirituality and life lessons.” That is what her music has always been about in my mind. But now she is being honest with the world about her sexuality and that will change some Christian’s minds about whether to purchase her album or not.
I know you are dying to hear my thoughts on the matter.
Growing up submerged in Christian music I have seen artists like Amy Grant and Kevin Max Smith (of DC Talk) endure harsh criticism for being in the Christian music spotlight and making less than ideal choices like divorce or public drinking. Since the Bible has such a standard of holiness in it and it is human nature to fall prey to the desire to criticize other people’s choices in life, that is what many people do. I feel sympathy for Amy, Kevin and now Jennifer because being subjected to harsh words of hate is not what they should be going through.
However, do not mistake my values – I do not agree with their choices. It is not right for me to sit and judge people either – I merely know what the Bible says and will uphold that in my life and teach it to my children. I will not embrace the action I consider a sin but I will not hate the person doing it. I treat my gay friends the same way I treat my friends that openly disagree with my faith – I pray for them in the quiet of my bedroom and love them unconditionally. God will determine whom he judges and how, I am so glad I don’t have that responsibility!
Emotionally, I have to say I am shocked. Christian music artists have such an influence on my heart and my faith. Music and poetry reaches me in a way that mere words cannot. So hearing this news has affected me. But reading her words and an explanation of her journey on this article in CNN really cleared up a lot of questions. I suggest everyone should read it as well.