Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jennifer Knapp, Genetics, and Giving a Rip

There was, about a month ago, a not-so-shocking shocker to the world of Christian music.  No, it wasn't that a non-whiny song made it to the top spot in radio play or that lyrics from a self-help book were actually nixed from a song in order to make room for theological thought that was deeper than a rain puddle in Saudi Arabia.  The artist known as Jennifer Knapp, whose music was raw and honest and worthwhile when she was writing, had come out of the closet as a homosexual woman.

Shocking?  Well, maybe.  Ray Boltz had watched the Lamb before, said thank you, and decided it was better to follow Ray than Jesus.  There were others.  The Christian Music Industry (and that's what it is, don't mistake it) is not immune to nor estranged from its controversies.  Amy Grant and Gary Chapman.  Sandi (or is it Sandy now?) Patty.  Michael English and the girl from First Call.  Ray Boltz.  And these are just the public ones - not the ones that we don't get to see because the artist is too hungover from an all-night bender to make it to the studio on time or in shape to do something creative.

But Jennifer Knapp?  I LOVED her music.  Lyrically and musically, I thought she was making some of the best music (Christian or otherwise) during her heyday.  But then, from off the charts to off the grid.  She went away.  Far away.  Australia away.  G'day, Jenn.  Thanks for three great albums.

I promise I have a point.  First, indulge the back-story.  I did a camp one year with a Nashville songwriter who's name I won't share here but had at least one Grammy nomination in 2009 and has done great for himself.  FYI, my favorite memory from that camp was this guy singing (to the tune of Rocky Top) about diatomaceous earth, the chemical we were using to keep some nasty scorpions out of our cabin.  I digress.  We were up late talking one night and I was asking about how fake Nashville was on the Christian scene.  It's the Baptist Camelot, but also has porn stores everywhere.  He told me what he knew about a few artists I asked about, including the rap that Jennifer Knapp was a lesbian but not pursuing any relationship and staying celibate.  I thought, "Good for her for doing this the right way."  

Well, things have changed.  So let me give you four or five people who will read this a couple of reasons why this should matter.

First, praying for Jennifer Knapp to follow the clear teachings of Scripture and staying celibate would be the best, most appropriate, most loving response you could offer her, the Kingdom, or any other gay person you know.

Second, whether or not the genetics play larger or smaller, more or less dominant roles in the issue, the Bible is crystal clear about God's take on homosexuality.  It's a sin and has to be called such.  No, not some unforgivable leprosy.  No, not worse than the greed and gossip most of us struggle with.  But it is sin.  Let's go ahead and call it that.

Third, Jennifer Knapp and others are calling into account the validity and authority of the Scriptures on this issue.  Google her interview with Larry King and watch her about 8-10 minutes in as she does gymnastics of all sorts to say a whole lot of nothing regarding how the Bible speaks to this issue.  To be clear:  the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and He's not in favor people sinning against Jesus in this way or any other.  You can't take the affiliated texts any other way without sounding like a goofball.

Fourth, you probably know some gay people.  Loving them well includes speaking the truth to them.  It also means refusing to ostracize them.  And for those with sexual identity issues in the church, calling them to walk in abstinence and celibacy is hard but the most loving thing to them and the most joy-filled path (albeit, ultimately) for them.  Some think that following Jesus means all the evil impulses go away, particularly on this issue.  If that were the case, we'd never eat junk food, never share gossip as a prayer request, never look at porn, and never covet our neighbors' new jet skis.  Walking in the path of Jesus, no matter our desires, is the way of sanctification.  It's true for homo- and heterosexuals.  His call to holiness is independent of whether or not He delivers you from a particular sinful desire in this life.  Are there ways to deal with desires and lay them aside?  Sure.  Does Jesus deliver people immediately and instantly?  Sure.  Do people who love Jesus sometimes struggle all their lives with a particular sin?  Sure.  But no matter how strong the impulse or how strong the deliverance, the Bible still calls us to holiness, without which we will not see the Lord.

Fifthly, and very personally, a guy got sent to jail in the UK for letting the word sin get caught in the same sentence as homosexuality.  No kidding.  Same thing happened in San Antonio to two street preachers who, on video, weren't yelling but were preaching.  But the truth matters more than jail, just ask John Bunyan, Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul.

Lastly, sin cost Jesus His life.  He died to exchange sin for righteousness.  But when we live in an unrepentant way, the Bible is clear about how God will take a hands-off approach and we'll get what we want.  In no way am I going all Pat Robertson and saying our country is going to hell in a handbasket because of homosexuals.  We probably have more BP's and Enron's and AIG's to thank than we do homosexuals.  But every person who refuses to honor God, giving Him thanks, exchanges the truth for a lie.  And that lie is deceptive to the point of creating death that feels like life.  Don't take sin lightly.  Those who do find that it grows to the point where it's big enough to kill you (bringing forth death, ala James 1).

But that's just me thinking thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I tried to post a comment about this but apparently I had to much to say. I'll sum it up. I disagree. If you would like to know why I would be happy to email you what I wrote. My email is at the bottom. Hope you are well and I will see you on Memorial Day.

    -Derek Brehm