Jennifer Knapp Comes Out of The Closet to Make Mudpies

I love Jennifer Knapp. Always will. Her music became popular right about the time I was getting really serious about the Lord. I remember singing “Undo Me” at the top of my lungs, tears pouring down my face and drying just as quickly from the air flying into my car window (no air conditioning). I was 18 and struggling deeply with my own sin. I think I know every lyric of her albums from those days. A good friend of mine, and mutual fan of Jennifer’s, once corroborated with me to stalk her tour bus after a concert. With that same friend (shout out, Whit!!), we worked for hours to perfect a duet of “Faithful to Me” and sang it acapella in church one Sunday morning over a decade ago. Good times.

And so I am immensely sad that Jennifer has come out, verbal guns a blazin’ against the Christian community, as an unashamed homosexual. Google it. She’s been on Larry King, interviewed for Christianity Today and the Advocate and more, announcing to the world that she is both a practicing lesbian and a woman of faith. In each and every interview, she is thoughtful and intelligent and funny and engaging and even endearing. I still love the way she thinks, THAT she thinks (which too many people of faith do not, no offense. Not YOU, obviously! You’re friends with ME! Kidding.). But she’s still wrong. Sadly, tragically wrong.

I’ve been on the sidelines of the homosexuality debate for years, and I’ve never publicly chimed in. I have dear, close friends who have walked through this fiery trial, and by the grace of God, have come out of it without even the smell of smoke on them, to His glory. Today though, I have to say something. You see, there’s a watershed point that I have been waiting to hear from one of these super-smart, seminary-educated pastors representing us born-again Christians. They rarely fail to concede that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is sin; they’re all trumpeting that too. Come on, that’s a given. But there’s something they’re not saying that I find myself shouting at the television every time this issue is covered in the news (even Fox News!). I’m sure I’m not the first person to think this, but in my opinion, it’s the hinge on which the whole argument swings:

IF YOU WANT TO CALL YOURSELF A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, YOU HAVE TO DENY YOURSELF.

According to the Bible, we were all, each and every blessed one of us, born into sin. The Bible even says that sometimes the sins of our fathers (and mothers) are passed down to us from generation to generation. Bum deal, but we deserve it, like it or not. If you think you don’t deserve your sin nature (and the hell that comes with that package), you’re sadly and deeply mistaken. But Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow after me, he [she] must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). That self denial looks a little different for each of us. We are all born into this world with proclivities toward different sins. But our sexual drives are something that almost all of us have in common, though some loins burn hotter than others. Now don’t get me wrong, our sexual desires, in and of themselves, are not the sin. In fact, they were placed there like a fire in our belly by a loving and gracious Heavenly Father. BUT! BIG BUT.

But our sexuality is not for us to waste however and whenever and with whomever we please. If we are going to follow Christ, we MUST deny ourselves. (I didn’t say it; Jesus did.) That means heterosexuals with raging desires to fornicate in backseats before they are married; and in kind, it applies to homosexuals with similar raging desires. The whole thing is–we are called to deny ourselves, to deny our fleshly desires that are in opposition to how He instructs us to live. And for anyone who is lucky enough to have read the Bible, you know what that means about sex. This is not an easy thing. It’s a long, hard battle for some of us. But the good news is….that’s what Grace is for, for forgiveness of sins! That’s why Christ died–to pay the debt we cannot pay. And the even better news is that He rose again! He has conquered life and death and everything in between. To receive that forgiveness and that same power that brought Him back to life is to invite Life into our own sad, sick selves. To empty ourselves OF ourselves is exactly the point–that the Holy Spirit of God would fully take residence in us. I know from personal experience, it’s Him that does all the heavy lifting. That is the most beautiful gift offered to every sinner everywhere.

I would never hesitate to crown myself the chief of sinners. I made some serious mistakes in this department when I was young. Over and over again, I repented for giving in to my fleshly desires. Over and over again, I turned away from those longings and CHOSE to get back on the narrow path yet again, to abandon the way which seemed natural to me. It wasn’t easy at all. Still to this day, it was the most fiery temptation I have ever faced. When I was a freshman in college, I remember sitting on the fountain outside my dormitory at Oklahoma Baptist University in the midnight hour, singing and crying out to God to give me the strength to stay away from the “bad boys”, and to please, please, please, send my husband quickly. I remember feeling like if I didn’t get married soon, I would either explode or I would fail to continue to walk in his ways. I actually begged Him to send my husband soon because I didn’t know how much longer I could take it. I was absolutely and utterly dependent on Him during that season of my life, and it was awesome. I learned so much, things that will stay with me for the rest of my life. God was kind enough to fast-track my husband to me the summer after my freshman year, and to keep him in a faraway state so I couldn’t sabotage the whole thing with my raging hormones, and we were married the summer after my sophomore year. I was definitely in that category of “It is better to get married than to burn!” Ha! This makes it sound like I got married basically because I couldn’t wait any longer for those particular “benefits,” and I guess that’s true, in part. But then there are a hundred other reasons why it was perfect timing for US to get married so young. We’re going on 12 very happy years now, so it seems to have worked out for us, but I’m acutely aware that it’s because He has always been the third strand in our relationship. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

So back to my old friend Jennifer. The thing is, yes there is grace for all kinds of sinners. His grace is sufficient, one of her songs celebrates. But the point is not to embrace grace so that we can go on sinning and therefore trampling on the Son of God, spitting on the Cross (Romans 6:1-3). The point is that we MUST deny ourselves of those sinful longings, and then “go and sin no more,” believing that what He has to offer us is so much better, so much more enjoyable. Over and over and over again in our journey to become more like Him, the great metamorphosis, we must turn away from our own ways, one by one, as painful as it is sometimes to tear those things off of us, and trust in His goodness. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that what He has for us could be better than what we have already made of our lives. I pray for Jennifer that she will come back to Grace, come back to Him, come back to living a life of self-denial in order to follow Him. After all, he gave up the very most basic of “human rights”–life itself to clear a way for us. He IS the way. In order to live a truly happy life, I am convinced that we must take this scary plunge, only to discover that what he has for us on the other side of self is SO MUCH BETTER, better than life even, “for He is able [and willing!] to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). I know that first-hand. So did C.S. Lewis, whom I’ll leave you with:

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

–The Weight of Glory and other addresses, by C.S. Lewis. (The Macmillian Company, New York 1949).

About cashclan

Lisa is a grateful, born-again follower of Jesus Christ who has spent her adult life on the Gospel in several global contexts. She is the wife of one wonderful, jungle-gym of a man, who is to her the single most ravishing piece of flesh on planet earth (stolen good-heartedly from Christine Caine). She is a dedicated home educator to their four beautiful children, ages 6 to 12, whom she would be happy to gush over any time. She is an avid reader and a storyteller, an aspiring writer, a missionary to the nations and a singer of His praises, a loyal friend, an obsessive-compulsive Googler, and comedienne extraordinaire on her best days. She would also like to think that she is a loyal and loving, truth-telling friend.
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11 Responses to Jennifer Knapp Comes Out of The Closet to Make Mudpies

  1. Starr says:

    Love your title.

  2. Teri says:

    This is sad and disappointing for me. I loved her music and voice when I was a teenager. I still have some of her cds and listen to them to once in a while. I heard she had come back to the music scene, but didn’t know about her coming out. I will pray for her.

  3. Michael Murphy says:

    I am curious…do you have gay friends?

    Do you have gay friends who have cried, begged, and prayed to have those feelings taken from them?

    I don’t mean to be one to say that being gay is “okay,” because I’m well aware what God has to say about it. But I cannot BEGIN to fathom what it must be like to be in her shoes. To have a strong background of faith, and find yourself falling in love with someone and being shunned by your church, your friends, possibly your family, because that person is the same gender as you.

    Lisa, you speak of how you burned to have God send you your husband quickly, because you didn’t know how long you could wait…and God was faithful and answered your prayer.

    But what if you were told that you could NEVER have someone? That the one thing that you burned for were completely and totally wrong.

    I have known enough people that have struggled with reconciling their sexuality and their faith, and have seen their pain, their tears, and heard of their prayers that I don’t have an easy time judging or condemning them.

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    • Hi Michael! As a matter of fact, I have two very dear friends who went though long seasons when they struggled intensely with homosexuality. I really believe that both of those girls would say that I loved them just the same through that than through any other thing they’d been through…After several years of struggling with it, both of them have repented of their sin and are happy heteros now. One is married and the other is happily single and living for the glory of God like I’ve rarely seen anyone do it.

      Why in American culture do we insist that this “falling in love” trumps all? Is it really this uncontrollable thing that takes over you. I live in a country (and near two different continents) where that is a ridiculous notion–that you should be with someone simply because that’s who you want to be with, because of some kind of unpredictable, unbridled passion (aka hormones) that iakes over our faculties, overriding any other rationale. Now I’m not voting for arranged marriages here. I’m just sayin…”I fell in love with a beautiful woman” hardly qualifies as a justification for blatantly choosing to disobey the Word of God, trading it in for whatever she feels like. I hardly think that feelings can be the thing that trumps the Word of God. That’s utterly ludicrous!

      To answer your question, If I had been told I could never have anyone, I would have learned to be okay with that. I would have clung even tighter to Christ and spent my entire life and energies in service to him in an unreached nation. (That was my backup plan, actually.) A poem I wrote in those burning days was entitled “If I Ever Marry…” and for a while there, I didn’t think that my prophetic poem man existed. And I came to be okay with it shortly before he walked into my world. But to the glory of God, He gave me a godly man and a godly family, even though I didn’t deserve it. If anybody’s life shows off the mercy and grace of God, it’s mine! I was/am a wretched horrible sinner, and I fight the battle of self-denial every single day of my life. Of course, it looks different in my life now than it did 13 years ago when my hormones were raging then. But I resisted it then the best I could, by the power of God. And I resist self now, when it comes back in waves. It seems to me, though, that Jennifer Knapp has thrown up the white flag and just decided to give in to her fleshly desires.

      Thank you for chiming in Michael. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  4. Michael Murphy says:

    Touche!

    I am glad to know that you loved your friends through their struggles. All too often I have seen people shunned from their churches and families as they go through this battle, and it seems to me that that’s not gonna win anyone over.

    If the Christian community turns its back on her, that will only serve to drive her further from the cause that they claim to support. “Love your neighbor as yourself” really doesn’t have exceptions, and yet churches love to throw around the judgment and condemnation of God like it’s their weapon to wield. I certainly don’t mean you, specifically, it’s just something I see a lot, and my breaks my heart for good people to go through that.

    Lisa, I appreciate you sharing your struggles and what you learned from it. And while I certainly don’t mean to imply that you’re wrong about anything that you said — because you’re certainly not — I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through.

    All we can do is pray for her and let the Holy Spirit do what He does, but if Christianity as a whole condemns her and shuns her and turns its back — as it’s wont to do, let’s face it — that certainly won’t encourage her to come back.

    It sounds like her relationship with God is still strong, and I for one am proud of her for that. If God views her life as being wrong, and she continues to stay strong with Him, He will lead her back to where she should be. In the meantime, I hope that she will find love and support from the Body of Christ, not criticism, judgment, and condemnation.

  5. Well said, Michael. I too hope that she is lovingly brought back into communion with Christ and that she’s willing to abandon self that He might live through her instead. His presence makes me so much happier than that of any mere human being, even my favorite ones. 🙂

  6. One of the "friends" says:

    Having walked a thousand miles in her [Jennifer’s] shoes, all I am left to say is that the schemes of the enemy go far beyond us… There were many times in which I was ready to just surrender to the sin and all that followed because of how strong my feelings were, and because I was certain that God made a mistake. I didn’t want to stop believing in Christ or stop pursuing freedom that I had experienced in other areas, but there comes a time when you have to put an end to the sin or it actually kills ones ability to know, see and believe truth. Soon truth gets skewed and twisted, even if ever so slightly so you don’t notice, and then one day you wake up living a life deep in sin and feeling like you have no choice but to turn your back on God. Or, living a life of sin and thinking that God will be ok with it and possibly turning to self-rightousness and pride as your defense. Everything you experience from thereon is filtered thru lies from the master of deception. Anyone can go to church and claim faith, but one can’t truly follow Christ and walk in His power if unwilling to deny themselves. Denying ourselves is proclaiming that while we are struggling with all of our might, we believe that God is who He says He is and that He is and will ultimately be enough. I didn’t believe that Christ was enough for me when I was operating under the influence of Satan! Hum, sounds like a lie he wants us all to believe in some area or another.
    I, unlike many others, had/have amazing and loving christian friends who really did just love me. Loving me had to include speaking truth to me though. Love isn’t letting your friends live in sin because that’s what makes them feel good. A friend isn’t really a friend if they hide truth because of fear. Speaking truth in love was a ministry of all the disciples and of Christ while on earth. I think people who have really experienced grace and forgiveness are more inclined to give it, because they can see themselves as the same…sinners! It’s tragic for people in my situation who really don’t have anyone to just love them. Lack of it would have ended my life.

    The question my husband gets stuck on is this: how are we called to love people who profess faith in Christ, but have no desire for repentance and have a total disregard for scripture? It gets complicated. This misunderstanding is how I believe some denominations have allowed pastors and teachers to live in blatant sin, yet shepherd the flock.

    As for me, I am living a redeemed and blessed life. God doesn’t make mistakes!

    • Friend, I am sitting here reading this, and praising God in my heart for what He’s done in your life, in your heart!!! Wow, I’m astounded at your transparency! You should write a book! I’m dead serious. Can you imagine a book with the stories of those who have been redeemed from this particular bond? I can see it. Your story is so beautiful and amazing and it glorifies God! I am so honored to call you my friend! Thank you for sharing this with the whole wide world.

  7. Jill says:

    Hi Lisa–Great blog! Really liked reading what you had to say–thanks for sharing all of that!

    ~Jill

  8. Nancy Rardin says:

    Awesome! Couldn’t have been statted better. Love the sinner. Hate the sin.

  9. One last note on this (because I’ve been stewing over it a little more): I am sure that it’s not an easy road for Christians with strong homosexual desires. But nor is it an easy road for Christians with strong heterosexual desires (I REMEMBER THIS WELL!!!).

    But does that mean it’s okay for two unmarried people to just go at it just because they feel like it, despite what the Bible clearly says about sexual sin? Of course not! And I’m tired of all the PC garbage that’s bring thrown out there, giving out “get out of jail” free cards to homosexuals who are giving into those same lusts and desires. We’re ALL born with some pretty jacked up sin natures. The point is that we have to rage against them by the power of the Holy Spirit. Not just throw up our white flags and excuse our sin with, “This is just the way I was born.” That’s just a lame excuse. That’s all that is.

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