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N.K. Carter

Jennifer Knapp

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Holy Moly! wrote:

: Well, she certainly gives every indication in the content of her actual art to have given prayerful consideration to what factors are supposed to influence her choices.

So let's hear more of that consideration, then. If she's going to say the sacred text matters, then she needs to engage with it somehow, and to say HOW she is engaging with it. She can't just say, "Well, there are lots of interpretations out there," as if there were a smorgasbord of equally valid options and she was free to pick whatever suited her tastes.

I mean, even a statement parallel to Amy Grant's -- something like "God made sex for people, not people for sex" -- would be an improvement on what I've heard so far. It would suggest some sort of guiding interpretive principle, whatever we might make of it. Saying "there are two sides but I'm not going to advocate for one or the other" is just, as you say, weird, considering that she has been taking a de facto side on this issue for the past eight years.

: But indeed, it's true that she doesn't have to; she doesn't owe anyone any treatise or doctrinal statement, nor does N.T. Wright owe anyone an album of rousing emotional folk-pop.

Well, again, that's rather clever, but it doesn't really address the point, does it?

I agree, though, that she doesn't particularly owe anything to you or me or any other individual. She doesn't even have to say that the sacred text matters, unless it is somehow essential to her art that she say things like that. She's just an artist, and we are just an audience.

But in a way, this, too, exposes one of the weaknesses of evangelicalism. Believers, as a general principle, need to be accountable to SOMEONE, but in the evangelical world, as much as we may talk about community and relationship etc., people never really consider themselves to be accountable to that community. When one church doesn't suit their preferences, they switch to a different church, or they create a new church in their own image, or they quit church altogether. In an Orthodox or Catholic environment, I might say that Knapp's personal life is between her and her priest and the rest of us should leave it at that. But evangelicals haven't got that -- so for some evangelicals, there is a void here, and for other evangelicals, there is a nature-abhors-a-vacuum effect in which the mob takes it upon itself to hold people accountable. And for what it's worth, I sympathize with anyone who is caught in the middle of that -- I really do.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Does anyone remember any controversy when Amy Grant recorded "What About The Love"? by the lesbian singer/songwriter Janis Ian? Apparently it was a #1 hit in Christian Radio in '88. Pretty great song, actually!

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Holy Moly! wrote:

: Does anyone remember any controversy when Amy Grant recorded "What About The Love"? by the lesbian singer/songwriter Janis Ian?

Nope. I heard all sorts of controversies about Amy Grant back in the '80s ("She was barefoot when she went up on stage to accept her Grammy!!!" "The clothes she wore were too sexy!!!" "She sang a duet with Peter Cetera, and not only is he secular, but he's not her husband!!!"), but nothing about this. If anything, the album that this song came from (Lead Me On) was pretty much ignored at the time, as I recall -- at least compared to Amy's previous and subsequent albums.

Side question: Was Janis Ian known as a lesbian at the time Amy's album came out? Wikipedia says Ian divorced her husband in 1983 and met her wife in 1989, and the Amy Grant album in question came out between those two points in time.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Holy Moly! wrote:

: Does anyone remember any controversy when Amy Grant recorded "What About The Love"? by the lesbian singer/songwriter Janis Ian?

Nope. I heard all sorts of controversies about Amy Grant back in the '80s ("She was barefoot when she went up on stage to accept her Grammy!!!" "The clothes she wore were too sexy!!!" "She sang a duet with Peter Cetera, and not only is he secular, but he's not her husband!!!"), but nothing about this. If anything, the album that this song came from (Lead Me On) was pretty much ignored at the time, as I recall -- at least compared to Amy's previous and subsequent albums.

Side question: Was Janis Ian known as a lesbian at the time Amy's album came out? Wikipedia says Ian divorced her husband in 1983 and met her wife in 1989, and the Amy Grant album in question came out between those two points in time.

A couple years ago, Lead Me On got the super-deluxe reissue treatment with a 2-disc set, remastering, etc. It's interesting that the record label chose that album as the one to "honor" even though it didn't sell as well.

As for Janis Ian, even if she was "out" when Amy covered her song, very few people would have known it. There was no Internet in those days and Ian was hardly on the radar of "secular" music fans, let alone people who listened to Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith.

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Yeah...I have no memory of any controversy regarding that. I doubt many people noticed who wrote the song.


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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I'm hung up on the idea that Lead Me On was a sales underperformer. I had Unguarded, and my brother got Lead Me On, although that was at least a couple years later, right? I thought it was Grant's crossover album, and one that was rather successful. Didn't it lay the groundwork for Baby, Baby soon thereafter?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Does anyone remember any controversy when Amy Grant recorded "What About The Love"? by the lesbian singer/songwriter Janis Ian?

Not only that, I don't know of any controversy when Love Song used a detail from Michelangelo's "Creation" for the cover art of their Final Touch LP! I mean, really! A record cover by a Catholic [!] widely reputed to be homosexual [!!]


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

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It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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On first listen, it feels like Jennifer Knapp's strongest recording. There's a section in the middle where three songs are wrapped tightly together in theme with the title song tucked in the middle. It is perfect album placement, both musically and lyrically too.

It feels like she was writing the songs without the knowledge that she was coming out, and then when the project got to a certain point, she knew all of these themes were becoming unable to avoid. The songs were taking her into territory where there were going to be more questions to confront after the release -- might as well get it out of the way and come out before the album hits the stands. And besides, won't that make for great advertising, right? (cynical side coming out of me there, but it has to be somewhat true.)

The production and the arrangements -- and her voice -- are stronger than ever. The message seems to imply that she feels God made her this way, and she's learning to be comfortable with it, but isn't always, but that she still longs for mercy and even more for God's strength as she tries to figure out where her life is going now that she's accepting herself as she is.

Btw, is this on a Christian label?

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Huh. I just discovered that the bassist for a couple of Christian punk bands that I listened to in the '80s and early '90s has been "married" to another guy (an interior designer, no less) since around '94. So says his Facebook page, at any rate. . . .

Is anyone keeping a list of all the gay CCM musicians somewhere? It's getting to the point where I can't rely on memory alone.

Well, no need to keep that bassist anonymous any more: Down the Line has a whole issue devoted to "Homosexuality, God and the Church" that features an interview with him -- and his name is Ric Alba, former bassist with Undercover, the Altar Boys and others.

Other interviewees in that magazine include Dug Pinnick from King's X and Sean Doty from Veil of Ashes.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Ric Alba

He also had a solo album. I'm sure of it.

Edit: Aah. That was easier than I thought. Holes in the Floor of Heaven.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Persona wrote:

: He also had a solo album. I'm sure of it.

Yep, he discusses it in the interview, and how it reflected his coming-to-terms with his sexuality at that time.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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For what it's worth, when I picked this up at Amoeba Music the week it came out, it had been filed away in the back with her other albums in the "Christian Music" section. If even Amoeba, which you'd think would eat up a story about a former Christian musician who comes out and argues with a pastor on Larry King, can't really be bothered to pay attention, I suspect that all of this is a tempest in a very small teapot. If nothing else, I'd hoped at least her music could get a little exposure after all of this, but maybe not.

That said, Letting Go, the actual album, is pretty good. I admit I'm a little disappointed, but I think that's understandable; no album could live up to 7 years of expectation. Seriously, I musically came of age waiting for this album. And yet... there is something here that doesn't fully resonate with me.

Her voice has matured nicely, and the edgier rockers, "Dive In," "Letting Go" or "Inside" aren't bad, but they don't feel as ragged as "The Way I Am" or "Fall Down" always did to me, even though the production is a little less overbearing. I think her other songs are the strongest here, "Mr. Gray," "Stone to the River," "Want for Nothing," and especially "Better Off," which has that same cold clarity I love in some of her earlier work.

I've been waiting for the lyrics to impress me, but with a few exceptions I don't think that's going to happen. I've always said I'd be glad to see her tackle more "secular" subjects if she wanted to, but it turns out one of the things that I loved about her lyrics was the way all the scriptural allusions forced her to grapple with slightly archaic language and dense subject matter, and I loved the way she made that sound somehow fresh. The lyrics here feel more generic, but not exactly striking in their simplicity ("Mr. Gray" and "Better Off" are striking in their simplicity, and they might very well be my favorite songs on the album).

I think, and this is just a guess at this point, that what made her older albums resonate with me was the incisiveness of her self-critique. The cold clarity. The way she seemed aware of her own failings, her own weakness, and yet in that awareness seemed capable of transcending it in grace. In this album I hear a lot more critique of other people and the pressures they exert and while often enough it's incisive, it doesn't work in the same way. It doesn't sneak past my defenses and pierce my own heart. It's just some good rocking tunes. That's not bad, but it's not quite the album I was hoping for.

Edited by N.K. Carter

Nathaniel K. Carter

www.nkcarter.com

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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Just had to post this ... I found it in the guidelines of another discussion group focused on Christian music.

08) Additional topics that are not allowed on this list are all subjects

revolving around controversial issues which sometimes stir arguments. Experience

has shown they can quickly spiral into conversations which are unproductive,

judgmental, negative, or destructive. IF IN DOUBT, ERR ON THE SIDE OF MERCY AND

REFER TO THE 2ND PARAGRAPH OF THIS FILE. Examples of such topics may include,

but are not limited to the following:

a.) Marsha Stevens and her declaration of being Christian and homosexual

b.) Negativity about Amy Grant's move to secular music and her divorce

c.) Any arguing over the band U2

d.) Inflammatory discussions on Larry Norman & his family regarding his

son and/or film "Fallen Angel"

e.) Anything that is attacking a political party or celebrity;

no political posturing or endorsements allowed

f.) Inflammatory remarks concerning any allegations about Mike Warnke,

Ray Boltz, and Jennifer Knapp

g.) Any overly-disparaging remarks made about the validity of ANY

artist's ministry and/or unduly negative comments on their personal lives

What kind of world is it where you're not allowed to argue about U2?


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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AKA the "Non-discussing Discussion group." :)

The word "allegations" in f. is rather strange.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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OTOH, any group that has people knowledgeable on both Jennifer Knapp and Mike Warnke must have some bright spots.

We'll never know. You cannot discuss it. :)


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Sometimes I just long for the Good Ol' Days. (4th pic left standing)


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Does anyone know offhand who played lead guitar on the new CD?

I hate not having liner notes with mp3 downloads.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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He is also partly responsible for one of the coolest Over the Rhine tours. He is an interesting live guitar player.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Jennifer Knapp responds to questions about her faith and sexuality on Rachel Held Evans' blog:

From Iris: How has being gay helped you serve Christ better? Can you tell us of one experience where your coming out has served as an encouragement or life-changer for someone else?

I don’t know that I’d use the language 'to serve Christ better’. If anything, my reticence in using a phrase like that today is probably evidence of the fact that I’ve had a lot to process about what it means to be ‘Christian.’ I don’t think I’m by any means unique, when I say that as a gay person taught from an evangelical tradition, you have little choice but to seriously evaluate your position as ‘Christian’. My sexual orientation just isn’t up for debate, but my faith was definitely a choice that I could make. If homosexuality is in any way an evidence of spiritual failure, then the conscientious Christian must examine the possibility. I did, sincerely. And while I’m keenly aware that there are those who theologically oppose my person being fully celebrated in the narrative of the Gospel, the undeniable fact remains: I am still here. I don’t know if this makes me ‘better’ in any sense, but it makes me aware that divinely prescribed grace cannot be earned. In that case, I’m back where I started, when I first got on my knees. The best that I can do is start by recognizing that what measure of grace I have received is only repaid by passing that grace onto others. I don’t think being gay has taught me this, but rather, I’ve always wanted to be willing to accept the parts of me that I cannot change and still have the courage to accept grace.

It’s a strange circle indeed. Because I’ve had to run the gauntlet where many Christians would proclaim there is no fruit that could come from such a rotten tree, but I’m convinced otherwise. I used to spend hours after a show signing autographs on t-shirts and CDs. I felt like I was a pin-up girl for Jesus, supposedly a model of what a Christian woman was to look and act like. No wonder why people were disappointed, I was destined to fail, as I am hopelessly human. But now, after a concert, or a meeting in a church where I talk about what I’ve been through...I don’t sign autographs that much any more. Instead, I find that I’m listening for hours to so many other people whose stories are similar to my own. We are drawn together because each of us is reaching out for evidence that our faith might still be relevant to our daily lives. Some are gay or have stories of someone gay they know who have been deeply wounded by the church, but mostly, we’re just folks who know that our faith is significant. We have been altered, hopefully for the better, by our experience with the Gospel. And now that we see just how human we really are, we’re grateful. I’m grateful. I honestly don’t know how much more life-changing an experience you hope to discover than love.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Jennifer Knapp on Steve Brown, Etc

 

In 2002, Jennifer Knapp was at the height of her career as a contemporary Christian artist. As a Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter who had sold a million albums, Jennifer seemed to have it all.
Then she disappeared and left it all behind.
Jennifer returned to professional music in 2010 and publicly confirmed that she is gay.
Join Jennifer on Steve Brown, Etc. as she tells her story and talks about her new book, Facing the Music.
 
It's years since I've listened to Steve Brown, but I remember liking him years ago. Listening to the program now.

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