A Lament for Jennifer

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I remember the day I heard the news. I was in seminary. I went to sit on a park bench along a walking path. Students were passing by, but I was staring at the grass. I was thinking and praying. I was sad, and I was confused. Jennifer Knapp, after seven years away, had just come back to the music scene, but no longer was she making Christian music. She was gay and living with another woman.

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When I was a kid, Jennifer Knapp came to my home church to play a concert. We were a small church. There were maybe 50 people at the concert—obviously, this was before Knapp toured with bands like Third Day.

I remember something that Tim said that night. Tim was the person at our church who “booked” the concert. “She’ll never be back,” Tim commented to me as we stood in the sound booth.

“Why?” I asked.

“She’s going places,” Tim said.

“Oh,” I said.

And she did.

That night, after her concert, my mom asked Jennifer if I could play her guitar. Don’t laugh at me—I was a kid learning to play, and, at the time, it seemed like a normal thing to do. Jennifer said yes. I strummed G, C, D on a professional musician’s guitar, a professional “going places.”

And so, 15 years later, when I heard the news, I was sad.

My sadness returned last night as I read a post by Trevin Wax about Knapp (here). The post was something of an update on Jennifer’s story and something of a review of her recently released memoir, but his post was more than mere update and review. It was a beautifully full-orbed lament about Knapp, evangelicalism, divorce, and the times we inhabit.

Thank you, Trevin, for putting into words what I felt on a park bench a few years ago.

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