Theology for the Long Haul

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Being or Mourning?

When I flip through my CD case, there is a disc with little black and red flowers on it that haunts me. I pause for a long moment to study it and then hurry to turn the sleeve. It is the album Kansas by Jennifer Knapp. You might own a copy.

I bought mine on a whim at the tail-end of my first year of college. I had become disillusioned with the freshman year party scene at Valparaiso University and Kansas’ lyrics were a fresh breath of truth, honesty, and need that resonated with me. After a week of listening to the CD, I was inspired to reread the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, I was born again.

Because the album was instrumental in my salvation, I felt a deep connection with its artist, Jennifer Knapp. She became part of my story—a sister in Christ I deeply admired.

Then she came out.

It’s old news for most Christians. For me it has remained a fresh hurt. My “older sister” went her own way—I can no longer look up to her.

A few nights ago I was reading in 2 Samuel, where Samuel the prophet told Saul that [Saul’s] sin had caused the Lord to reject him as king. A portion of verse 35, chapter 15 reads, “Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul…” Immediately following, in verse 16 the Lord says to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul seeing that I have rejected Him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

I had to wonder about the pain that Samuel experienced watching the spiritual demise of his leader and king. It was enough to cause him to mourn long enough that God had to tell him to stop.

Jennifer Knapp is the Saul I have mourned for too long. Honestly, I think most Christians have mourned someone beyond the appropriate time. Often it’s the pastor who hurt them or the Christian who let them down. Sometimes it’s the disappointment of never finding a spiritual mentor to help them through the struggles and trials of life.

But I’ve decided for me, I can’t dwell on that anymore. It’s the young girls God’s brought into my life over the last year that have convinced me. There are already too many 30-somethings lamenting the loss or absence of a spiritual mentor, oblivious to the young eyes turned towards them in desperate need of the same thing.

So who’s your Saul?

Maybe more important: Will you become a Saul to someone else? If that’s the case, maybe the Lord is telling you as He did to Samuel, that it’s time to move on. Fill your horn with oil, and go.


  1. I have friends that adore Jennifer Knapp even more since she came out because she show the courage to be a Christian and gay. That's when I scratch my head and wonder what has happened to the world.

    Also, I LOVED her Kansas cd. Somedays, it was my saving grace. I don't have it anymore, don't know where it went.

  2. I have such a profound respect for the (many, many) Christians who struggle with homosexuality without defending it as Biblical. I pray that eventually Jennifer Knapp would take this position, as I think she could give a lot of hope to other Christians who are seeking to overcome homosexuality. It's the last sin temptation that anyone wants to confess to (mostly we all just like to confess to pride and other very general sins) and I think it would be hugely freeing for people to honestly admit that they are struggling rather than trying to do it on their own.
    I'm thinking I'll get the Kansas CD out and listen to it soon. Maybe it will be the official marker of the end of my mourning.