Gay Christian worship artist to release book on faith and sexuality
Jennifer Knapp's sexuality had long been the subject of speculation but it was still something of a shock when she came out as gay back in 2010.
She was a hugely popular worship artist and at the top of her game after selling over a million albums and winning praise from the critics, before bowing out not long after the release of The Way I Am in 2001.
And almost as suddenly as she disappeared from the limelight, she returned, simultaneously releasing three interviews in LGBT publication The Advocate, the Reuters news agency, and the US magazine Christianity Today publically announcing she was gay.
The media went crazy and it largely overshadowed her other news – that she had been back in the studio and was bringing out a new album. Called Letting Go, it was her first album release in almost a decade but Knapp was clear that it was not a Christian record and was not going to be marketed at Christian radio.
Nonetheless it pointed to Knapp's desire to leave behind the upheaval of the previous years – she quit music because of the exhausting schedule and spent the years thereafter travelling across the US, Europe and Australia.
When she was finally ready to return to music, it seems it was about making a completely fresh start and being upfront about who she was.
The reality was that she had been in a relationship with a woman for many years and that she saw no conflict between that and her Christian faith.
"I'm just a normal human being who's dealing with normal everyday life scenarios. As a Christian, I'm doing that as best as I can," Knapp said in an interview with Christianity Today at the time.
Knapp also spoke candidly about her views on the church's approach to gay people, saying the church was "hopelessly deceived" if it thought there weren't many more Christians like her sitting in the pews trying to "hold on to the person they love, whatever sex that may be, and hold on to their faith".
Four years later, the dust has settled – and that's probably largely down to Knapp's limited musical output during this time - but the issues haven't gone away and homosexuality remains as much a talking – and dividing – point for Christians and evangelicals on both sides of the Atlantic.
And it seems Knapp has more to say about her journey and her advocacy for LGBT issues in the church. She is releasing a new book later this year with Simon and Schuster – the same publisher of "Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family and Fowl" by Jase Robertson, a member of the Duck Dynasty clan that embodies conservative evangelical values.
The blurb from Simon and Schuster says the memoir will tell the story of Knapp's troubled childhood, her conversion to Christianity and successful music career, as well as her departure from contemporary Christian music and her sexual orientation.
"She also talks about the importance of her faith, and despite the many who claim she can no longer call herself a believer, she maintains that she is both gay and a Christian," the publisher said.
Facing the Music: Discovering Real Life, Real Love, and Real Faith is out in October and will no doubt be another ladle stirring into the cooking pot on human sexuality and the church.