Thursday, July 22, 2010

on Challenging the Norm

I'm sitting on a stool at the counter in my kitchen turned office in our new-as-of-a-month-ago home in Southern Connecticut. Dog is at my feet; music is pouring out of the stereo... Jennifer Knapp music, to be specific...

I just bought her new album, Letting Go, from iTunes. She's been a fave of mine since college. I learned to play songs from her first album on my first guitar back then. Her music has this raw simplicity to it... at least, that album did. She's become increasingly complex, actually. And I love that about her.

This new album comes with an interesting side note that, were JK not the musician she is and had I not grown up in the conservative culture I grew up in, would be nothing more than a passing blip. See, JK is a "contemporary Christian" musician... at least, that's where she got her start. And shortly before the release of this new album, she publicly announced that she is a lesbian.

There's been a mixed reaction from the conservative Christian community regarding that announcement. It's basically a black mark on her soul, according to most. There have been calls to boycott her music. I'm sure there has been more hate mail than there should be (I'd go with... there should be NO hate mail).

Personally, I love her more for her authenticity. There's something admirably real, something vulnerable, about JK not backing down from the call of her heart. It's ALWAYS been reflected in her music. Especially now that she has to deal with the backlash of a culture that should open it's arms to accept her as she really is, no masks, no "fitting a mold."

It's a challenge that most of us who have been raised in that culture are afraid to take. Daring to question the status quo, to live outside the prescribed norm takes guts; it takes re-wiring. It's HARD. But it's not WRONG. It's the Path to finding what's Real.

I find myself Challenged. And I Challenge you. See you on the Path.

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