A Rockstar, A Reverend, and Redemption
It’s a church. No, it’s a rock concert.
It’s a church. No, it’s a rock concert. Actually, for tonight, it’s a rock concert in a church. Grammy nominated Christian singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp’s lyrics soared with spine tingling, melt your heart, open your soul to true, goddess-like quality of Aphrodite truth – giving the audience chills and a shot at their own authenticity.
What better place to test the acoustics than St. Marks United Methodist Church, though Knapp really didn’t need the microphone to amplify her strong powerhouse of a voice. In fact, the audience didn’t even notice until she alerted the sound booth that she had forgotten to turn on the acoustics on the guitar for the first couple of bars.
The people were mesmerized by her sound. You could feel the mellowness ripple through the pews on the diverse faces of the audience. Some of them sat with their eyes closed, holding their hearts. Others waved their hands in faith, feeling her lyrics, as she mixed known classics, from first hit single, "Undo Me," from her debut album “Kansas” (1998) to the song, "A Little More," from her Grammy award nominated album, “Lay It Down” (2000). In 2001, “The Way I Am,” was also nominated for a Grammy. In total, her three albums have sold over one million copies.
An artist truly is an artist defined when her loyal fans still seek shelter in her glow after a seven year hiatus of traveling, soul searching and validating her true self.
Fans drove from as far as Chico, California just to hear her fluid transition to coming out. She discussed her life trials and how creativity and music serve as an outlet for her feelings.
“We came because we love her music; didn’t expect to be so validated in my belief,” shared excited 24 year old Teri Abshier. She and a friend drove the long miles north from Bakersfield.
Sprinkled between Knapp’s set is her speak easy humor poking fun of herself and the decision to come out as a “lesbian.” She is now a role model for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community, in contrast to her conservative Christian pop/folk singer past. This is one woman who has grown truly honest with her sexuality and assertion, as reflected in her new album, “Letting Go.”
She has come to the realization that she can’t please everyone, and the best she can do is “let go” and accept the person she has become.
After Knapp’s performance, Reverend Gene Robinson, an openly gay New Hampshire bishop who delivered a prayer for President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and is now an activist for LGBT issues, delivered his philosophy on the LGBT movement. He likened the movement to Martin Luther King’s civil rights activism of the 1960’s against racism. The -isms he was referring to included racism, sexism and the 234 other isms that limit human understanding. He discussed why the movement was also about religion and what the bible really says about being gay is left to interpretation based on each of our experiences.
A same sex couple, Elizabeth and Sarah Kelly, were also at the concert. At the moment, they live in Roseville near the church because it was where they got the support they needed when they first moved to California.
Sarah aspires to become a youth pastor after graduation so she can support, encourage and advise young LGBT. LGBT teen suicide is a concern that Rev. Robinson pointed out in his talk. The kids feel left out and alone without a support group to have their voice heard. This lack of understanding is what plagues both adults and children.
“It’s preposterous," said Sarah Kelly, voicing her growing frustration over Prop 8.
"We live the same as married couple. We share the rent, expense for our household needs, join the military, act as domestic partners, access IVF and even adopt children legally, but because we are the same sex, we are still unrecognizable by the courts as legally married,”
Proposition 8 eliminates rights of same-sex couples to marry. The passing of Prop 8 in 2008 and the debate over same sex marriage has been a back and forth pendulum since the 1970’s. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
The next stage in California’s Prop 8 court case is set for Sept 6 when the Supreme Court of California will hear arguments on whether Prop 8 supporters have legal standing under state law to overturn California’s gay marriage ban.