Jennifer Knapp, grace, and loving the outsider

Finally catching up on some back reading, I caught a story on Christianity Today online regarding Jennifer Knapp’s apparent coming out.  It’s a very interesting and surprisingly candid interview with Knapp, and it’s naturally creating a lot of heat (the 700+ comments are evidence alone).

One quote of hers stood out though, as poignant and universal to all of us.

“At a certain point I find myself so handcuffed in my own faith by trying to get it right—to try and look like a Christian, to try to do the things that Christians should do, to be all of these things externally—to fake it until I get myself all handcuffed and tied up in knots as to what I was supposed to be doing there in the first place.”

This speaks beyond the homosexuality debate to something that we all struggle with.   We try and do more, to give more, to show up more, read more, pray more, lead more, to work harder and harder.  We try and read the right books and watch the right movies and TV and the right music.

And we have not given grace to ourselves or anybody else.

If we can’t get grace right, how can we get anywhere as Christians?

Also, it struck me that Knapp saw herself as both inside and outside of Christianity.  I know many people who have felt the same way.  They honestly want to follow Christ, but for one reason or another don’t feel welcome in the sanctuary.  I’ve had patients tell me that I’m the only pastor they have.  I’ve had others say that I see them more than their own minister does.   It’s humbling, inspiring and saddening all at the same time for me when someone tells me this.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been on the outside as well that I feel a bit more sensitive to those in exile, even if it is a self-imposed one.  Those moments of connection, few as they are, keep me going

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