If you haven’t already heard then it is upon me to tell you that Jennifer Knapp is a lesbian. And Christians everywhere are boycotting her.
I just recently finished reading the Bible in 90 Days—more on that in another blog—and as I rummaged through my notes I was surprised to see scribbled down Galatians 5:15, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Is this a warning against becoming cannibal Christians?
What do I mean by that? Cannibal Christians, a group I unfortunately have been a part of at one time or another, use their words and actions to bring death—not life—to others. Condemnation, judgment, criticism, disapproval, blame—these are the spoiled fruit of a cannibal Christian. Phelps and the Westboro church with their “God Hates Fags” signs are famous cannibal Christians. Lay-cannibals are in our own churches--perhaps in our own homes.
Is it surprising to you that many people view Christians as hypocritical, judgmental, insensitive, too political, homophobic, and boring? Does it surprise you that these opinions are formed based on EXPERIENCE with Christians? How did Jesus’ teachings go from “love one another” to where we are today? What are the consequences of misrepresenting Jesus?
When I think of cannibal Christians I think of Jesus and the adulterous woman. John 8:3 says the teachers of law and Pharisees brought before Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery—a sinner.
Where is the man? This is an important question. Mosaic law required both men and women who committed adultery to be stoned (Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:22). So why is just the woman being exposed? Is her lawless act of adultery more despicable to God than the man’s?
Don’t we still do this? Don’t we elevate one sin above another? Homosexuals be damned but gossips—not so bad? Isn’t all sin, sin (James 2:10)?
While the teachers and Pharisees speak to Jesus, he writes in the sand and then says those words that forever highlight our need to be compassionate and merciful towards others—“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Jesus ends this encounter with the adulterous woman by saying, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).
Where am I going with all this? I have a point. I promise.
As Christians when we deal with others, especially those outside of the Church, we can be judgmental and critical. In fact, many of us use Jesus’ words “go and sin no more” as our battle cry as we condemn sinners to hell with our proverbial bullhorns. Is it wrong to challenge one another to lead pure lives? NO! A thousand times NO!
However, did we forget the first part of His sentence? Neither do I condemn you. Neither do I condemn you. Perhaps if Christians followed the first part of the sentence, the second might more readily apply. If we lovingly and compassionately dealt with those without Christ, if neither did we condemn them, then maybe, just maybe, they’d come to know Christ and begin to address the sin in their lives.
When it comes to homosexuality, asexuality, transexuality, intersexuality, etc., I believe Christians are facing a huge showdown with their theology. Do we really believe that Christ came for the sick? For the sinners? Do we really believe that he died for the least of these? That he died for us while we were his sinning enemies? And if we believe that for us, do we believe it for others? Did he die for them and their sins too? Does “God hate fags” or did he die for them? Are there any sins so deep and so dark and so icky that the blood of Jesus cannot wash and redeem them?
From where I stand, the answer is no. Jesus is big enough and His love can cover a multitude of sins.
But how will people ever know that Jesus died for them if cannibal Christians, with all their judgments and hypocrisies and “holier than thou-ness” keep people from seeking Him? How will people know that He is good, and loving, and merciful, and gracious and willing to forgive
As a Christian woman I am challenging all of you to remember what Paul wrote. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church? Are you not to judge those inside? (1 Cor. 5:12). It is time to put our faith where our theological mouths are.
Your feelings on homosexuality need not be dismissed—your judgments of homosexuals must be. Do not condemn homosexuals. Love them. Let Christ love them through you and He’ll take care of the rest. Our role is not to judge when others sin. That is God’s role. Our role is to be forgiving and compassionate--to love as He loved us.
Finally, Jennifer Knapp. Boycott if you think it will help her. Boycott if you think it will show the world God’s mercy. Boycott if you think it will keep another Christian from stumbling.
But know this, I won’t boycott Knapp. I don’t listen to her music anyway but I’ll pray for her as she fights the Christians who would rather devour her than love her where she is for who she is as she seeks to be the woman God made her to be (all the while trusting that He is working in and through her).
Is Knapp doing something that is against biblical standards? Yes. Do I do something every, stinking day that is against biblical standards? Yes. (Galatians 5 has a great but not inexhaustible list of sins including: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissention, factions, envy …).
Will we allow Knapp to be the symbolic adulterous woman who will be stoned while the
judgmental, merciless, gossiping Church, symbolic of the adulterous man gets off Scott free?
Call sin, sin. Don’t be afraid of that. But when you do it, do it in front of a mirror and point to the plank in your own eye. And then praise Jesus that He died for all sinners. For you. For me. And then spread grace and mercy as willingly as He did.
Go, spread life and not death.
And that’s what I think about Jennifer Knapp and cannibal Christians.