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Facing the Music: My Story [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Knapp
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jennifer Knapp’s meteoric rise in the Christian music industry ended abruptly when she walked away and came out publicly as a lesbian. This is her story—of coming to Christ, of building a career, of admitting who she is, and of how her faith remained strong through it all.

At the top of her career in the Christian music industry, Jennifer Knapp quit. A few years later, she publicly revealed she is gay. A media frenzy ensued, and many of her former fans were angry with what they saw as turning her back on God. But through it all, she held on to the truth that had guided her from the beginning.

In this memoir, she finally tells her story: of her troubled childhood, the love of music that pulled her through, her dramatic conversion to Christianity, her rise to stardom, her abrupt departure from Christian Contemporary Music, her years of trying to come to terms with her sexual orientation, and her return to music and Nashville in 2010, when she came out publicly for the first time. 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.

Now an advocate for LGBT issues in the church, Jennifer has witnessed heartbreaking struggles as churches wrestle with issues of homosexuality and faith. This engrossing, inspiring memoir will help people understand her story and to believe in their own stories, whatever they may be.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2144 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (7 Oct. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #376,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story! 9 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
well written and honest, just like her music that I so love! well worth reading and inspirational. Thank you Jen, your coming out paved the way for me to finally be honest with my Christian family, it's changed us all for the better!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A story of love to love 7 Jun. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brave, honest and revealing story of Jennifer's life, faith, career and coming out. Hard to read the hatred she experienced at times but equally affirming to know of the love shared
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facing the Music by Jennifer Knapp 10 Oct. 2014
By Tina - Published on
I remember during my first year of seminary my friend, Scott, dropping by my room with a cd. I didn't listen to much contemporary christian music, so I told him I would listen, but I was pretty certain inside that I would be giving it back to him. Turns out I didn't return it, I kept it. I loved it so much, I had to buy a second copy. And I had to buy the next cd and the next.

That cd was Jennifer Knapp's Kansas. Her songs defined for me what good christian music should be like, heavily steeped in scripture and emotion, with a little soul thrown in to make it rock. In 2002, Joel and I raced our way across the country from Seattle to Wisconsin so that he could start a new job and we could catch her in concert at his new church. We listened to all of her songs on repeat the whole way. And when we had the opportunity to meet her, I was struck by what she shared. She told us that she had a dream that she was on a plane and it crashed. She was sad that it wasn't true. I was sad, but after reading Facing the Music, I can't believe that none of us there that witnessed her call for love missed out on sharing love with her.

She disappeared not too long after that, maybe even a matter of days and she went dark. She stayed dark for years. I would pray for her and occasionally look her up online to see if she was back. I don't remember exactly when she showed back up, but it was quiet and it was that of a long loved artist coming back from hiatus. When Facing the Music showed up in my email, I knew I had to read it. I wanted to see if there was more to the story than the tiny part I knew.

Turns out there is more to the story, a whole lot more. Knapp does and excellent job of sharing her story, beginning with her birth family and journey through their divorce and the dynamics of having a twin sister and her parents remarrying and having more children. She shares how she fell in love with music and how it became a place of comfort and safety for her. And then with joining the contemporary christian music scene that place started to look more like bondage and lies. Not that she lied about herself, but she wasn't able to be her real self, she had an image and it needed to sold all the time. Once the burden became too great, she finally broke. And according to the story she tells, by the time I encountered her, she was beyond broken but shattered.

She goes on to talk about the healing that she went through, finding truth and peace and being okay with her terms and her self.

I enjoyed Jennifer's story very much. I dug out all my old CDs and have to get her new one soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well written account of her journey 7 Oct. 2014
By Joan N. - Published on
In 2002, at the top of her career in Contemporary Christian Music, Jennifer Knapp quit. Several years later she revealed that she way gay. She finally tells her story.

Her parents divorced after two years of marriage and Jennifer and her twin sister were raised by their father on a farm. She struggled with her stepmother and writing poems became her release. A teacher introduced her to music. Playing her plastic recorder, she felt alive. “Music was a part of my body, a part of my experience that allowed me a safe place to feel and express my heart.” She played trumpet in junior high and high school. “...I could breath into life every dream and hope that was trapped, unspoken inside my heart.”

She found solace in alcohol in high school then in college. She was converted as a freshman in college and began to write songs, picking them out on an old guitar she bought at a flea market. She was in a band, then went solo, then signed with Gotee Records. “Music, for me, was about what it did when you told your secrets.” She won the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year.

But all was not well. She tells of the pressures of being a Contemporary Christian Music star and role model. Then the implosion. She finished out her contracted tour and left the Christian music scene. Jennifer needed time away to clear her mind. She pack away her guitar. She and her supportive friend (and partner), Karen, traveled. Years later they ended up in Karen's native Australia where Jennifer finally again picked up her guitar. She now performs and tours extensively, engaging in advocacy work for LGBT people of faith.

I know there will be many who will be very critical of this book because of the stand Jennifer has taken. I am very impressed with it. It is very well written. Jennifer has a beautiful way with words and she is able to communicate her feelings with clarity. She tells her story in a compelling way. Reading through the book helped me understand Jennifer's journey and perhaps others on a similar path.

Also, this book brings up issues not related to the LGBT community. One issue is the use of God given gifts. Jennifer was told early on that the sole purpose of her gift was for nurturing the church. Do Christian artists always have to sing songs about Jesus? Do Christian authors always have to write books with strong Christian themes? Do we expect architects to only design homes for Christians, or for dentists to only work on cavities of Christians? Why are such narrow demands made upon Christians gifted in music and art?

Reading this book helped me get an idea of the pressure under which Christian musicians must operate. It was not a pleasant picture. It was very understandable that Jennifer imploded under that kind of pressure.

Jennifer Knapp has had the courage to tell her own story. Whether you agree with the position she has taken on LGBT and faith or not, this is certainly a book worth reading.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching, inspirational story of love and faith. 7 Oct. 2014
By Robb McCoy - Published on
I had the pleasure of reading Facing the Music before it was released. It is a beautiful memoir, and a compelling story. Jennifer Knapp's story is one that needs to be heard. There is nothing contrived. There is no political agenda. She's not trying to convince you of anything. It is just Jennifer telling her story, and she's a wonderful story teller. She avoids the cliched theological arguments, and sidesteps the bitter anger to which she is certainly entitled. She gives the reader a glimpse of what it is like to rise from oblivion to healthy obscurity to overwhelming stardom. She introduces us to people along her journey. Some were inspirational, like the music teacher that drove her to contests. Others were less so, like her step-mother who refused to acknowledge her as her own. All of these people though, are handled with humanity and grace. The tale of Jennier's life takes us from a humble Kansas farm, to the big lights of Nashville, to a tour of Europe, a long stay in Australia, and back again. In the end, I was left inspired by the love she has, not only of music, but of God, who creates us all in God's image. If you're interested in an hour-long conversation with Jennifer, go to this link
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Should Read? Both Conservative Evangelicals and the Non-Religious 18 Oct. 2014
By Karen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the most striking things about this book is what it reveals about the power of the gospel in a person's life. After reading of all the legalism and spiritual abuse Knapp witnessed or experienced, it's a wonder she retained her faith. But her encounter with the living Christ was so transformative and powerful it was not something she could let go of or deny. I love that God has held her fast and that she has held fast to God.

As she recounted her challenging years in the Christian music industry it gave me a glimpse into what was going on behind the scenes when I met her during a backstage meet and greet for a Lay It Down concert. She had advertised an essay contest to win two tickets and a backstage pass. I no longer remember what the essay question was but I wrote about my sexual orientation and desire to live for God (by refraining from same-sex relationships). I won the contest. That was around the time or just before she began facing her own sexuality. It was also a time she was managing a hectic schedule as an introvert interfacing with group after group of fans with backstage passes (!)

Her description of the dysfunction in the Christian music industry does not surprise, but does sadden me. Perhaps shining a light on it all will offer helpful reflection for those still in the industry. Yet despite the hardship she endured, Knapp does a good job wrestling with paradoxes: the Evangelical world was not merely a place of pain but also the place she experienced her spiritual birth, as well as the place that gave her a platform to share music beyond what she had ever dreamed.

Some have written Knapp off as not a true believer, but that has never been my inclination. Despite not having a spiritual peace being in a same sex relationship, I am all too aware faith and sexuality is more complex than many conservatives realize. Knapp's book only confirms to me her Christian faith. She strikes me as someone who is striving to walk through this life as honestly as she knows how.

To sum up: I recommend this book. Its an excellent read. Her writing is great and kept my attention throughout (albeit the first couple chapters could use a little more editing). I finished it in almost one sitting. Knapp is an intriguing person. She had my attention when I first heard her newly released Kansas CD in a Christian bookstore in the 90s. And she still does 16 years later.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, honest, and vulnerable... 7 Oct. 2014
By Steve - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The intersection of faith and sexuality is quite obviously a hot-button issue in our time. Faith communities, specifically the Christian Church, should be places of refuge, protection, grace, and love. As told in John 13, the "new command" given by Jesus shortly before his execution is "Love one another." Disciples of Jesus are to recognized by their love for one another. Tragically, persons in the LGBT community have often not experienced love from families and churches; instead, they are disowned, excluded, and denied sacraments and other means of grace. People are watching how well the church shows love within the world, and all too often their conclusion is "not very well."

In spite of countless experiences of abuse, condemnation, marginalization, and rejection from people that hold to a homophobic theology, many LGBT followers of Jesus have not abandoned their faith but have actually grown stronger in their relationship with and awareness of God. With well-written stories, Jennifer courageously and honestly shares her life experience; notably, the vividly real experience with God that literally saved her life. Her sudden rise on the scene of Contemporary Christian Music is recounted with the power and energy of a tornado on the Kansas plains, and the details of the aftermath of her abrupt departure from CCM are told with remarkable vulnerability.

I hope that fans of Jennifer's music will eagerly read this book and find beautiful insight into how the experiences of her life have helped to shape the amazing songs that she has and continues to craft. Persons within the Christian community who are working for full inclusion of all persons will find brutally poignant reminders of why this work is so important.

Most of all, I hope that people who believe in a disconnect between the church and persons who are LGBT will read this book and begin to realize that a person can be both gay and Christian.
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