An Interview with Jennifer Knapp Part 2: Church, Sexuality, and Progressive Christianity
Beliefnet continues chatting with Jennifer Knapp in the second part of this personal interview.
Who all was involved that you had worked with previously?
Well, there were several Board Members of the Wild Goose Festival that I've worked with. Youthfront's one of the organizations [where they were from], and Youth Specialties - now, I don't know what their standing is, in particular, with these organizations anymore, but I used to work a lot with these types of events. And the leadership involved in those were largely centered around big weekends. You had conferences where you talk with thousands and thousands of kids, providing entertainment and discipleship conversations and then, of course, it's pretty heavy on evangelism as well. And as an entertainer, I would plug into those. It was just part of one of the routines that we did, in terms of doing Christian music, and you spend a lot of time in the summers doing that kind of stuff.
Well, these guys had been doing much of that over the years and have gotten to a point where, as the demographic has aged and come into their own process of trying to figure out how you live life with this faith… and having to tackle some really difficult issues that don't have easy answers. It seems to me, in some of the conversations I had in hooking up with those guys again that they were just really ready to wade knee-deep into it; not necessarily having to have answers, but a willingness to expose themselves in a spiritual journey to some really hard questions. That to me was probably one of the most exciting things to see. People who, for a long time, have been leaders that, I would say in my perspective, that meant to come into a lot of those situations a long time ago, but having to tow the party line or you didn't work.
When you talk about a community event like that, when… whether it's a festival or a weekend conference or something like that, I think that one of the things that we take for granted are the myriad of different personalities that make up that community. We forget the focal point of what draws us together as a community that we do agree on, which is a spiritual pursuit. And a lot of the interesting characters that make that up; the people on the production teams, the people on the educational staff, the people that are just there, facilitating the recreation of youth inside of these "safe places," where wholesome kind of activities for young people took place. I think a lot of us felt a frustration at that time, and not necessarily feeling like we set the mold that we had to deliver.