Back when Christian media conglomerate Salem Communications announced it was purchashing CMCentral.com, a Christian music website, back in 2007, I wrote:
In addition to the poetic tragedy of bringing another well-established, distinctive site into their ruinous orbit, Salem is, with the purchase of CMCentral, dashing any small hope some might have had for Christian music reporting. For Christian music, having one company own every major publication that covers it—as well as all the radio stations where it is played—is a terrible idea. Christian music needs nothing if not open debate, fresh ideas, exposure to the outside culture, and more than a little prodding. When its journalism is contained with in a single corporate giant, it will become an even more insulated world of cross-promotion and self-congratulation. As Crosswalk, CCM, and now CMC all print each other’s content and a unified media front is erected, so dies the hope that Christian music reporting might ever become more insightful or Christian music criticism more productive. And Salem wants it that way.
A week has passed since Jennifer Knapp came out. I’ve been following the story obsessively. As a teenager who was only allowed to listen to Christian music, I recognized that Jennifer Knapp’s honest style was unusual in the Christian community. She was my favorite artist back in high school, and I still enjoy her music now that my musical tastes have expanded.
To come out to Christianity Today is not only honest, but incredibly brave. While her Facebook fan page has been flooded with messages of support – “You’re an inspiration to me, both as a Christian and as a member of the GLBT community” – many others have failed to recognize the sensitivities surrounding Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer identity and the complex viewpoints within the Christian community.
More and more gay Christians find they cannot deny their faith nor their sexual identity.
Christianity Today gets the scoop that lots of people knew was probably coming:
There were rumors that you left music because you were gay.
Knapp: That was a straw [in my decision], but there were many straws on the camel’s back at the time. I’m certainly in a same-sex relationship now, but when I suspended my work, that wasn’t even really a factor. I had some difficult decisions to make and what that meant for my life and deciding to invest in a same-sex relationship, but it would be completely unfair to say that’s why I left music.
Have you been with the same partner for a long time?
Knapp: About eight years, but I don’t want to get into that. For whatever reason the rumor mill [about me being gay] has persisted for so long, I wanted to acknowledge; I don’t want to come off as somebody who’s shirking the truth in my life. At the same time, I’m intensely private. Even if I were married to a man and had six children, it would be my personal choice to not get that kind of conversation rolling.
Knapp and her interviewer, Mark Moring, go into quite a bit of detail about the whole thing here.
As is usually the case, there is not much that needs to be said about Christian rap videos like this. I would just note that most people I have met do not much care for Jesus when he is all up in their grill.
An amazing press release from Christian Eminem imitator rapper KJ-52, which needs no comment:
KJ-52 has an uncanny ability to reach the youth of today in a clever and hip manner. It may be through the subject matter of his music, his tech savviness that connects hims to his fans on a continual basis (twitter, blogs, etc.), or his ultimate mission to point others to God through his work. With the release of his new project “Five Two Television,” his weekly video devotions, and currently touring on the “Modern Day Heroes” tour with Group 1 Crew, KJ-52 is continually staying busy reaching out to his fans. We are excited to announce KJ-52′s follow up single to his hit “End Of My Rope” titled “Calling You” (Featuring J.R.). “Calling You” will be hitting the rock airwaves 2/26!
KJ-52 describes “Calling You” as a single, “filled with text message speak (LOL, TTYL, etc.) and is an analogy of God’s text message (His word) and how God seeks to have us in a relationship and just like others try to get ahold of us with a text. God does the same thing with his text (The Bible).”
Don’t miss out on this catchy and relevant single “Calling You”! Seeking add commitments for 2/26 at Rock radio!
The CCM Patrol has gotten so few tips lately that we were starting to doubt that shit like this was still being made. Alas. And yay.
Since we made our name ripping music that makes God sound like a florid sex partner or a flashing JumboTron, we have a pretty big soft spot for people still out there waging the righteous but pointless battle against the inanity of Christian music. That no one should expect any theological dept or spiritual seriousness out of what now passes for "church music" became a fossilized fact long before we started writing in 2006. But now, Anglican bishop Nick Baines suggests we look back even further to say, 1885, when some obviously-childless dude in Philadelphia composed "Away in a Manger."
In Why Wish You A Merry Christmas: What Matters (And What Doesn't) in the Festive Season, Baines powerfully echoes the doctrine of The CCM Patrol: Christmas carols are too hazy, childish, soft-edged and have way too many Victorian references to Jesus being the likes of "tender and mild." Kind of like when we said all those evangelical worship lyrics sound like the nauseating love scenes in romance novels and lead to the inevitable conclusion that God either is a pussy or has one.
More quotes from Baines explaining himself after the jump.
Jennifer Knapp's management has confirmed to Patrol that she is "starting to write and record again." There are "no major plans" to announce at the moment, and no shows scheduled after the L.A. show we reported last week. Updates will appear online, and "I'm sure there will be select shows popping up in the coming moments," Maximum's spokesperson said.
Jennifer Knapp, whose career in Christian music we lovingly eulogized a few months ago, has come out of hiding at last. Her official website, which has been down for years now, was updated with a new design, and her three-month old MySpace profile got a new a look as well. But best of all, she has listed a show: she's playing September 24 with the recently-returned Phillip LaRue at Hotel Cafe, a well-known acoustic venue Los Angeles. Her website lists information for new management and booking agents, so we know she is planning to go back into music on some scale.
So this is completely unexpected, but we couldn't be more excited to hear it. And most of all to hear where Jen has been, what she's been doing, and why she's back. All when she's ready to talk about it, of course.
Does anyone remember Building 429? True, they were responsible for one of CCM’s biggest radio successes, the infinitely overplayed “Glory Defined.” But everything after that is a blur. There have been three follow-up albums to their initial splash. The results? Well, if you don’t know, that says it all.
Which is what makes Heroes of Silence all the more appealing. The brainchild of reclusive 429 guitarist Jesse Garcia (he’s the silent type—in my two encounters with the band, he’s never actually spoken), Silence is all about post-rock. That’s right, the brooding, expansive, overlong stuff. But wait: a lot of it works surprisingly well. And considering Garcia’s current main attraction, it’s more than a little bit, well, shocking. Sure, band members of any semi-notable success are starting their own sideshows all over the place. Jon Foreman lit the fire, and I’m afraid it’s turning into a bit of a fad. But calling Garcia’s fleeting, introspective wonders a vanity project is just unfair.
After the jump, what this unexpected turn sounds like.
- No public Twitter messages.
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