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.