Different Outcomes

Different Outcomes

I was saddened when I recently heard the news that Elton John's ex-partner committed suicide. The reason given was that he simply could not reconcile his homosexuality with his strict Christian beliefs. There was shock and grief expressed in the press. He threw himself in front of a truck. His struggle ended suddenly. Then yesterday I heard the developing story of the Christian musician Jennifer Knapp. I have everything she's recorded. I love her voice, her honesty, vulnerability, authenticity and edginess. She vanished over 7 years ago from the music scene at the height of a very successful career. I checked nearly every month to find some activity, but nothing. I just discovered that she'd been hiding in the outback of Australia. She emerged out of her real and personal wilderness with a new album soon to be released and the announcement that she's a lesbian. She's in a discreet relationship and is happy, confident and in full creative swing. The outcome of the separate stories is enormous. Concerning Elton John's ex, I wished I could have talked with him. I wondered what kind of support he had from Christian friends. Was there a church community that respected him as he was without condemnation or the pressure to change? Not everyone who wrestles commits suicide. But many are murdered in their spirits or essentially die within. I know such people. Jennifer hid in the desert for 7 years with her faith, her sexuality and her career and came out the other end not just alive but at peace. From her own words, she has accepted who she is without self-condemnation. How did she do it? Did she have supportive friends? Did she have a Christian community that walked and continue to walk with her? Did she keep herself free from accusatory voices? I know there are many different factors at work in people's lives. So much depends on the individual: resilience, emotional health, conscience, theology, and so on. There are only some ways we can help there. But so much also depends on that individual's social network: the community, the love, the respect and acceptance, and much more. And there are so many ways we can be there.

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