THE WAY I AM


Jennifer Knapp
Gotee Records

At a time when artists depicted religious events idealistically, the paintings of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573- 1610) caused considerable controversy. He brought a realistic naturalism to spiritual scenes that was shocking in his day. Gone were unreal proportions, elegant shapes, and harmonious lighting that typically portrayed holy events. Instead, the Italian painter filled his biblical scenes with common men and women in realistic settings.

His Incredulity of Saint Thomas is detailed, graphic, and inescapable. A calm and gentle Jesus gingerly guides the disciple's finger into the gaping hole in Jesus' side. Thomas is shocked, his finger inserted halfway into Jesus' flesh. This is an intense, frank, and believable moment. Jesus is not clad in purple robes or glowing with holiness. He is an actual man with real wounds.

Thinking of Jesus Christ living as we live, or as a body beaten and bloody, intrigues singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp. Learning to accept the reality of Jesus' crucifixion is the intimate journey that Knapp chronicles on her third album, The Way I Am (2001).

"We all know he lived and was crucified, but I found myself compelled to make that tangible in my life," Knapp told Christianity Today. "I was practically obsessed with that process. I was reading the Gospel of John and just found myself attracted by the idea that he literally walked about and ate and drank. He had a mother and brothers he had to socially get along with. He was cut and he bled."

Knapp refers to her folk-inspired rock record as her "novel"; the 12 songs vary in mood and subject but build to a single theme. Perhaps it's more accurate to call the album a diary. At times raw and vulnerable, the ...

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August 2002

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