“You should give this guy a listen…”, my best friend said to me as he handed me a Compact Disc. He handed me a Rich Mullins CD of “The World as Best as I Remember it”
“Pfft. Naw.”, I said. “I’d rather listen to something harder like Petra or Stryper…”
Little did I know how Rich’s music would affect me later in my life. I was unaware how deep and talented his music was at the time. I heard the popular song on the radio “Awesome God” but never paid any attention to the man behind the famous song. I never thought I would be interested in someone such as Rich.
But one late evening several years later, while battling depression in my darkened bedroom of my parents home, I would watch a show at midnight that played Christian Music Videos. One of those videos was Rich’s song “Hold Me, Jesus”.
I laid there watching this video and took so much comfort of this song and wanted more from this singer/songwriter. That night I wept and prayed and drew closer to God like never before.
I later bought my first CD of Rich Mullins. It was “A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band” (which is probably the best Road Trip CD to bring with you when traveling across any State or Country.) I soaked in the music and lyrics of these compiled songs. And I cherished them deeply. It ministered me and brought me to my knees to pray to a Holy and Wonderful God. From that, I read the books he read and learned everything I could about the man. If Rich recommended a certain book, I read it. From Tozer to Chesterton to Brennan Manning. During that time, I learned a lot in Christianity.
A few years ago, a movie came out about Rich aptly named “Ragamuffin”. I was excited to hear this since I looked up to him and really wanted to learn more about him. When it was finally released on Blue Ray, I bought it to watch. It was strange that there was a message from Rich’s brother given a somewhat warning about the movie. For it portrayed him in a very different light that many had not known about him.
Throughout the film, it portrayed him as almost a manic depressant with a drinking and smoking addiction. He seemed to have struggled with those vises and only those who truly knew him said little to nothing about his own addictions. After watching this, I felt my view of him was brought down to Earth and I saw him as not an incredible musician but as a broken and weak man with little to no conviction of the sins he carried. After watching the movie, I said goodbye to Rich Mullins and promised myself not to put such people in such a high and lofty positions.
Tonight, as I write this post, I’m watching a tribute about Rich for the 20th anniversary of his death. I’m not sure what to think. I want to sit and judge him for not being the example of the ideal Christian that I needed in my life. But I also saw a fragile, broken sinner who desperately needed Christ every day of his life. And I am one too.
I think I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some pietistic illusion of moral excellence. Not that I don’t want to be morally excellent but my faith isn’t in the idea that I’m more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit. -Rich Mullins
What were your impressions of Rich? Write down your thoughts in the comments below.