Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rich Mullins

My favorite singer and songwriter of all times is Rich Mullins, and not just because of his awesome music but because of the way he lived his life. I say lived because he passed away in 1997, shortly after I was married, in a car accident. Mullins was constantly striving to know God more and to live a life fully sold out and dedicated to Him. He was absolutely frank in everything he said and did and oftentimes offended Christians (and non-Christians) because he didn't dance around on tip toes trying to please everyone. He said what he believed about the Bible and gave his opinion freely, but was humble to God's guiding. He wrote some of the most popular songs in Christendom, including Awesome God, which is sung in countless churches all over America. But Mullins, a huge fan of St. Francis of Assisi, took a vow of poverty and instead of keeping all the proceeds from his numerous albums and concert sales (many of his concerts were free), he had all his money sent to his church and a board was designated to give him the average American salary for the year (oftentimes, just above the poverty level) and the rest was distributed to various charities and missions.

James Bryan Smith was asked by Mullins' family to write a book after Rich passed away. Reluctantly, he decided to do it. He was reluctant, not because he didn't want to, but because he didn't want to make Rich out to be a saint, but wanted the book to draw everyone's attention to God, which was Rich's primary goal. The result, An Arrow Pointing Toward Heaven, is a great telling of Rich's life and his Christian walk, and more importantly challenges you to think about your own walk with the Lord. I cannot recommend it more highly! It is excellent.

I wanted to leave you with a few of Rich's best quotes. (He wrote numerous articles for Release Magazine, while he was alive and was highly articulate and created beautiful word pictures!)

I don't think you read the Bible to know truth. I think you read the Bible to find God, that we encounter him there. Paul says that the Scriptures are God's breath and I kind of go 'Wow, so let's breathe this as deeply as possible.'

The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart--it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that befits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice--it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.

I think that we were given the Scriptures, not so that we could prove that we were right about everything--it was to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.

I don't want to run from the experience of the pain because I would miss what God is trying to teach me through it.

It never fails. God will put people in your path that irritate you, especially if you're prone to be irritated.

I had a professor one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway'.

I am a Christian, not because someone explained the nuts and bolts of Christianity, but because there were people willing to be nuts and bolts.

Did I forget to tell you that He loved lilies? It is a well-known and much overlooked fact of His life - as known and overlooked as the lilies He loved. And it's a puzzling fact, too. Why lilies? Why especially lilies? Maybe He loved lilies for being white, the way many people love roses for being red. Maybe it was because of the brilliant green of their long, slender stalks or the glorious, darker green of their leaves. Maybe He loved them because their blooms looked like trumpets and their leaves resembled swords. It could have been their simplicity, it might have been their commonness. It may have been because of all of that and it just as easily could have been because of none of that at all. But it seems like He loved them.

Lastly, any of his wonderful albums are winners, but my favorites are Songs, Songs II, This is the World as Best as I Remember it, Part I and Part II and A Liturgy, a Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band.

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