Homeless Man Transcript
Copyright 1998 by Word Entertainment
Michael Aukofer playing "It is Well With My Soul"
Amy Grant video clip (1.3 MB)
Amy Grant: I think about the shoeless man taken to an extreme. You know, most of us love the first spring day that you can kick your shoes off. But nobody had calluses on their feet like he did. And he was that way with spiritual things too. Most of us, we kinda have a brush with God, and we're enamored and frightened. But it's always kinda that barely leaning in. And Rich just had a way of running headlong into the unknown that was frightening to most of us. But in his own unique way, it seemed he always was able to find the edge and look into the abyss and come back and write a song about it and tell us what he'd seen.
Lufkin, Texas concert recording - Rich singing "You Did Not Have a Home")
Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests on the shoulders of a homeless man
You had the shoulders of a homeless man
You did not have a home
Doris Howard: He's a paradox on every angle of life that you can think about. He was an incredible Bible teacher, one of the best.
Rich Mullins: I think that we were given the scriptures, it was 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.
Doris Howard: I think he's the best ever in blending God's word, human nature, and creation in his writings.
Father Simon: I see his real gift as being a poet. And being a poet is a very very important people in our culture. Some people picture poets as sortof capturing what everybody else believes and sort of putting it into words - that it's really the word of the people.
You came without an axe to grind
You did not tow the party line
No wonder sight came to the blind
You had no stones to throw
No, you had no stones to throw
Father Simon: And I think that's one thing that Rich and Saint Francis had in common is that they were both poets. They both had a vision and they were both willing to live that vision. Their poem was their life, not so much what they wrote
Jimmy Abegg: To Rich, music was everything. His focus of his life. He recognized that God gave him a specific gift in a specific area. All the other that he tried to express himself, he met with somewhat mixed results. But with music, he had it.
Jim Dunning, Jr.: As Rich would often do for friends, he had written a new song and he would come out and play the song and then ask what you think. And this particular song was about the outdoors and was about life in Kansas. And he sang it for me, and he said, "What do you think?" And in my typical nature, instead of being overwhelmed, which I really was, but I concentrated on what he asked me to do. And I said, "Well, Rich, you know that's a really nice song, 'Calling Out Your Name,' but we don't have grouse in Kansas." And he said, "Oh, what do you have?" And I said, "We have ducks and geese and pheasant and quail" And he paused for a minute and said, "Pheasant." And he started back and he went through the song again, and this time he sang the fury of a pheasant's wing. And that's the way the song was produced. And so I always smile. And I don't know that it's actually my favorite song, but I do feel like that that's my song because the accountant changed one word.
Don Donahue: He would normally call in his songs over the phone, and that's the way we would begin to put together records. Which was incredibly exciting to hear him get excited about one of his songs.
Ashley Cleveland: He had these jam sessions out at his house where he would invite pretty much anybody who was interested in coming and he had about thirty stringed instruments, and he liked to sit around and tell stories and play. And I noticed too, what was intriguing about him, was that he was really an avid listener, which is unusual in this town where everybody wants to be heard.
Don Donahue: At the end of a project, when we worked for months and months on it, he would come into my office and the last thing we'd have to do is get the lyrics ready for the package. And we always have a little game that we'd play. He'd come into my office and bring his diet cokes, and he'd recite the lyrics while I'd type them into the computer. And I always got on his case about it, "Why don't you just put these on a disk and give them to me so that we can save this step?" And he said, "Well , I never write a lyric down. I think if you have to write a lyric down, it's not worth singing on the record."
When he said that to me the first time, I didn't believe him. But as our relationship grew and as we went record to record to record and he would recite me ten to twelve songs top to bottom and not miss a word, I believed him.
Kenny Greenberg: So we get up there and he kinda takes me aside and he says, "Man, let me play you these new songs I've got." I've got tears in my eyes. I feel like an idiot. He's playing me these songs and he says, "I guess I'll make a tape of it. I gotta go and play these songs for the record company, you know the usual song and dance, dog and pony show. You gotta go into the label and play 'em your songs before you start. But my blaster's broken, so let's take a break and I'm gonna go to K-Ma rt and I'm gonna buy a tape recorder."
And I go, "Don't make a tape. They're gonna listen to it and say, 'Well, it's too acoustic-y sounding,' because they don't get it, you know." (No offense to anybody who ever sees this.) So I'd say, "Just march in there and play the songs for them, and then record them the way you wanna record it. You'll win. That's your best bet."
So he's all, "Yeah, I'm not gonna record it! I'll go in there and play it for 'em!" Then for some reason or other, he goes and he gets his tape player and he records the songs, so it was very fortuitous.
Michael Aukofer: Rich and I were together, and he had written "Hard to Get," and I remember asking him to play it for me. And his reaction was different - he had tears in his eyes before he had even started playing the song. And when he was finished, he still was teary about it. And I said, "Wow, that was great, I liked it. How do you do that?" And he said all these songs are in him, it's just if he just has the guts to pull them out. I think it's fortunate for all of us that a man like him had the guts.
Mark Robertson: Rich approached us with this idea about two years ago - the concept of meditating on the mind of Christ and coming up with a record. It seemed very simple - ten songs about Jesus. He had told us that he felt it was the most important record that we would ever make - that he would ever make. Someone told me upon hearing the record, "Wasn't that just like Rich to do his best work and give it away?"
Rick Elias: It's interesting making the record without Rich, in that I think for the first few days that we were tracking, I kept expecting him to walk in the room. Because his music was so much a part of who he was, and he poured so much into it. You can't really divorce the man from the music. And it lives, it kinda lives beyond him. I kindof agree, I keep expecting him to come in and say, "Boy, that sucks. Let's do that again."
Tom Howard: There's a quality to his music which is very gripping. The players today have even commented that there's a spirit about the music. I think they've dug in that much more.
Rick Elias: I was talking to one of the French horn players who was kind enough to inquire about who Rich was.
Tom Howard: Rick started talking to him about Rich's life 'cause the man was intrigued.
Rick Elias: And we got a chance to share a little bit about who he was. And he brought up the point that the music really, he felt like he knew a little bit about the man from the music.
Steve Stockman: I think when I think of Rich I think of that passage in John, chapter three where Jesus talks about the wind blowing wherever it pleases. Nobody knows where it's coming from. Nobody knows where it's going. It's kindof unpredictable and free. And Jesus isn't talking about the Holy Spirit there. He's talking about all those who live by the Spirit. And it seems to be that Rich Mullins lived that kind of a way. He was very unpredictable but he was someone who had this very focused idea on following Jesus. He wasn't interested in following leaders or following denominations or doctrines. And in Northern Ireland, for me those things, you look over your shoulder and you look around to see if you're pleasing other people. Rich only wanted to please Jesus.
John Michael Talbot: He didn't know where he was coming from. He didn't know where he was going to go. In a beautiful sense. He was like the spirit of God in that sense.
Michael Wilson: He seemed to be moving against whatever currents were prevailing at the time.
Rick Elias: This is why we need artists, because they express the inexpressible. They express for us a lot of times what we can't express for ourselves.
Alexia Abegg: You can see in his eyes that there is this deep soulful something deep down inside.
Steve Stockman: This idea that he was Irish.
Sweater story video clip (0.6 MB)
Rich Mullins: You know, people come back from Ireland with those really beautiful big sweaters, real big bulky and they have those stitches and all kinds of stuff in them. Well, they started doing that because each of those different stitches is different charms and prayers and stuff that they'd weave into their husband's sweaters. If it worked, their husbands would come back alive and if it didn't, because fish don't eat wool, they could tell who was who by what sweater was on them.
Steve Stockman: I've no idea where it came from. I think it was half Irish and half everything and half about five different things, which you can't be half of, but he wanted to have a claim to it. And I'm not sure if that was his name Mullins or whether it was coming to Ireland and seeing it and falling in love with some kind of mythology of it. But certainly "The Color Green" was an Irish song and the Chieftains I know influenced that, and he played the hammered dulcimer I'll bet like the Chieftains would if they'd ever seen a hammered dulcimer.
(Rich Mullins plays "78 Eatonwood Green")
Angela Little: I think what Rich and his music did for me was really I suppose take me back into my Bible. It make me want to explore the scriptures, explore about what other people wrote about faith. Just to think that bit wider.
Jonathan Brown: He completely shattered me. I sat with him in a car for an hour journey, and at the end of that I realized, this guy lives in a shack in the middle of nowhere teaching kids between four and five or five and seven music, and he just feels so alive to me. And I felt so dead at the time, just talking to him. And I came back from that thing realizing how much I appreciated life.
(Damond children sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Navajo)
Wil Seciwa: Rich was always cool, he loved kids. Rich was more at home with those kids than anywhere else. Kids just loved him.
Damond son: He was a good friend of me. He showed me how to be a better Christian.
April Shorty: One thing about Rich was he loved the people. And that he wanted to see the Navajo Nation one day become a Christian nation.
Lynn Damond: He found what people look for, what people want, he found here. He found himself and through that, he wanted to give what he found to our people and that was the Gospel.
Eric Hauck: He could have had a mansion with all the stuff that he did and yet he chose to live in a trailer home in New Mexico. He coulda had nice clothes and costumes and all that, and he wore jeans and a T-shirt. He lived on the level of that which the people of this country live.
Sammy Horner: Well, the Ragamuffins went to Ireland on tour and when they were staying there, a dog ate Rich's only pair of shoes. And the guy they were staying with gave him these shoes. They were canvas, like cloth shoes. And I said to Rich, "Look mate, these shoes aren't gonna do. You're gonna be playing in front of lots of people. And also, they'll disintegrate in the mud. You can have a pair of my boots if you want. I've got lots of boots."
And I took my boots off to go into the kitchen to make some coffee, and when I come out, Rich was wearing these boots, which I had just bought two weeks before. They were like a hundred and fifty dollars worth of boots. And he just sorta stood in them and said, "Yeah, these'll do fine."
Reed Arvin: One day I asked Rich a question that wouldn't normally be appropriate, but after eight records you've gone through all the appropriate topics a long time earlier. I said, "Bro, what's a typical quarter for you in writing income," 'cause songwriters get paid every quarter. And he said, "I don't know." And I said, "You don't know?" Which kinda didn't surprise me, because he was so flaky, especially about that kind of thing. So I was trying to lead him to the answers, I said, "Well, don't the checks come to your house?"
He said, "No, they don't."
I said, "Where do they go?"
"They go to my church."
"Why do they go to your church?"
"Well, they go to this board of elders that kinda heads over my ministry. And I'm paid the average annual salary (whatever a working man in America is for whatever year it is - I think that year it was like $24,600) and everything else is either given away or used for retirement or whatever. If I knew how much it was, it'd be so much harder to give it away."
Sammy Horner: And then I saw him last year at the Cornerstone Festival. You know how a hundred and fifty dollar boots really stick in your mind? I said to him, "Hey Rich, whatever happened to those boots I gave you?"
He said, "Aww, I just gave 'em to some kid on the reservation."
So I guess in a kinda indirect way Rich Mullins was really responsible for me giving my very best to the poor without me ever knowing it.
Rich Mullins: 'Cause God seems, like I said, to have a very special place in his heart for the small and for the weak and for the oppressed and the poor of the world.
Armenio Pineros (Spanish translation): And I remember the first time he visited them there were children sleeping on a mattress with almost nothing to eat and no clean water because they collected water from waterholes.
Alyssa Loukota: When we went to Bogota, Columbia several years ago, we met a pastor there that broke Rich's heart.
Pastor Carlos (Spanish): I was very depressed (to know about Rich's death) because to us he was a person who was very thoughtful and well-received and God put it in his heart to help us.
Alyssa Loukota: They sortof had a cement block when they were trying to have a school there and a church. And there was nothing else in this area - no school, no churches. When he came back, he decided that "I want to spend this tour raising money for that pastor to have what he needs."
It was a precious moment to us because he saw and had fellowship with a group of children and he planted in them something unexplainable, something that in reality there are no words to describe.
Alexandra: I loved him a lot.. when he came he gave me this medallion which I still remember him by and guard it. I have photos with him. He talked to me about his ministry. Through him I came to know God. He worked with the poor people in need. To him the word of God was important. I love him very much. And even though he has passed away, he will always be in my memories. And wherever he is, may God bless him.
Pastor Carlos: And so he left that seed scattered, and now the planter is receiving marvelous fruit.
Colombian girl: He was a very important person to us
Colombian boy: He was a good companion to us. He taught us how to respect one another.
Colombian boy: And he gave the children a lot of affection and we gave him affection.
Pastor Carlos: There are many children that remember him
Colombian boy: And we will hold onto him and keep him in our hearts as a nice memory.
Colombian boy: He taught us first of all to love and to be loved. He taught us to respect others and to love each other as brothers. I am certain that where God has him, it is going to be a good place for him to be, because he was a man that did wonderful things in this world.
Colombian girl: He was a man that loved all people without regard to race or their way of thinking. He demonstrated his love for us by helping us.
Alyssa Loukota: He started reading "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and those books, and I've heard from his mom and other people that he'd always had a heart for Native America.
Debbie Garrett video clip (1.0 MB)
Debbie Garrett : We used to watch TV and it was mostly cowboys and Indians back then. He would cry when an Indian got killed. You'd see this four year old, sitting there crying with a tear running down his face. It was something that you just never expected to grow into something else. You expected him to grow out of those kinds of things, but he didn't - he held onto them and they got bigger as he got bigger.
Alyssa Loukota: So he decided he was going to move out here and work with Compassion on the USA ministry. No one had ever really wanted to champion the USA ministry.
Wil Seciwa: But that was Rich. He didn't care about what other people thought. As long as he was glorifying God.
Rich Mullins: Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you.
Chuck Harper: Well, Rich was kinda nonconventional would be about the best explanation we could always come up with. In fact, he was more than nonconventional, he liked to ruffle evangelical's feathers.
Wrong evangelicals video clip (0.8 MB)
Rich Mullins: Jesus said "whatever you do to the lest of my brothers, you've done unto me." And this is what I've come to think. If I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers, but they're just wrong. They're not bad, they're just wrong.
Sherri McCready: One of the things in my life that he took a great interest in was my understanding that everything in life had to be black and white. That every i had to be dotted, and every t had to be crossed. God had to be understandable and convenient. He aggressively came at that notion and blew my belief system completely apart.
Debbie Garrett: He had this special kind of wisdom in this little tiny body when he was a kid. He just seemed to understand things so much better than I did or that I can imagine anybody could. I thought he had things pretty screwed up in his head at that point. But as I got older, I realized it was me who was screwed up and not him.
Mark Lutz: I'd grown up in the church setting, very traditional church setting, and had a very harsh picture of God. That he was waiting for me to mess up. That he was gonna get me, and he was gonna punish me. And here were all the things I had to do, all the things I had to follow to be pleasing to Him. And I mean, Rich meets none of these things. And I see this and according to everything I've been taught, God should be blasting him right and left. And then I watch God use him in ministry. And I watch God, who has blessed him with talent and use him to touch peoples' lives. And I look at him and I know that God likes him.
Gary Rowe: If you knew him well, when he got on stage, you always had this knot in your stomach. Because you knew that he was going to be honest.
Sam Howard: He could blow up at any moment.
Rich Mullins: That was okay until you start reading the psalms and then it really wigs out. All that vengeance and stuff, of course, that's the part I especially like. I know "vengeance is mine, thus saith the Lord," but I just want to be about the Lord's business.
David Mullins: The reason we call him Wayne is because we have an uncle that's Richard, of course we call him Dick, so I don't know why we call Wayne Wayne, but all the family calls him Wayne. And he really hated it if we called him Rich or anything else. Rich was what everyone else knew him as. With the family, it was Wayne.
Beth Lutz: He was so many different people in one package. To his family, he was always Wayne. When he came to school, I immediately knew him as Richard and called him Richard Wayne. And then the youth group all called him Chard. He goes to Nashville and he's Rich.
David Mullins: It was a good thing he went into music because he was very inept at the farm. He was driving the tractor one day and the wheel fell off. Just about everything he tried seemed to go the wrong way, even though he tried hard. My dad always had a job he got up in the morning and he knew where he was going. He knew what he was going to be doing, what he was going to make. And my life has been very similar. But Wayne lived every day it seemed like, not knowing what the next day held. But he trusted that God would take care of him and God did
Debbie Garrett : Wayne was a funny kindof kid. He was the kind of kid when if you asked him what he wanted, he wanted to be a missionary, and I always found that to be very very strange. No policeman, no fireman, he wanted to be a missionary.
Sam Howard: Rich was just like everyone else, only more so. And I think that's kindof who he was. He did everything sortof in a big way.
Bubba Smith: The cool thing about him as his roommate, at the end of the month, he would come in and pay his bills and he wouldn't use a check, he'd pay in cash, which I thought was great. So it's interesting to look back what little possessions he had and the fact that he paid in cash, it seems like he was just kinda passing through. He didn't hold onto very many material possessions.
Steve Brallier: He was always out there on the edge, trying to grasp every ounce of life that he could, trying to get every last drop.
Bernie Sheahan: He had a joy that was infectious and you were always in his life if you were ever in it once.
Debbie Garrett: I think we all knew that we were going to have to share him with the world. He was much more special than we even knew.
Marita Meinerts: It was about community. He just wanted to make sure that people felt included.
Kathy Sprinkle: He built a community wherever he went and of course he was all over the place building those. But I think it's a classic example of someone taking a weakness in them and turning it into a positive. Because the weakness was his incredible fear of being lonely, so he built community.
Ashley Cleveland: What touched me so much is how he invested his life in other people and he was motivated by a lot of his own suffering to turn toward other people and to get involved with them.
Father Simon: When Rich came to the little portion hermitage, he came with a group of people. And that group of people, along with Rich, was interested in a radical community lifestyle. And they found that within Franciscanism and in some of the Christian monastic heritage. And they wanted to live that in today's world in a contemporary way.
Eric Hauck: And so it we formed what was called the Kid Brothers of Saint Frank, modeled after Saint Francis' life. We were a part of that and still are.
Keith Bordeaux: And he laid out for us over a three day period the three vows of being a Franciscan brother. Of obedience, chastity, and poverty, and what those meant, and what they looked like to be lived out. And Rich was fond of saying that he wanted to follow as closely in Saint Francis' footsteps as he could without becoming a Catholic Monk. A lot of that was because he said he was too wimpy to be a Catholic monk.
Aaron Smith: Francis was converted. He gave away everything. It was just a joy of the Lord that was in him, and nothing else mattered. He cared about people who didn't have, he cared about people that had. He wasn't attached to materialism or anything like that. Francis wanted to emulate Christ and I came to learn that that's what Rich Mullins was doing.
Mitch McVicker: One time, I just said, Rich, you are the most Hebrew person I know. I mean, because, you know, they attribute everything to God. I wasn't trying to go out of my way to give him a complement or nothing, but I think he was really proud of that.
Brennan Manning: He kindof reminded me of Rabbi Abraham Heishel. When Heishel was dying, he said to his friend Sam, "Sam, never once in my life did I ask for money, power, success, fame. I asked for wonder and He gave it to me."
Phil Madeira: Of course, all of us being creative types, none of us really fit in. All of us being lousy joiners. Rich, he was the king of all of this, he was the ultimate dichotomy - went to a Quaker school, the roman catholic thing was really intriguing to him. And it kinda used to crack me up, because I'd just, I fit in better than Rich fit in, in my mind at least. You'd get a concert, and you'd see a thousand people out there - the whole spectrum of Christian belief out there. And every one of them thought Rich, he must be a part of my tradition. He's probably coming from exactly where I'm coming from. And ultimately I think that's because his message was grace. He really focused in on grace of Jesus.
Brennan Manning: God gave Rich that sense of wonder that's reflected both in his music and his personal life.
Mitch McVicker: He shared everything with God, his joy and his pain. And he shared everything with those around him. I guess he kinda wore his heart on his sleeve. So you notice pretty quickly that he was far from flawless, and I think that's why people were attracted to him.
Loving living video clip (0.9 MB)
Rich Mullins: I've been travelling around now for about fifteen or twenty years. Do I look like it? Someone always says, "You look so tired - can we pray for you?" I'm like, "Man, if I didn't look tired, you should pray for me. I would've had to have made a deal with the devil to not look tired. I deserve to look this way."
I abused myself as much as possible in the last twenty years. Which is fine with me. 'Cause I figure, sooner or later, life's gonna kill us all - you may as well go out doing something you love to do. Or eating something that you like to eat, like cholesterol.
Jenny Crawford: And he said, in the same way, we need to empty ourselves of ourselves in order to fill ourselves with the love of God in order to make us beautiful.
Jim Chaffee: The incredible thing about Rich's faith was that it was always shaping him. I think of the lyrics from the song "Creed":
I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
So often, as Christians, what we believe is what we are. It's kindof this little pedestal we stand on. But in Rich's heart, in his mind, it was always the process, it was what it was doing to him. It wasn't what he was, it was what it was doing to him.
(Rich singing "Creed")
I did not make it, no it is making me.
It is the very truth of God
And not the invention of any man.
Debbie Garrett: When my son was born, he was born with a birth defect and he was going to require several surgeries. The family was real upset about it and felt bad about it, and I wondered what I had done wrong. I was very angry with God at the time. And I got a call from Wayne and he said, "I'm so proud of you." "Proud of me? For what?" He said, "I'm so proud that you're my sister." He said, "Don't you realize, God only gives kids with special needs to special people that he knows can give them special love?"
Jim Smith: One of the most touching things about Rich that I'll always remember is the way in which he interacted with our daughter. Two years ago, we had a little girl born who was born with severe birth defects and wasn't expected to live.
Rich Mullins: This is a song I wrote for a little girl who wasn't supposed to get born, because the doctor said she would never survive the birth. She was born and a couple days later he said, "Well, she won't survive the week." She survived the week, and a month later he said, "She won't live a year." Now after about sixteen months, she weighs twelve pounds finally, and I think Madeline prays for us all.
Jim Smith: She is still with us and doing well, despite all the setbacks. But Madeline really touched a deep place in Rich's heart.
Phil Keaggy: Within this little lullaby contains glimpses of what heaven is about. He describes in a short bridge of the song the gems and how the gems stud the streets and the walls. Cobbles shine golden like emeralds shine green. And he talks about the angels, the angels who watch and how God gladly bends just to hear Madeline when she prays.
Jim Smith: Even though she's profoundly deaf, Rich used to like to whisper his prayers into her ear, 'cause he said Madeline was his best prayer partner, because she was always praying. He seemed to teach her something about faith. She has a kindof a serenity in her eyes.
(Rich Mullins singing "Madeline's Song")
Madeline fusses and Madeline laughs
The angel who watches says, "Hey look at that"
Jim Smith: There's your faith. The mountains will shake. 'Cause God gladly bends just to hear Madeline when she prays.
There's your faith. Mountains will shake.
'Cause God gladly bends just to hear Madeline when she prays.
God gladly bends just to hear Madeline when she prays.
Kenny Greenberg: So, the unfortunate tragedy happens and he dies.
Planting seeds video clip (1.0 MB)
Alyssa Loukota: The Saturday morning when I got the call that Rich had been in an accident, and that he was killed, I was sobbing and everything, but I was like, "Of course! This is what the plan was all along." I've seen it as Rich has been the seed that falls to the ground so that a lot more seeds can be produced. He's planted a lot of us to grow and carry on a bigger purpose than Rich Mullins. I think that Rich's life is just beginning.
Damond son: I love you Rich.
Tom Booth: It was about two weeks before Rich died we spent a couple hours on the phone. He was tired. He was pretty beat-up. Road weary, he'd been out touring quite a bit. And I said, "Rich, you've gotta come home. Come to Arizona. Come to New Mexico. Relax a bit." And he said, "That's an interesting idea." He said, "I just spent a day with my mom and at the end of the day I got up and said, 'Mom I gotta go home.'" And she said, "Home? Chicago is home?" (That's where he was headed.)
And then he told me, he said, "Tom, nothing's familiar to me in my life right now. I've moved, I've changed cities, I've changed record companies. My best friend, Beaker, we're not spending the time we used to. My dog Bear. My manager is different. I don't recognize anything in my life." He said, "But that's okay, I guess I'll keep singing."
I think, looking back, and even at the time I thought, he's looking for a home, but didn't quite have one just yet.
Colombian girl: He will always be in our hearts and our memories
Colombian boy: And all my friends here remember him well
Michael W. Smith: Now that he's gone, I found myself reevaluating what I'm doing with my life. I think he taught us a lot. And he also was just an unbelievable songwriter. I'm gonna miss his songs, because there's nobody who wrote like Rich Mullins.
Steve Taylor: Two nights after Rich died, we were all sitting around a table reminiscing. A bunch of his friends. And Jimmy Abegg pulled out two sheets of paper with the lyrics to the last two songs that Rich wrote. And as he read those lyrics, I just sat there stunned at the power of those words. If there's a better songwriter in Christendom, I don't believe I know who it is. I think Rich saved his best work for last.
Niki Lundgren: He knew that it took a lot of love to love him. He needed people around him who could love and we loved him.
Mitch McVicker: I think he did believe that things were passing away. He knew that what would last would be faith, hope, and love.
"I'll have a pint of that" video clip (0.8 MB)
Sammy Horner: Back in Britain, we've got a saying that if someone's really drunk or someone's really happy, we would say, "I don't know what you're drinking, but I'll have a pint of that as well." And in a sense, I think the church really should be like that and I honestly believe the night the Ragamuffin Band and Rich Mullins and my band were all in this little bar, the people who were standing there drinking the beer and the wine and the whiskey saw something that they wanted to have. And I think that night, people were saying, "Well I don't know what these guys have, I don't know what Rich Mullins has, but I'll have a pint of that as well."
Jimmy Abegg: I don't know why or how we hooked up, but I'm really glad we did. He loved me like a brother. He treated me with a great deal of respect.
Rick Elias: Rich's appetite for sin was probably greater than even my own, but his pursuit of God and his decision to embrace God far outweighed his appetite for sin.
Kenny Stockman: Someone said that you know a saint by how alive they make you feel. Not by how much they show to you, but by how little they can see. You left us with broken hearts and souls. Our hope is feebly attempting to temper it. We lost so much more than skin and bone. You are the world as best as I remember it.
Ben Pearson: The last image I took of Rich was right outside of Dublin, Ireland. We were on this huge hill with these castle ruins at the top of the hill. And we had gotten done with a shoot and as we were walking down, we were walking down and I said, "Hey man, just stay right here for a minute." 'Cause I always like to look back up at people and see what they look like kinda silhouetted against the horizon line. So we got down the hill and I look back and up and there's a little tiny Rich on this huge hill in the midst of all these ruins. I said, "Hey man, put out your arms." And he goes, "Oh, like Jesus?" And I said, "No no no, lower them a little bit - you look like an arrow."
That was the last image I think I took of him. And he's just pointing in the right direction.
Brennan Manning: There's a scene in Thornton Wilder's play "The Angel that Troubled the Waters" which to me really captures the essence of the life and the spirituality of Rich Mullins.
The scene is a doctor comes to the pool everyday wanting to be healed of his melancholy and his gloom and his sadness. Finally the angel appears. The doctor, he's a medical doctor, goes to step into the water. The angel blocks his entrance and says, "No, step back, the healing is not for you." The doctor pleads, "But I've got to get into the water. I can't live this way." The angel says, "No, this moment is not for you." And he says, "But how can I live this way?"
The angel says to him, "Doctor, without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of this earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve."
And to me the theme of that story is the theme to Rich Mullins' life. All grace, all light, all truth, all power are communicated though the vulnerability, the brokenness, the utter honesty of men and women who have been shipwrecked, heartbroken, broken in the wheels of living. In love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve. And to me, the power of Rich Mullins life lay in the power of his brokenness, the power in his unblinking honesty, his deeply moving sincerity and God, I miss him. But to my dying day I will boast and with honor will say that Rich Mullins was my friend.
"Live real good" video clip (0.4 MB)
End of sweater story video clip (0.9 MB)
Rich Mullins: So go out and live real good and I promise you'll be beat up real bad. But a little while after you're dead, you'll be rotted away anyway. It's not gonna matter if you had a few scars. It will matter if you didn't live. And when you wash up on that other shore, even though you've been disfigured beyond any recognition. The angel's gonna see you there and they'll go what is this? We're not even sure if it's human. But Jesus will say, "No, that's human. I know that one" They'll say, "Jesus, how do you know that one?" He'll say, "Well, you see that sweater he's got on?"
Michael Aukofer playing "Jesus Loves Me"
Rick Elias singing "Man of No Reputation"