Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rich quotes...

It's a play on words, but not lacking in any truth whatsoever... I'd like to share some rich quotes from Rich Mullins.

This morning, after taking my kids to school, I came home and popped in my Rich Mullins video from 1994, "Pursuit of a Legacy." The 30-minute video contains 4 music videos from Mullins' album, "A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band," as well as some very candid and refreshing talk from Mullins. The use of the word "ragamuffin," by the way, was inspired by Brennan Manning's book, "The Ragamuffin Gospel," and in fact that's Rich sitting in front of the church on the cover of the book.

I'm not sure how much I can comfortably fit in this post, but I'll just get right into it and see. Rich says so many things on this video that are worth sharing that I want to share it all! If you can get your hands on a copy of this video... it's WELL worth it!

Rich starts out talking about how a hitchhiker sees a thousand cars pass him, but then when the one car stops and picks him up, that one act of compassion and grace makes him forget all the other drivers who just passed by, having no compassion on him. He compares this to the act of grace we receive in Christ. He also talks a little bit about how the "house of God" is people and not buildings. This first part of the video is very refreshing.

But it gets much better. He recalls a time when he was at a train station in Amsterdam with his friend Beaker. He says that in their conversation, he became "keenly and uncomfortably aware... of how, you know, you think you're getting somewhere, you're growing as a Christian, that kind of thing, and all the sudden you're in a situation where you go, 'I'm just as susceptible as when I was 16.'"

I mean, Rich was probably in his late 30's when he said that - which is where I'm at right now - and he was a big "Christian music" star, and here he is sharing his struggles openly and honestly. He was being very real, and I like that. No masks, no plastic smile. No faking that he's got it all together or that he's living some pious, extra-holy life.

He goes on to say that in their conversation at the train station in Amsterdam, they were talking in "explicit detail about the nature of our temptations." If you can picture this, here's a man and his friend who most likely wouldn't be easily recognized in public in Holland, speaking candidly and explicitly (in English) about their temptations, thinking nobody would even care enough to translate what they're saying. And a man leans over and says, "Excuse me, are you Rich Mullins?"


He says he had to stop for a minute and think if he really was Rich Mullins! Then he concluded, yep I am Rich Mullins. Whether I like myself or not, that's who I am.

Rich goes on to talk about how people judge each other, and He compares this to God's view of us. He talks about "the realization that people are going to judge you and there are I think actually people who look for excuses to say bad things about you. But God doesn't look for those kinds of excuses."


His next sentence actually made me break down in tears a few years back when I was watching it. I had given myself over to grace. I had crossed over the fence into Grace Land after having lived with the fear that maybe giving myself over to pure grace (trusting purely in grace and not in my own efforts to keep myself clean) would lead me into more sin rather than less sin. And here comes Rich with life-affirming words:

"And I think the conclusion of the matter for me was that 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 kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence."

Yeah, I had to rewind that part several times to let it sink in...

"Not that I don't want to be morally excellent," he continues, "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."

I'm forever joyful for the legacy of Rich Mullins... and I will truly get into his own words about "legacy" in my next post (like I said I would do in my last post). Believe me, it's not your typical "Christian legacy" talk. :)


  1. After reading this I ended up ordering "The Ragamuffin Gospel". :)

  2. Bino, it's a very "rich" book, so to speak. :) I think you'll enjoy it. The one problem I have with it is that Manning still essentially refers to us as "sinners saved by grace" (you see that throughout the book), but yet he is candid, open and honest and the book is full of the grace of God.

  3. I love that book. Especially the beginning. Brennan wears his heart on his sleeve and is very honest.


    I had the same problem when reading the book. It was only a few things that irked me a little, but all in all it's a VERY good read.

  4. I thought this was brilliant:

    "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 kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence."

    I have never read "The Ragamuffin Gospel." My wife has read it and it is sitting on my shelf at home. I guess I was put off by the title (judging a book by it's cover). I will have to give it a read.

    My pastor sent me an email yesterday telling me that he was reading a little of "Let Go" by Fenelon. He has read it several times over the years and calls it an amazing little book. Now it looks like I have two more books to add to my reading list.

    So much reading to do, so little time.

  5. Hey Matt,

    Yeah it's a really great book, and you're right that it's just a few little things in it that may not line up with the way most of us here generally see things. Whenever I pick it up I'm inspired to just "be" who I am and not put on any false pretenses or masks, and to simply rest in the sufficiency of the grace of God.


    That quote is one of my all time favorite quotes from anybody, ever!

    I looked at that book by Fenelon over at Amazon. Looks like a really great book. I really am intrigued by the chapter titles, such as "We Are Not to Choose the Manner in Which Our Blessings Shall Be Bestowed," "The Sight of Our Imperfections Should Not Take Away Our Peace," "Living by the Cross and by Faith," "Despair at our Imperfections is a Greater Obstacle Than the Imperfection Itself" and "Pure Faith Sees God Alone."

    Wow... I'm putting it on my list too!