I never attended his concerts but I knew some of his songs. I knew he lived an "abnormal" life but didn't know the background. And I remember the day he was killed. Being on a Christian college campus at the time, news of a Christian musician's death spread like wildfire.
Maybe you know him better as the guy who wrote the song "Awesome God."
Our God is an awesome GodAnd if you know the song, I have no doubt you still remember some really cool hand motions to back the lyrics up. I know two different versions!
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
He wrote hit songs for Christian artists Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay...just to name a few, along with the several popular songs which he recorded himself. Many considered him a musical genius.
But there is a lot more to Rich Mullins than the amazing, raw lyrics and melodies he created. And that is what the movie Ragamuffin tries to display.
Starting with Rich (or Wayne as his family called him) as a young boy on the farm, the viewer immediately senses the strife that occurred between Rich and his father. Never feeling like he fit in, Rich desired to leave the family farm. Although he turned down the initial offer Rich eventually went to Nashville to begin writing songs for popular Christian artists. After much pleading, he was allowed to produce his own record. With instant fame from the song "Awesome God," Rich left the life of stardom to be simple. He refused to be put in the box of a typical Contemporary Christian Artist. He went so far as to give away virtually all of his profits and only lived on an "average" salary. Rich's life was cut short in an automobile accident but the legacy of his songs continues to live.
Probably many of you have heard about this humble side.
What the movie portrays is the human side. The viewer is allowed to see the struggles Rich had with alcohol, loneliness, and depression.
Let me just say that this movie is raw. Rated PG-13, it shows the ups, downs, and all-arounds of life. Many of the comments that I read expressed concern that the movie showed a very dark side of Rich and failed to show the humorous side. I find it interesting that the clips of Rich shown during the credits show the humor he had during concerts yet this was not depicted in the movie. I don't know why.
At almost 2 1/2 hours long, the movie isn't a short viewing. But it never felt long. I was continually moved by Rich's honesty and the depth of his lyrics. Because of the content of the movie, we didn't allow our kids to watch the movie. I am thankful we didn't. The entire plot was too deep and dark for the preschool and elementary-aged children in our home.
What I wished was different:
- This is a typical low-budget Christian film. There are consistency issues, notes sung that aren't quite in tune, and actors who are unknown. My biggest pet peeve was the length of the actors hair who played Rich. It goes from ponytail to short, back to ponytail within moments.
- As previously stated, I wish the movie would have showed the humorous, confident, and fun side of Rich shown in the exiting clips.
- Call this ignorance but I have no idea how much of the movie is accurate. I would hope it would be close as Rich's brother helped with the movie.
- People oftentimes think Christians should fit into a box. Act, look, and say the right things. Rich tear every side off the box. He refused to conform. It was refreshing
- As deep and dark as this movie is, it is proof that we can come to God as we are. God doesn't expect us to fix all of our faults before turning our life over to Him.
- This movie envelopes what grace is.
I was moved. Inspired. Encouraged to grow deeper in my understand of who God is and what He desires for me.
Did I peak your interest? I hope so.
Want to win your own copy?
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**Soon available: Soundtrack can be purchased July 22nd featuring Jars Of Clay, Derek Webb, Sidewalk Prophets, Audrey Assad, Leigh Nash and more! Plus 2 NEW, original, never-before heard songs from Rich Mullins recorded in the early 70’s!**