Monday, July 20, 2009

Music Monday-Rich Mullins

Rich MullinsImage via Wikipedia

When I was in my 20's, I was very involved in the Christian faith, in particular Baptist churches. I did all of the things that good baptists were supposed to do; Sunday school & service on Sunday morning, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday prayer service. With one group of friends, I attended a weekend event called "Creation" which I affectionately refer to as "Woodstock for Christians."

I first became aware of Rich Mullins as a songwriter, not as an artist. The first song that I ever heard that was written by Rich was "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" when it was released by Amy Grant. Next, Michael W. Smith released his version of "Awesome God." I was in California on business, and feeling sorry for myself and in need of some comfort, so I went to a Christian bookstore and bought my first two Rich Mullins albums, "Songs" a greatest hits compilation, and " The Jesus Record."

I so not want to cast aspersions on the motives or spirituality of other artists in the Contemporary Christian Music genre. However, Rich Mullins was a unique individual. In his field, Rich Mullins was very successful, both as an artist and a songwriter. He could have led a comfortable, if not wealthy lifestyle. Instead, all of his royalties went to his church, and he had them pay him a salary equal to the salary of the average worker, the rest to charity. At the time of his death, he was living on a Navajo reservation teaching music to children.

The reasons that I am no longer active in the church are many. Some of them due to my own frailty as a human being. Some due to some bad experiences that I had within the church. At the time I left the church, I often felt that Jesus himself might not be comfortable in today's church, especially not in the big mega churches. Don't get me wrong, there are a great many sincere and caring Christians within those churches and I greatly admire their faith. Sometimes I wonder if Rich Mullins felt the same way. In a concert that was recorded shortly before his death, Rich says the following:
Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my savior and Lord, the best way that 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. 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 a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken
My blogging buddy Mike Golch at Rambling Stuff features a lot of hammered dulcimer music on his blog. Rich Mullins incorporated the hammered dulcimer in a lot of his songs. The first song that I want to feature is "Calling Out Your Name." The hammered dulcimer is featured prominently in this song, especially in the intro, plus they lyrics are very poetic and beautiful.

The second song I want to add is "Hold Me Jesus." This is a song that I always seem to gravitate to when things in my life get hectic and crazy and I need to feel comfort. Rich Mullins described it as a prayer that he wrote when temptation nearly got the better of him.



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4 comments:

  1. Nice post! I enjoyed it a lot.

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  2. What a terrific post! I have heard Rich Mullins songs and knew a little about his life, but not much about his "philosophy" until now. And I'm glad to hear the song Hold Me Jesus again. :)

    God bless you!

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  3. Thanks Rebecca, glad you enjoyed it

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