Ragamuffin Reflections

“Ragamuffin is a beautiful and moving film that captures one man’s struggle to overcome the trappings of success, and to learn how to accept the unconditional love of God. Whether or not you are a fan of Rich Mullins, you will be touched by this movie. It is honest, accurate, and unafraid to show Rich’s scars, yet pointing us all to the deeper truth even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.”
– James Bryan Smith, author of Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

We stumbled across Ragamuffin on Netflix this weekend.  I grew up listening to Rich Mullins music along with Michael W. Smith, Petra, and others.  I went to an Amy Grant concert and Rich much have been opening for her, because we made it “rain” in the stadium.  I also remembered when Rich died.   I was young when Rich Mullins died and I actually never gave his life much thought other than that he wrote some amazing songs and was single.  As I aged, I classified Rich as I have many artists.  Using their gifts for God’s glory and living a happy life.

Ragamuffin movie is a biography of Rich Mullins beginning with a brief snapshot of his childhood and then focusing on his music career and life.  Mullins was incredibly talented musically.  From a young age, he picked up playing the piano and in college joined a band and began writing and performing.  Mullins was engaged and enjoying life, living in OH and touring when Amy Grant requested to purchase a song of his for an album.  Mullins engagement ended, and he went to Nashville to begin the career we all now know about, but it wasn’t his first choice.  Mullins first desire was to say where he was in OH and settle down and get married.

As Mullin’s writing career grew into his own performing career, Mullins battled alcoholism, depression and an intense fear of being alone.  Mullins had a very distanced relationship with his father, and in the movie, it is acknowledged that it affected his view of God.  I don’t want to give away to many details, you will have to watch the movie, but I have been pondering a few things I thought I would share.

Rich Mullins had a plan for his life.  He was moving down the path that most college-aged students walked down when God interceded greatly.  In Ragamuffin Movie Mullins admits he loves touring and performing his worship songs.  At the same time, it is clear that Mullins is lonely and still longing for his former life. God was calling Rich to a life that was very different than the dreams he had, and he battled God on it. Alcoholism, depression, and anger were all present at the same time Mullins was writing and performing amazing worship songs that were bringing other people into deeper relationship with God.

Mullins was broken, and he never tried to hide that.  He identified himself as a Ragamuffin after connecting with Brennan Manning. Once Mullins began to work to fully surrender his life to God, he moved to a Navajo reservation where he worked to teach the Navajo children about music and God.  In the YouTube video “Rich Mullins-Homeless Man” in part, people on the reservation were profoundly impacted by Mullins.

Mullins died at 41 in a car crash.  According to many who knew him, he had made peace with God just a few years prior.  He was working on the recording project he felt would be his most important work.  An Ambassador of Compassion, Mullins had impacted churches around the world and many of his fellow artists.  One might believe that Richard Mullins’ life was cut short in his prime.  Reflecting on his songs I can’t help but wonder what amazing songs would have come in the last decade, but when I read these lyrics, I know that Rich Mullins’ legacy and ministry lives on.

Creed by Richard Mullins:

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ
His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

CHORUS:
And I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered
Was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and
On the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where
He sits at God’s mighty right hand
I believe that He’s returning to
Judge the quick and the dead
Of the sons of men

CHORUS

I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son,
Our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church, the communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends

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