Remembering Rich

Today would have been Rich Mullin’s 57th birthday (and, oddly enough, Keith Green’s 55th). Rich was a man who ran after God, come what may. This, of course, made him dangerous, and a poet of great depth. And sure enough, his life bore the scars of a race run well. He died “with a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire” like Elijah, just as he wanted, in September of 1997.

I miss him. He was a beautiful human being:

“Once you come to understand that life is unbelievably brief, and that we can’t really do anything that is going to change anything-that we really don’t amount to a hill of beans-then, all of a sudden you go, “then it really doesn’t matter if I’m not great. And if I don’t have to be great, that means I can fail. And if I can fail, then I can try. And if I can try, that means I’m gonna have a good time.”

“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. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.”

“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won’t also cost you yours.”

“If I can’t give myself away, I’m the only one who loses.” ~The Breaks, Rich Mullins

“I had a professor one time… He said, ‘Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway’.”

“We were given the Scriptures to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.”

“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart — it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice — it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.”

“A faith that moves mountains is a faith that expands horizons, it does not bring us into a smaller world full of easy answers, but into a larger one where there is room for wonder.”

“I would like to encourage you to stop thinking of what you’re doing as ministry. Start realizing that your ministry is how much of a tip you leave when you eat in a restaurant; when you leave a hotel room whether you leave it all messed up or not; whether you flush your own toilet or not. Your ministry is the way that you love people. And you love people when you write something that is encouraging to them, something challenging. You love people when you call your wife and say, ‘I’m going to be late for dinner,’ instead of letting her burn the meal. You love people when maybe you cook a meal for your wife sometime, because you know she’s really tired. Loving people – being respectful toward them – is much more important than writing or doing music.”

“I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all sufficiency of the grace of God than in some kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence-not that I don’t want to be morally excellent, 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.”

“This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn, how it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free.” ~Elijah, Rich Mullins

“I think that part of being human is being alone, and being lonely. I think one of the stresses on a lot of our friendships is that we require the people we love to take away that loneliness. and they really can’t. And so, when we still feel lonely, even in the company of people we love, we become angry with them because they don’t do what we think they’re supposed to. Which is really something that they can’t do for us.”

“A spiritual thing is folding your clothes at the end of the day. A spiritual thing is making your bed. A spiritual thing is taking cookies to your neighbor that is shut in or raking their front lawn because they are too old to do it. That’s spirituality. Getting a warm, oozy feeling about God is an emotional thing-there is nothing wrong with it-I think there is nothing more practical than real spirituality.”

“I think that all these doctrinal statements that all the congregations come up with over the years are basically just not very worthwhile. I don’t mean to sound mean toward the people who came up with them. I understand in the past there have been many heretical movements, and we still need to maintain sound doctrine… But I think our real doctrine is that doctrine that is born out in our character. I think you can profess the Apostles’ Creed until Jesus returns, but if you don’t love somebody, you never were a Christian.”

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6 Responses to Remembering Rich

  1. Jeff says:

    Oh, Rodalena! Thank you so much for sharing these quotes! I miss Rich so much! I didn’t know until this morning when I was doing my devotional blog that he and Keith shared a birthday. I’m going to reblog this. These quotes touched the innermost part of my being this evening.

  2. Jeff says:

    Reblogged this on Revelling In the Overflowing Grace of God and commented:
    Another blogger remembers Rich Mullins, and shares some incredible quotes from an incredible man of God.

  3. sheila7697 says:

    Very insightful, thank you for sharing these words of wisdom. I read Jeff’s blog, and thus wandered over to yours. ~ Sheila

  4. Beautiful reminders of a beautiful person. I miss him too. Thank you for the reminders.

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