Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ragamuffin, The True Story of Rich Mullins

This picture came from the face book page of

“Ragamuffin” debuted to a sold-out house at the Orpheum Theatre last week. They have 66 screenings planned across the nation and then David Schultz, the writer and director of the film believes the film may be used in churches as a ministry tool.

I’ve never been to a “premier” of anything, so that in itself was exciting. Before the movie started David Schultz, the director, Michael Koch, the actor who played Rich and David Mullins, Rich’s brother were all interviewed and it was interesting to hear a bit of the background of the movie.

I was excited about attending this movie because we lived here when Rich lived here. We worked in another church of the same denomination as Rich. I had two teenagers, a youth minister for a husband and you just couldn’t be a Christian during those years and not have Rich Mullins music impact your lives. We started out with his music on “cassettes” then moved on to CD’s when they arrived on the scene. We saw him at numerous youth activities. So – of course like so many – I have felt like I have “known” Rich Mullins.

And I did know him well enough to speak to him. I knew him well enough to know he had had a troubled past. I knew him well enough to admire his walk with God.

I have read several very positive reviews about the movie. I have struggled with what I wanted to say in this review. - I have added the links to 2 of them below.

We’ve all known those Christians who are free spirits – and we love them. We love them for their boldness, for their honesty and for their longing for God. This is who I felt Rich was while he walked on this earth.

I believe the movie sold him short. I believe he was much more than what they portrayed. I knew of his struggles, but I also knew of his redemption.  After all, even one who had never seen him in person could know of his redemption through his songs.

I wanted to see that redemption in “Ragamuffin.” But I didn’t. It was an assumption, I believe, because of his music. But it was never shown or never spoken.

One conversation with another man that wasn’t in the movie, ”When does faithfulness to Jesus call us to lay aside our biases and when does it call us to stand beside them?” Rich asked and the gentleman answered him by saying, it’s not about being Catholic or Protestant. It is about being faithful to Jesus. The issue is not about which church you go to, it is about following Jesus where He leads you.” (from Wikipedia)

I would have liked to have learned more of his questioning, his learning about God, His spiritual growth rather than so much about the drinking and the anger. The film made me ask, “Did he ever stop being angry?” This was addressed for a bit at the end, but his anger, his problems were only a part of his life. His legacy of being a lover of God and singing His praises were a large part that seemed to get lost in the dark and the anger of the movie.

Yes, it’s true, you could hear his struggling in his songs. But you also heard of the redemption. The words he would write and sing - that although I struggle – God, you have the answers. The movie wasn’t clear on this to me.

Some of the words from  one of his songs:
“…Seems you never get too far…
…Voices are loud
but seldom clear….
when you’ve played out your last chance…
and your directions are all lost….
when the roads that you look down are all dead ends….

Definitely lyrics of a man with struggles but his chorus always has the answer to all these struggles -

You’re on the verge of a miracle
Standing here
You’re on the verge of a miracle
just waiting to be believed in
open your eyes and see
you're on the verge of a miracle.

I just kept waiting for the movie to show us Rich’s miracle. That he was an overcomer. That he did indeed have that miracle which was his relationship with God.

Here are some links to other reviews for you to read

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