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We Still Miss You, Rich Mullins (2005-05-13 - 2:15 a.m.)

I'm sitting here at work...very early Friday morning, the "easy" night.

I just got through listening to a cd that I haven't listened to in a while, and it has gotten me a bit emotional. The cd is called "the Jesus record," by Rich Mullins and a ragamufin band. Why, you might ask, has this gotten me emotional? You probably didn't, but I'm going to answer anyway.

This is a double cd package. The first cd is a very rough demo recording of nine songs that Rich wrote. The liner notes make this declaration:

"On September 10, 1997, Rich Mullins sat down in an old, abandoned church and played nine songs that were to be part of a record he had affectionately termed 'Ten Songs About Jesus.' This was a new project Rich was just starting called 'The Jesus Record,' a project Rich said was 'needed'--for himself and his friends. Just nine short days later, Rich left this world and went to meet Jesus, his savior and lord."

I remember waking up on Saturday morning and beginning to surf the net to discover the tragic news that we had lost one of the best songwriters that Christian music had seen in decades. (My opinion, there.) It was stunning. Rich Mullins was killed in a tragic jeep/truck accident.

As I listened to the songs on this cd set tonight, I was stirred. We've heard some of them on the radio, such as "My Deliverer." Some of them, we have not heard except on this cd. These songs are deep. They speak to me of a deep devotion to Christ that transcends country and politics. Rich was never much into that scene.

I remember a story that an ex-dj from KLTY once told about meeting Rich Mullins for the first time. He was the host of 20-the Countdown Magazine for a long time, and had an interview scheduled with Mullins. He had never met him before. The setting was somewhere in the context of the yearly "Dove" awards in Nashville, the time when all the popular Christian artists gather and pat each other on the back. There was a dinner going on, and the dj (I've lost memory of his name...John something...never liked him) was there. Suddenly, this guy came out of the kitchen wearing a servant's getup and started serving dinner to the guests. Imagine the dj's surprise when he realized that this "servant" was none other than Rich Mullins! That was his heart. He never wanted recognition.

I had the pleasure of seeing him twice in concert. I remember him performing in t-shirt, shorts, and barefoot. At the end of the concert, he had us singing "Step by Step." I had my eyes closed as we sang, worshipping. When I opened my eyes, the stage was empty and dark. Rich was gone. He didn't want the applause. He wanted Jesus to get it.

If there was ever a human that I would like to emulate, it would be Rich Mullins. I know that I'm only supposed to want to be like Jesus. But Mullins was the best human I ever saw.

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