Rich Mullins was a talented Christian singer songwriter who died 17 years ago, but thanks to independent filmmaker David Leo Shultz, the outspoken 'ragamuffin' who was truly blessed in worship will live on through a film about his remarkable journey.
According to the website for the new movie, aptly named "Ragamuffin", the film is 'based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood.
Not one of his contemporaries, like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, ever doubted that Mullins had a strong love for Jesus in his heart. He was determined to love God through his struggles, and he was not always accepted by the church that he opposed sometimes. He was an outspoken advocate for the outcast and the awkward, and he championed love for the homeless and the broken.
"Christianity," he tells an audience, "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."
Mullins would find fame and fortune in the music industry, but, still, he never found a place he felt like he truly fit in. He struggled to reconcile the pain his earthly father gave him, with the truth that his heavenly father loved him immensely. He never took more money than he needed, giving most of his profits to the church.
According to the filmmakers, Mullins was a prophet and a poet and a beggar, more comfortable with the homeless than the wealthy, more in love with Jesus than religion, more interested in the music than the song.
At the age of 41, he died in a car accident in Illinois, having lived a life of "honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity."
You can check out the soundtrack here.
The film stars Michael Koch, David Shultz, and Elizabeth Roberts.