There’s something raw and bold about meeting someone who is authentic. Someone that doesn’t pretend or present something to the outside world that is different on the inside. It’s rare, really.
I bumped into this type of authenticity as a new college graduate. There was an amazing singer/songwriter that I admired. I loved his lyrics. A true poet. He happened to be singing at my church, so I went. There are so many things I do not remember about that night, but I do remember he was barefoot (which was apparently normal for him). I also remember him walking off the stage quietly while we were singing Awesome God…and never coming back. My thoughts after the concert were – He wasn’t in this thing for glory. He wasn’t in it to look good. He didn’t care what others thought. I wanted that.
Looking back, I wonder what the Christian labels thought of him. He did not fit the “Christian” mold. Wasn’t even remotely mainstream. He was not polished. He didn’t wear the clothes you would expect from a “star”. He spoke freely. A real person struggling through life. Struggling with alcohol and addictions and depression. Normal.
During an interview, a radio host was asking him what type of music he liked to listen to. His response? “I like silence.” He is also quoted as saying, “The thing I like most about the Bible are all the weirdos in it. I think the Bible is just packed with them.”
And that was the person of Rich Mullins.
Someone that went against the norm. A bit edgy for some, but appealing to a young college girl looking for her way in the world. Someone that was just learning that the world could be cruel and hard and was doubting some things about her faith.
I remember the song about the wideness in God’s mercy. It wasn’t one of his favorites (he says on stage), but the truth is piercing. This concert shows his authenticity, even forgetting (or thinking he was forgetting) the words – The Love of God.
My all-time favorite song, though, is The Color Green. To this day, I turn it up in the car and sing at the top of my lungs. It’s healing.
Rich died at age 41 in a car accident. I remember hearing about it on the radio and crying. A sad day for many.
Today I remember Rich Mullins and am thankful God allowed me to bump into his authenticity so many years ago.
Today (10/21/14) would have been his 59th birthday.