Ode to Rich

My bloggy friend, Ann Kroeker (http://annkroeker.com), recently wrote about squealing with delight when artist Ashley Cleveland performed a song by the one and only Rich Mullins.


Back in the day, my husband worked for Word Records, and we were Rich groupies. Ann, I squeal every time Ashley sings Rich.


Lately, our little family of four has been having problems with church. I lay the blame at my own feet. So for the past couple of months, we’ve been doing church services at home, just to do something. Usually, my son plays guitar, but this past Sunday, his guitar was being fixed. So instead, we sang Rich songs. Listening to those songs again reminded me why I am still a Rich groupie, even though he’s been gone for 13 years:


1) Rich always looked like he just crawled out from under a rock. No “handlers” could handle him. But he had a great smile.


2) Rich could flat out play. I like singers, but I respect musicians. It’s amazing to watch him move from piano to hammered dulcimer to guitar to mountain dulcimer.


3) Rich never took Christian music seriously. He said his music was completely disposable–only good for entertainment … maybe. He told people that if they wanted spiritual nourishment, they should go to church and read their Bible.


4) Rich told great stories. Many of them he told over and over again. I never minded. I’d think, “Oh, it’s the Germany story!”


5) Rich loved this world that God created, but he also sang, “It won’t break my heart to say good-bye.” He said good-bye at the age of 42.


6) Rich hung on to music he knew was good, even when the record label didn’t agree with him. Eventually, everything he wrote was released, and re-released.


7) Rich loved Diet Coke and Guinness and going shoeless and driving his old truck across the country and occasionally picking up hitchhikers. He loved to hear God’s people sing hymns. He never got over the girl who broke his heart. He signed every autograph “Be God’s.”


I’m trying, Rich. Say hi to my mom for me.