Fans Say Goodbye
Copyright 1997 by CCM Magazine
In only the first week after his death, CCM Magazine's online site received hundreds of E-mail messages and letters from over 40 states and nine different countries around the world, all responding with story after story of how lives were impacted by Rich Mullins and his music. The following are excerpts from a few of those letters, all of which have been forwarded to the Mullins' family:
I feel like I'm looking at an unfinished portraits. The black lines of interviews and liner notes outline an image of his face. His lyrics add the shadows and bring depth to the painting. Then his music adds splashes of color: deep, melancholy browns, bright sensual oranges, reflective blues, and the yellows of worship. The painting isn't very clear. The only thing evident is that his face is turned toward the Savior in a mix of repentance and worship. Rich, the stuff of earth no longer competes for the allegiance we owe only to do Giver of all good things. Well done, Rich Mullins, well done.
~Mark Whitlock (Little Rock, AR)
"John be God's." Those three words were written on the cover of my copy of Never Picture Perfect at a concert I attended in 1991 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Today as I look at those words, just above Rich's signature, I can't help but think of the irony. For Rich was God's. Rich Mullins, unlike anyone I can think of, was utterly devoted to his Lord. He did not draw attention to himself. I was challenged by his words then. I am haunted by them now. Yet as I grieve, I don't grieve as one who has no hope. "John be God's." I will be God's, Rich. Not for you - I know you wouldn't want that - but for the God whose awe you proclaimed so faithfully.
~John L. Moody (Lake Worth, FL)
Rich Mullins' words and music have been, and will continue to be, like a mirror that reflects the cracks of inadequacy in our lives, but at the same time opens those cracks to the abounding grace of God the Father. The legacies of Rich's sojourn reach far and wide.
~Boyd Williams (Australia)
In 1989, I gave birth prematurely to a baby girl, and for the first time in my life I prayed: "God, if you save my baby's life, I'll find out more about you." Over the next two-and-a-half hours I watched the monitors go from red to green. My baby lived, and I started going to church with my best friend and her husband, who begged me to come to one of Rich's concerts. While waiting in the lobby, I stood by the front door wanting to leave so badly I could scream. This guy came up to me and said, "You don't look like you really want to be here." I told him that my idea of a great evening did not include rolling in the aisles. Then he said, "Well, I don't blame you. I wouldn't want to spend my evening doing something I didn't want to do either, but maybe when your friend gets here, you will listen to a little bit of the music and enjoy it." He excused himself and went away. A few minutes later Rich walked onto the stage and I almost fainted. "That's the guy I was talking to out in the lobby!" During that concert Rich talk about basic faith - how just sitting on a tractor in the middle of a cornfield watching a storm come his way, he could see the hand of God and how awesome it was to observe it in action. That night touched my heart, and the Holy Spirit started chipping away at the walls I had built. I spoke with Rich for about four hours later that night, and he answered a lot of my questions. I know that Rich was the avenue God used to bring me and my daughter into the kingdom.
~Sandy Carol (Hawthorne, CA)
Clearly, the world is broken. My hands are shaking. I'm bawling in a crowded, stuffed, overheated, and pretentious cafe. Here is how an artist attains immortality: he becomes the conduit for the things that etch into souls. Here, without realizing it, with the subtlety of an angel, there is a deep groove in the soul of Beverly White which Rich carved. I doubt he ever knew my name, or could have known the solace his art afforded me on blackest nights. I am without right to grieve or mourn in any profound way; we never met. But I am one to do things I have no right to do, and the keyboard will be stained with salt by the time I stagger home.
~Bevery R. White (Ontario, CA)