Heart to Heart Interview
Sheila Walsh
Heart to Heart, Christian Broadcasting Network
May 20, 1992

Announcer: The 700 club presents Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh.

Sheila Walsh: Hello, and welcome to Heart to Heart. I'm sure you've heard other recording artists perform songs such as "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" and "Awesome God" that my guest today has written. He not only writes and records hit songs, but also feels a responsibility to be real, to tell the truth, to be genuine to his audiences. His latest album, The World As Best As I Remember It, Volume 2, gives us a hint he spends time thinking about life. Here is Rich Mullins singing from the album the song, "Sometimes by Step":

["Sometimes by Step"]

Sheila Walsh: Really beautiful. Rich is such a true poet. His albums, The World As Best As I Remember It, Volumes 1 and 2, on Reunion Records. And I'm gonna tell you towards the end of the show how you can get a hold of those today. We'll give you a toll free number and you can call and order his CDs and tapes, they're great.

Please welcome, from Wichita, Kansas, Rich Mullins

That was beautiful. Really beautiful. I love your piano style when you play. It's really neat.

SW: I want you to imagine, if you will, that we were in Seattle, in a little café. Nobody bothering us, no gig to do, nobody pestering you. We just sat down to cappuccino. Somebody said to you, 'What's the most important thing... what are the most important things in your life?'

SW: Did you discover that by accident?

SW: Yeah, I'll bet that's true.

But I want to ask you, you're the same age as me. You're 36, and I'm almost 36. How are you different at 36 than 26?

SW: That's a big thing.

SW: Within the Christian music thing, the whole industry, the Bible tells us that we shouldn't think of ourselves more highly than we ought. But it seems that the system is set up to make that as difficult as possible.

SW: But I read too somewhere that at 40, you were going to quit music because you reckoned you'd be too ugly by then.

SW: So what though? Because if what you're saying, if what you're discovering is an inner peace and a freedom from that, why would it matter? Why wouldn't you stay in there as an example of the fact that we can all get older and fatter and balder and that that's okay?

SW: Perhaps I ask this of myself more than of you... Something I wonder is if there's any sort of escapism in that. Because when my husband and I went to the Philippines and we watched what was happening in the garbage dump there. And flying back, Norman said to me, 'I wish we could give up all the trappings of our life in America and go and live there.' But I actually felt it would be more of a challenge to live where we live in a way that brings honor to God than just drop it all and go...

SW: What a future!

SW: Oh, yeah.

SW: I can really understand that when I was just doing music and travelling all the time, I don't think there's ever been a lonelier time in my life. Even though at night you'd stand in front of a crowd of people and you seemed not to be alone, it was really lonely, because nobody really knew me. I mean, they all maybe bought my records and knew my music, but none of them knew the things that made me laugh or the things that made me cry. And it can be lonely to be known and yet... I think it was Einstein that said, 'How can I be so known and so alone?'

Let's talk about accountability because I know that that's something that is important in your life. And sometimes one of the trademarks of the Christian musician has been the whole Lone Ranger thing of "I don't want to be known, thank you very much, because if you knew me, you would have a fit."

SW: Did you stumble upon your need for accountability?

SW: So get off his back you narrow-minded whatever.

SW: Yeah, I kinda got the picture. I like that.

["How Can I Keep Myself from Singing?"]

SW: Welcome back, my guest today, Rich Mullins. I wanted to ask you about your concerts. I know you're not into the spiritual buzz. You're not into the kindof being tanked up from one Friday to the next concert. What do you see as the point of your concerts? What do you hope to convey through your music?

SW: You mentioned Buechner earlier and one of his books, The Gospel As Comedy, Tragedy, and Fairy Tale...

SW: Yes, Telling the Truth, because if you do that in concert, that's not maybe always going to be comfortable, because the truth is not always a comfortable thing.

SW: And are you happy to do that in concert? Is that something you feel at peace with?

SW: I get a lot of mail from viewers who feel like failures. Who seem to spend all their life feeling like they're a disappointment to God. You've talked a lot about the fact that you feel you've blown it a lot in your short but meaningful life. Have you found a peace in knowing that God loves you as you are?

SW: A friend of mine, Brennan Manning, said that when he gets home, he believes that perhaps all Christ will look him in the face and say, "Did you believe that I loved you? Did you really believe it?" Because if you believe that, it changes everything.

SW: I can tell you don't have children.

SW: That's pretty awesome.

SW: But it's wonderful. It's very liberating.

SW: Because most of us know we're never going to be the VanGogh of anything.

SW: Plus you get to keep both your ears.

SW: That's fairly important in music.

SW: Coming from a culture like Britain, I'm used to... when I was at college, my friends were Catholics, were Presbyterian, were Baptists, were Assembly of God, were everything. We had very different opinions, very diverse. I loved it. I loved the hodgepodge of life where you don't agree with. But somehow, we seem very uncomfortable with that. That you know I can't really accept you until you follow my ten principles. Do you think that's changing?

SW: Well, it sounds like we only have four more years of Rich's music, so you'd better buy it fast before it all goes out of the stores. Rich, thanks so much for coming and being with us. It was good to talk to you.