Happy Birthday, Rich Mullins (1955-1997)

Happy Birthday, Rich Mullins (1955-1997)! He would’ve been 53 today.  It seems facile to say he was/is “my favorite Christian musician,” but that’s what he was/is, by far. I thank him for many years of helping me focus on what’s important, leave the rest to drop off, and for inspiring me toward that work.

I’d have to pick “Calling Out Your Name” as my favorite song, though it’s hard to choose. I wish he’d done a professional video of it (like the one for The Color Green or My Brother’s Keeper or Here in America), but this one’s okaaaay…

Well the moon moved past Nebraska
And spilled laughter on them cold Dakota Hills
And angels danced on Jacob’s stairs
Yeah they danced on Jacob’s stairs
There is this silence in the Badlands
And over Kansas the whole universe was stilled
By the whisper of a prayer, the whisper of a prayer
And the single hawk bursts into flight
And in the east the whole horizon is in flames

Chorus: I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

I can feel the earth tremble
Beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
And the fury in the pheasant’s wings
And there’s fury in a pheasant’s wings
It tells me the Lord is in his temple
And there is still a faith that can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring
And I’ve seen love make heaven ring
Where the sacred rivers meet
Beneath the shadow of the Keeper of the plains

From the place where morning gathers
You can look sometimes forever ’til you see
What time may never know, what time may never know
How the Lord takes by its corners this old world
And shakes us forward and shakes us free
To run wild with the hope, to run wild with the hope
The hope that this thirst will not last long
That it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain

And I know this thirst will not last long
That it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And with the prairies I am calling out Your name

This is quintessential Rich, at a concert:

Proof-texting is very very dangerous. I think if we were given the scriptures, it was not so that we could prove that we were right about everything. If we were given the scriptures, it was to humble us into realizing that God is right and the rest of us is just guessing.

And I love that part about Karl Barth saying he believed in God because of the Jews. And when asked what he meant, he said, “Well, find me a Hittite in New York City!” (6:10)

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Rich.  I miss your music — or the privilege of getting new music from you.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Rich Mullins (1955-1997)

  1. Thanks, Marjorie. Yes, more happy birthdays to the deceased!

    Butterfly song, butterfly song — that’s not ringing a bell. And I have every album, except his very first. Is “Butterfly” the title??

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