Having An Estranged Father, Brokenness, and Loneliness Had Lifelong Consequences
No One’s Perfect, Especially Christians
The Church Of Rich’s Generation Struggled With Legalism Over God’s Grace
Now I was not alive for most of the time period of the film (I was born in 1990) and I was too little to really remember the rest of it, but I don’t think that all the churches and preachers of that time were like that. That was definitely Rich’s perception of them, but I don’t think they were all that ignorant of the truth of God’s grace and hardened by legalism and hypocrisy. It’s really rather narrow-minded to assume that there were, but I guess that was part of Rich’s personal struggle.
I believe that we need to be careful when we get harshly critical of our brothers and sisters in Christ in front of the unbelieving world (like in a film), because it’s that kind of judgment that non-Christians are afraid you will pass on them and turns them off to our faith. We are supposed to use judgment in accountability within the context of the body of Christ, but we must use this privilege with caution and for the purpose of edification. I think that is the spirit with which it is done in the film, but it is still wise to use caution when using this method to illustrate a point.
Rich’s Life Was Whirlwind
The girl he dates in the movie (named Jess) represents one of three women Rich dated in his young adult life, one to which he was engaged, but she called it off (The film only mentions Jess’ engagement to someone else). The character of Sam Howard was exaggerated for the film, so that people would have a better connection with his father when he died (Sam was never Rich’s roommate). The character of Justin (Rich’s touring friend) is a representation of several guys that toured with Rich. One of the most obvious omissions from Rich’s life was his friend David Strasser, also known as Beaker. Beaker was one of Rich’s best friends and collaborated with him often in the later part of Rich’s career. Because of Beaker's absence, there were also several of the songs they collaborated on that did not make it into the film (like Sometimes by Step). There is also only one passing reference to his Ragamuffin Band on a sign.
Although I did know some about Rich Mullins prior to seeing this film, I learned so much in this portrayal that really opened my eyes to not only the points I mentioned here, but also the way that his story has impacted the next generation of Christians and Christian artists as they pursue a faith that’s as genuine and reckless as his. I encourage all of you to watch this movie if you haven’t (available on Netflix and many video retails) and to remember God’s grace as you shape your life in response it.
[If you want to read more about Rich's life and how he personally inspired me, click here]