Remembering the ‘Uneasy Conscience of Christian Music’

It was 21 years ago on September 19, 1997 that Rich Mullins died in a tragic accident on his way to a benefit concert in Wichita Kansas. He was the artist behind the classic “Awesome God”. Despite being gone, his impact and influence still echoes through the halls of contemporary Christian Music still today. Mullins’ influence has transcended time and his legacy lives on through the lives of artists, musicians and countless Christians.

Here are some Rich Mullins quotes that will hopefully inspire you today.

“I think I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some pietistic illusion of moral excellence. Not that I don’t want to be morally excellent but my faith isn’t in the idea that I’m more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit.” – Rich Mullins

“The hardest part of being a Christian is surrendering and that is where the real struggle happens. Once we have overcome our own desire to be elevated, our own desire to be recognized, our own desire to be independent and all those things that we value very much because we are Americans and we are part of this American culture. Once we have overcome that struggle then God can use us as a part of His body to accomplish what the body of Christ was left here to accomplish.” – Rich Mullins

“It’s all that pretending to be perfect that breeds inauthenticity in the church.” – Rich Mullins

“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won’t also cost you yours.” – Rich Mullins

“Save me from trendy religion that makes cheap clichés out of timeless truths.” – Rich Mullins

“It says a lot of things in there. Proof-texting is a very, very dangerous thing. I think if we were given the scriptures it was not so that we could prove that we are 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 are just guessing.” – Rich Mullins

“Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken-hearted.” – Rich Mullins

“God spoke to Balaam through his ass. I believe God still speaks through asses today. So if God should choose to speak through you, you needn’t think too highly of yourself.” – Rich Mullins

“I am a Christian, not because someone explained the nuts and bolts of Christianity, but because there were people willing to be nuts and bolts.” – Rich Mullins

“When you stop being so afraid of failing you become much more free to succeed.” – Rich Mullins

“I grew up hearing everyone tell me ‘God loves you’. I would say big deal, God loves everybody. That don’t make me special! That just proves that God ain’t got no taste. And, I don’t think He does. Thank God! Because He takes the junk of our lives and makes the most beautiful art.” – Rich Mullins

Here are some quotes about Rich Mullins from some other artist he influenced…

“Rich Mullins was the uneasy conscience of Christian music. He didn’t live like a star. … could be used to help others.” – Amy Grant

“I cannot explain in words just how much Rich Mullins and his music means to me. His songwriting has influenced me perhaps more than anyone else’s. To be able to sing his lyrics and melodies in this new song helps me to remember this great writer, musician, and friend.” Mac Powell

“My hope in being part of this song isn’t that we just sort of have a nostalgic moment and remember a nice guy, because he wasn’t just a nice guy. My hope is that people are inspired, particularly those of us who sing and write, to remember our prophetic calling to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted.” – Matt Maher

“Rich Mullins is one of my very favorite people. His writing, his music and his demeanor have had a huge impact on me. I cannot describe what an honor it was to be part of ‘The Joy of Jesus’ as we celebrate the artist and the soul that is Rich Mullins.” – Ellie Holcomb

Rich Mullins was to me what Steve Green was to a generation before me. He was a prophetic voice in an industry that needed it. I learned more about God in his music than in most books I was reading at that time. As I reflect on his life and legacy, I remember this:

And I believe what I believe
is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of god
and not the invention of any man

It will be a beautiful thing one day sharing in the choir of voices singing to our King Jesus, next to Mr. Mullins.

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