Rich Mullins, “Ragamuffin,” and Why I Want to Go Barefoot

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Last night, the mister and I watched a movie about the life of Rich Mullins called “Ragamuffin” – and I’m hoping it was life changing.

Now, if you’re like me, Rich Mullins is a foreign name to you. I didn’t grow up listening to Christian music (in fact most of my life I’ve found Christian music to be super cheesy and poorly written) and none of my friends did either. The first time I heard the name Rich Mullins was actually in the summer of 2007, while on staff working at Sky Ranch Camps. One of my co-counselors was deeply inspired by him, and she listened to his music often. So, basically, until last night, I knew nothing about the life of Rich Mullins. In fact, the first thing I said when we bought the movie was something along the lines of, “Wow! It sounds like he lived a pretty edgy life. I always figured he was some straight-laced, cookie-cutter Christian.” Judgmental, I know.

Without going into too much detail, or ruining the movie for anyone who’s interested in watching it, Rich lived a life dominated by haunting memories of verbal abuse, heartbreak, alcoholism, and desperate loneliness. He had a battle to fight with his past, and he always seemed lost in his present.

So why can’t I stop thinking about his life today? Why have I, within the last 18-hours, downloaded two of his albums? Why can’t I stop singing his songs in my head? (Maybe it’s because he never wore shoes, and I want to be cool like him and never wear shoes either….no…well…kind of.)

It’s because his story reminds me that struggling isn’t always a bad thing. Rich never lived a perfect life (in fact, he was almost opposed to rules), but his mind was continually on where the Lord had him and what he could do to be used by Him. His ambition wasn’t in money, fame, or “religiosity” – it was simply in knowing he was loved by God and showing others that they were, as well.

So as I sit here today, I’m awe-struck. I mean, I wish I was like him (in the most feminine way, of course). He genuinely cared about others, and he genuinely didn’t care about “success” on this earth or what others thought of him. He walked around barefoot most of the time because he had given his shoes to someone in need. He was a multi-millionaire, yet he only let his accountants pay him the average American salary each year, so that he could give the rest away. When he died, he didn’t even know how much money he had made. Better yet, he didn’t even care.

I know some of this may seem like some emotional rant, but seriously – can you imagine living this way?

As I stood in line at Subway this afternoon, I prayed that I would see those around me as precious people made by God. I prayed that I wouldn’t get caught up in financial gain or in being perfect. I prayed for half of the mindset that Rich Mullins had.

In America, it’s hard to not get caught up in the rat race. The big house, the cute clothes, the financial “security”…it’s all alluring. Unfortunately, it’s hard to give up. If I am being honest, I think I’m losing the here – and I hate that. I mean, let’s be honest. Who the heck cares? What really matters? I mean, REALLY matters? It’s not my education, though it is good to be able to think intellectually. It’s not my car, though I’m thankful for it. It’s not my ability to perform socially, though being polite and respectful is of great importance. It’s not some future dream I have for a flexible job, creative kids, and a secure life, for I was reminded last night that most of the time our dreams are too shallow.

It’s knowing that God loves me and allowing that love to free me to love others and Him recklessly. The only things that live forever are the hearts of men and the word of God. That’s what matters.

“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 your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere around you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.” – Rich Mullins

This may seem like some “high” I’m on, but I hope it’s not. I pray that even though I’m continually being lured in by comfort and “normalcy,” by the grace of God I can resist and live life in a way that’s focused on what really matters.

I watched the movie, and I hope it changes my life.

3 thoughts on “Rich Mullins, “Ragamuffin,” and Why I Want to Go Barefoot

  1. I realize this post is more than two years old, but I wanted to write a comment because I really enjoyed reading it. I “discovered” Rich Mullins and his music not long after I became a christian almost 26 years ago. His heart-rending and raw lyrics touched my soul in a way no other christian artist could. He was simply a real person, not a contemporary christian cliché. I don’t listen to his songs that often anymore, but once in a while I’ll pick them up and sing them when I’m by myself.

    I never got to see him in person, but he changed my life through the honest way he lived his life and how he expressed his faith and love through the songs he wrote. I don’t think there will ever be another artist like him.


    1. I just watched the Richard Mullins movie. It brought me to tears. Is so true does it matter how much riches you have. We are opposed to love one another unconditionally like Jesus did. I just wished that I had known sooner about him


  2. I just watched the movie Ragamuffin and it touched my heart. What lead me to read this post was searching for the answer to the question “did Rich Mullins really go barefoot often?”
    I look at my own life with it’s brokeness and my failures and I am so overjoyed that Jesus loves me just as I am. I’ve given many things these past few years and this year even more so. I praise God I can give and look for to giving more. Not just money and things, but love and serving others. Most of all I want to be more obedient to the Holy Spirit who guides us through this life. I want to be more and more like Jesus!!!


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