Blue For The Sky & The Color Green…

On September 16, 2013, in Uncategorized, by culley

Based on personal observation, it is my firm conviction some souls born among the human species presently living on this planet, being held entirely within a limited corporeal plane, are simply too beautiful to exist here for long.  I do not pretend to know what these pivotal attributes are.  I just know that some people possess them… and that I do not.

It could well be a gift.  Which in and of itself comes from the very hand of the Almighty. Or perhaps some elemental attribute which is created in the heavy center of the stars of God’s cosmos, then forged, formed and polished into a thing of such strength, such power and such beauty that God simply cannot bear to be separated from His own lovely creation for one… nanosecond… longer.

He takes them.  They are literally yoinked through the thin membrane of life into His presence.

I also postulate, there might be an entirely different subset of attributes which are specific to each individual.  I find this notion highly likely.  In other words; God’s love is not one-size-fits-all, it is specifically tuned to each and every one of us.  It appears to me some folks who walk among us on this earth, achieve such heighten states of beauty and grace that God picks them for Himself.

For us lesser beings, who have only God’s grace to rely upon… those of us who might have taken momentary comfort and courage by simply basking the radiant light of such a favored person, the loss is devastatingly profound.  For me, Rich Mullins was such a person.

Wayne Mullins was born into a devoutly Quaker family on October the 21st, 1955 in Richmond Indiana.  I am not talking about the new variety of quakers whom in recent years seemed to have been invaded by crystal gazing, power point seeking, soothsayers.  I am talking about REAL Quakers… bonafide  members of the Society of Friends.  One would guess that Richard’s concepts of  Godly peace and social justice were formed during this early time.  It was apparent from very early life that “Wayne” as his family called him had a talent for music.  By the time he was a teenager he was playing piano for a choir group that toured quite successfully.

In 1988, Richard moved to Wichita, KS where he eventually enrolled in Friends University and was embraced as a member by the West Evangelical Free Church.  During this period, Mullins, along with his room mate and best friend, produced a series of slow blooming but very successful contemporary Christian music albums.  Over the course of the next several years he wrote and produced some of the finest Christian music of modern times.  Many of these songs have become contemporary classics and were almost immediately embraced and incorporated into worship proceedings by churches world wide.  Awesome God and Step By Step are just two outstanding examples among these.  At his own request, all profits from his music were then, and still continue to be, administered by his church and most of it is divided up and donated to various charities.  Richard was only paid an average annual salary.

After graduation from the premiere Quaker institution in North America, Richard moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in the four corners region where he lived among the tribe and taught music to school children.  Richard was at heart, an educator.  There he continued to compose and tour.  In his trademark quiet and unassuming way, he continued to influence the lives of Christians worldwide. One of those fortunate was me.

For me, listening to Richard’s music was like listening to my own spirit.  It was as if he had somehow stolen all of my fears, failures and triumphs and written songs about them… just for me.  It was as if he had read my mind and accurately articulated the most accurate definition of the Almighty I could have possibly hoped for.  Along with A.W. Tozer’s book Knowledge of the Holy, Richard’s music confirmed my suspicions of the nature of the Almighty and helped to coalesce my flawed understanding of the unseen cosmos.  I can honestly say, I love Richard Mullins.  I consider it one of the greatest highlights of my entire life to have seen him in concert, even if only once.  He played in a small church in the near urban slums of Atlanta with Carolyn Arends and  Ashley Cleveland. (Another of my favorites!) It was without question the best concert I ever attended. Those of you who know me… and understand the depth and breath of my love for all music will understand the intense profundity of this statement.

Unfortunately for those of us lesser beings who loved Richard, on September 19, 1997, (sixteen years ago today) Mullins and a friend were traveling I-39 north of Bloomington, Illinois, to a benefit concert at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas.  His Jeep rolled over. They were not wearing seat belts and were both ejected from the vehicle. When a passing semi-trailer truck swerved to miss the overturned Jeep, Mullins, who was too injured to move, was hit and died instantly at the scene. (

At the time Richard had been working on a new as yet unnamed project.  Nine days before his death, he walked into an abandoned church, turned on a cassette recorder and on the old out of tune piano there, pounded out nine new love songs to his God and left his final gift to this world.  A world that is a more beautiful place… at least for me… for Richard Wayne Mullins having lived.

Rest in peace my brother… until I sing with you again.


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