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Rich Mullins
[ here in america ]

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HERE IN AMERICA (2003)
Here In America - Click to pre-order! Nearly six years ago, Rich Mullins was called home by our heavenly Father. Though we celebrate that Rich has passed from the dust of this life to the glory of heaven, we also mourn the passing of a man whose influence has been sorely felt since that tragic September day.

That Rich Mullins has such popularity is something of a mystery. While alive, Rich was frank in his speech (often shocking people with his choice of words) and unafraid of confessing his struggles (who could forget the story behind "Hold Me Jesus"?). He was an unrefined man who often appeared in public scruffy and ill-clothed, sometimes causing suspicion. Yet, it was these characteristics that endeared Rich to us, for here was someone who simply lived life without putting on the garb of self-confidence and fame.

Unlike other tributes to Rich, Here in America (a CD/DVD combination) captures that rough and astonishing part of his nature. Sometimes he's causing his audience to gasp, other times he's cracking them up with a joke, and still others he's eagerly getting them to participate in his music. Wrong notes and out-of-tune guitars are there, but so are the spontaneous sermons that engage the listener's attention and educationally entertain.

Yes, Here in America is a rough collection, and it is not smooth, easy listening. However, those who complain about the roughness of the recordings obviously don't properly appreciate Rich Mullins: the vivid life that he lived is a light that could not be hidden or dimmed by any lack of sound quality.

The DVD portion of Here in America is also less than can be expected. Though the concert footage is well played and fascinating, the "12 Short Stories" are often abruptly cut off, and the chapter titles are more of a nuisance than a help. Rich's stories are still captivating, however, and you will feel the eloquence of his words move you long after you have turned your TV off.

Here was a man whose talents abounded. Here was a man whose songs used poetry that most of us can feel but never say. Here was a man who struggled and sinned on a daily basis. Here was a man who had his doubts and his questions as he walked the lonely road of faith. And what did he have to say? "I know that God is good." Amen and amen.
- Jason Ewert
July 2003
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