gentry13

extant links to evangelical culture

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm

a few days ago andrew peterson (@andrewpeterson) shared a teaser trailer for an upcoming movie based on  the life of  rich mullins and added the simple tag: “pleaseletitbegoodpleaseletitbegood.”

since i am a sucker for all things rich, i quickly watched the trailer and was almost immediately filled with  dread. the clip – which the director says is comprised of research clips, though that hoky shot of the bare feet  makes one wonder – almost drips with sentimentality. look there’s a paint peeled, character infused wood  frame building frame  house on the bare, virile plains. there is the requisite quotation from brennan  manning. oh my, is that the pure,  resonant tone of a hammered dulcimer i hear?

although the clip raises serious questions about the film project – like why should we let a lifeway shopper instead of a talented, experienced indy director of indeterminate piety offer a fresh perspective on this story – it also exposes my extant visceral attachment to rich.

i’m not going to claim to be a rich lifer. i didn’t know a damn thing about the man when he died on a highway outside of peoria a few days short of playing a show at lincoln christian college that i probably wouldn’t have attended. the only connection i had with him up to that point was the song awesome God, which i didn’t like then and i don’t like now.

however, in the glare that flared after his death, i couldn’t help but be intrigued by the man. outside of the circumstantial connections – he was expelled from a bible college in my christian church, church of Christ tradition; he had been transfixed and transformed by the hippieish brother son and sister moon – i was struck by rich’s counter-cultural approach to money, evangelical norms (confession 1: i also smoked like a chimney at the time and wish i could still. confession 2: rich cussed like a sailor and i, i’m working on it.) and his commitment to the poor. as the years have gone by rich’s life has served as a constant reminder to me that direct, contrarian people committed to the way of Jesus have a place in the church and, even more importantly, a vital mission to the world.

i’ve often, somewhat jokingly, described the emergent conversation as a collective of disaffected evangelicals who don’t give a shit about sustaining the evangelical subculture. while in many instances that description might ring true, i cannot deny that there is a small group of, admittedly somewhat ill-fitting, evangelicals like rich mullins and philip yancey, who fired my young faith and have continued to strengthen me along the way.

i’m tempted to conclude in a cliche way by saying something like “so thank you rich for giving me the hope to carry on.” but pablum like that is beneath me, so i won’t.

do you have extant links to the evangelical subculture? if so, do tell.

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