Andy Miller III
Cover Image for Rich Mullins’ Music, Life, and Legacy with James Bryan Smith

Rich Mullins’ Music, Life, and Legacy with James Bryan Smith

March 9, 2023

After Rich Mullins was a famous CCM musician, he decided to go back to college so he could be better equipped to serve on a Native American reservation. While in school he moved in with Jim Smith’s family. After Mullins’ tragic death in 1997, the Mullins family asked Smith to write a biography of his life. Smith produced this touching devotional biography, An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. Rich Mullins’ music had a deep impact on me. I think you will enjoy this conversation with Jim Smith.

Youtube -

Audio -

Apple -

Contender: Going Deeper in the Book of Jude - This all-inclusive small group study on the book of Jude is out now. Check it out on the course page:

Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching - I’m excited to share some news with you.  Recently, I updated this PDF document and added a 45-minute teaching video with slides, explaining this tool. It's like a mini-course. If you sign up for my list, I will send this free resource to you. Sign up here - or Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching.

Today’s episode is brought to you by these two sponsors:

Bill Roberts is a financial advisor, who has been serving the retirement planning and investment needs of individuals, families, non-profits, and churches for 25 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner and accredited investment fiduciary. Bill specializes in working with Salvation Army employees and officers by helping them realize their financial goals.  You can find out more about Bill’s business at


Wesley Biblical Seminary - Interested in going deeper in your faith? Check out our certificate programs, B.A., M.A.s, M.Div., and D.Min degrees. You will study with world-class faculty and the most racially diverse student body in the country.

Thanks too to Phil Laeger for my podcast music. You can find out about Phil's music at


Welcome to the more to the story, Podcast. I am so glad that you have come along. This is going to be a great show, and I know many people my audience have who are are fans of rich Mullins. I know that many people seeing rich molans on a regular basis, and you probably already had a song come to mind since you found out about this. But we also might have some people who just found this may maybe just doing a search. Maybe Rich Moles is in your playlist. So you are in for a treat today. We'll. We'll be coming that in just a second. But I want you to know. This podcast is by

00:00:53.000 --> 00:01:04.709
E. To you, by Wesley Biblical Seminary, where we are developing trusted leaders for faithful churches. That means like, Certainly we're developed. We're training pastors. That's a part of our tradition. That's what we want to do. We want to serve the church 150

00:01:04.709 --> 00:01:20.670
Andy Miller III: in this way. But we do that through yeah, academic programming. But we also feel part of our job is just developing leaders in a church, and that includes several lay initiative. So you can find out more about Wesley Biblical

00:01:20.960 --> 00:01:37.490
Andy Miller III: Also, I'm thankful to Bill Roberts from his in his financial planning company, who have helped me put this podcast. He's a sponsor of this podcast been so since the very beginning. You can find out more about He's particularly good at helping people

00:01:37.490 --> 00:02:07.180
who have like focus on things like housing allowances and and guiding people in ministry towards thinking about planning for their retirement, which isn't something that people ministry do very well just from my experience. Alright, and finally, I want you to know that there is a free resource available for you. It's called 5 steps to Deeper teaching and preaching. It's an eight-page pdf kind of guide text to help you think about preaching and teaching in a deeper way, and it's exegettical tool. But it's also a creative tool

00:02:07.180 --> 00:02:31.180
Andy Miller III: and I have a 45 min teaching that goes along with that. I'll send that to you for free. If you sign up for my email all right. Well, I am so glad to welcome to the podcast James Brian Smith. That's how I knew him, but now I know his name really is Jim Jim. Welcome to the podcast. Wonderful to be here. Thanks, Andy.

00:02:31.310 --> 00:02:47.610
Andy Miller III: Well, I was delighted to see in the Ivp catalog this book, and a sadly like I didn't real. I was just like, oh, somebody has written a book on Rich Mullins. I've gotta get it. And then when I got the book. I saw it at 20 fifth, a dish, 20 fifth anniversary addition. I'd realized

00:02:47.610 --> 00:03:04.060 i'm 25 years late. I didn't know this book that had been out. It's such a great devotional biography. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for writing this, Jim. Oh, well, thanks for saying it. And yeah, that's what it is. It's a devotion. It's kind of its own unique little

00:03:04.230 --> 00:03:08.660 genre, because it's not a straight up, just a bio. Here's the facts of his life.

00:03:08.850 --> 00:03:12.620
but it's more what what it made this guy who he was.

00:03:12.730 --> 00:03:24.970
Andy Miller III: I I don't know if you have it as an audio book. I'm just kind of fresh off of reading it. But this would be a great audio book if you could go through, and so many times you quote the song, so many of the songs

00:03:24.970 --> 00:03:33.830
Andy Miller III: and provide the context for that. But then it's also thematically fits it. It would. It would be a great audio book if it just led right into him.

00:03:33.830 --> 00:03:45.600

00:03:45.600 --> 00:04:00.360
Andy Miller III: Always played. It was like on a circular play playlist for me if there wasn't such a thing. But I was singing it regularly, but you have, an it it wasn't just that you had an interest in Richmond's music. You had a I mean a dramatic personal.

00:04:00.430 --> 00:04:10.040
Andy Miller III: a relationship with him, I mean maybe more so than anybody outside of his family. Would you tell us a little bit about that as a as a kind of entre into this book.

00:04:10.540 --> 00:04:19.019 Well, you're you're right. I so rich. And I became friends really long before I understood his music, which is a strange

00:04:19.050 --> 00:04:21.390
thing, and I think something he probably appreciated.

00:04:21.450 --> 00:04:27.480 I I I like you mentioned. I knew Awesome God! That was that song was just so. So

00:04:27.750 --> 00:04:37.130 it was played on the radio. It was sung in churches. It was so that I knew. But I didn't know anything really about him beyond that. So

00:04:37.280 --> 00:04:42.520
he just he became a student at Friends University, where I teach, in which stock Kansas and

00:04:42.570 --> 00:04:51.880 he had come to Wichita to be mentored by a friend of his dad, who was a just a guy who was a really deep.

00:04:52.040 --> 00:04:55.370
salty Christian, you know, meant to mentor him.

00:04:55.380 --> 00:05:00.720 and he had fled Nashville because he just didn't want to become

00:05:01.050 --> 00:05:12.130 get sucked up into that star machine thing that they were trying to do, and he's like i'm an artist, and I pre talk about Jesus, but I don't want to be a celebrity. I don't want to

00:05:12.220 --> 00:05:25.630 mash Bill in a way, and ended up coming to Wichita to meet to be with this guy. Well, 6 months after getting to which the the guy has a heart attack.

00:05:25.700 --> 00:05:29.520 and so rich was like well, I mean, in which time I don't know what to do.

00:05:29.750 --> 00:05:30.680

00:05:30.700 --> 00:05:45.520 he had a passion for teaching music to kids on the Native American Reservation.

00:05:45.650 --> 00:05:59.200 That was his go. So he thought, Well, if i'm going to do that, I need to get a degree in music education which is really not true. He could have just

00:05:59.230 --> 00:06:03.980
so. He wrote, enrolled at French University to get a music education, degree.

00:06:04.100 --> 00:06:14.150 and he was

00:06:14.230 --> 00:06:16.480
and very well known.

00:06:16.490 --> 00:06:36.240 and he was also like 34 I mean he was.

00:06:36.330 --> 00:06:41.370 and he was wearing really tattered jeans and a white t-shirt, and he looked

00:06:41.550 --> 00:06:59.210 He didn't you know how he fit he had long hair, and I I was, I thought, should I call security like I don't know this a homeless guy. I don't know what he's doing.

00:06:59.210 --> 00:07:02.890 and she says, you know that is, and I said, no, she said, that's Rich Mullins, and I said

00:07:03.040 --> 00:07:05.870 the awesome god Guy, and he she that that that's

00:07:06.200 --> 00:07:12.960 she doesn't look like the album cover. You know they kind of had short hair and all cleaned up on the album. But so

00:07:13.090 --> 00:07:20.990 he came to chapel that day. I was speaking in chapel, and afterwards he introduced himself and found out my wife, and they were living not far off campus, and

00:07:21.090 --> 00:07:31.780 he just showed up at 10 0'clock that night just knocked on our door 10 0'clock.

00:07:31.870 --> 00:07:36.200 We talked for about 2 h and started to develop a friendship, and

00:07:36.270 --> 00:07:44.590 and then kind of like the cat that you feed that, you know they just you just kept coming back every night. He would just knock on our door and hang out.

00:07:44.740 --> 00:07:56.820 and he did that for quite a while, and then we moved into a different house that had an attic apartment. and he was gonna change his living situation, he said. Hey, can I just could. I live with you guys? And

00:07:57.190 --> 00:08:02.800 I said, Well. I don't know why you want to live with us, my my wife and I. We've got a one year, old son.

00:08:03.090 --> 00:08:16.020 We we're not living in a great neighborhood, I I You could live anywhere you want, in which I mean he's like. No, I want to live with a room normal family. And so

00:08:16.460 --> 00:08:24.160 we just became really close friends, you know, just a lot of long conversations. heart to heart sharing

00:08:24.290 --> 00:08:34.110 authenticity, being real with each other, and he just became like a sole friend like I, I, a person that I, and along the way I started to appreciate his music. I was.

00:08:34.340 --> 00:08:41.520 I was especially like the the album liturgy legacy, and and a ragged muffin man. I mean that album, I which I think is his best. Now

00:08:41.659 --> 00:08:47.530 I mean I I didn't know about it, and I was just going this guy's genius like this music lyrics

00:08:47.710 --> 00:08:52.420 are so profound. So it was a weird. It was a weird thing for me, Andy, because I

00:08:52.460 --> 00:09:01.280 I was becoming friends with someone who was already a celebrity. I didn't really get it

00:09:01.520 --> 00:09:09.720 kind of life so interesting.

00:09:09.720 --> 00:09:22.740 But even your own history I mean you interacted with some well-known people through friends University may just say a little bit about yourself up to that point like, but when you met him i'm I I I know I know a little bit why you's tell us a little bit about yourself.

00:09:23.420 --> 00:09:40.860 Yeah. I mean, I sort of joke that i'm like the forest gump of of a Christianity like I I was just really privileged to, you know, in that movie.

00:09:40.890 --> 00:09:53.990 And so he was, my professor, and we've been developed a strong friendship and mentorship. And then we work together, and through Richard I met Dallas Willard, and he became, and I started. I I was. Dallas is ta for 7 years, and

00:09:54.020 --> 00:10:01.920
and then he and I did a lot of ministry projects together, and so and I met Brendan Manning fairly early in in the journey.

00:10:01.950 --> 00:10:05.840 and he became a good friend. He, in fact, he and Rich and I together.

00:10:05.900 --> 00:10:21.540 Rich also developed a friendship with Brennan. And so you know, yeah, I mean, i'm just.

00:10:21.820 --> 00:10:31.430 And and you are part of the Renaissance project as well with

00:10:31.820 --> 00:10:39.600 done not far from the office where I'm. Sitting right now. And so we started that ministry together. and along with some other people, Dallas, one of them and

00:10:39.730 --> 00:10:57.950 yeah been been involved in that ever since. So since you were a ta for Dallas Willard, where you Were you a philosophy student? Was that your discipline? No, it was actually he. He got invited to teach a doctor a ministry course at Fuller, called spirituality and ministry.

00:11:06.510 --> 00:11:07.740 and

00:11:07.800 --> 00:11:23.680 they chose to have a class on Spirituality and and ministry, and how that works, and they invited Dallas to teach it. And he did the first year, and it worked out how this class was so fantastic, and the next year it doubled in size and Dallas that I I I need some help. And so

00:11:24.010 --> 00:11:29.420 they contacted me because Dallas to me and I I knew Fuller and both. And so I did. That

00:11:29.440 --> 00:11:32.090 was really really transforming just

00:11:32.470 --> 00:11:39.700 just to be, because really I was I to call myself a ta? I really was just sitting there trying to stand it myself.

00:11:39.720 --> 00:11:57.720
Andy Miller III: I'm sure

00:11:57.790 --> 00:12:09.580
Andy Miller III: it. You had a story in your book about. You know the way Rich looked at possessions, that there was a time where he was on tour and about a shower. Does this sound familiar? I can tell that story.

00:12:09.860 --> 00:12:16.050
Andy Miller III: Oh, wait! Which one about the the shower? Oh, he just kind of I'll see if I can say I have he

00:12:16.050 --> 00:12:41.240
Andy Miller III: he! He he looked at possessions. And you highlight this like he wasn't interested in money. A parent like that just wasn't a part of his life. And so he looked at life like, if somebody let him do something, you just participate in it.

00:12:41.240 --> 00:12:45.420
Yeah, yeah, I mean he. He really did have this

00:12:45.580 --> 00:12:50.420 incredible, and maybe it was part of his Quaker heritage growing up. But he had this

00:12:50.790 --> 00:12:58.190 real simplicity about him. He didn't possessions did not possess him, and

00:12:58.710 --> 00:13:11.910 he didn't want to know how much money he made. He he! He got an accountant, and he said, I want all of the royalty money to go to you. and you'll be the steward of it, and you just give me an allowance, and I want to be paid.

00:13:12.270 --> 00:13:20.460 Whatever the average working man's wage is in the country right now. It's like it's like $20,000 a time. and and just give me an allowance.

00:13:20.620 --> 00:13:31.040 And it was just funny, because I I mean I I knew how much he was actually making, and so to think that he was. He was living that way, and I I mean, there were times when he was.

00:13:31.440 --> 00:13:45.840 You say she lets go see a movie, and I go. Yeah, that's great, and he's like, I don't know if I have enough money, I want to go. You haven't enough money, you but you don't think you do, because you're living on your little allowance. That's great. But yeah, he just I mean when he died we took all of his possessions

00:13:46.070 --> 00:13:49.310 and everything he owned fit in an 8 by 10 room.

00:13:49.370 --> 00:13:52.590 I mean everything he owned. He just

00:13:53.020 --> 00:14:04.040 he just didn't he it? Material possessions did not mean much to him. And your relationships did. People did experiences with people. That's what really.

00:14:04.380 --> 00:14:16.510 And then art and music, and that's what drove him. And you said the same thing, too. I mean he'll kind of jump in a little bit later in the book. Just how he looked at success in general like that's how he viewed

00:14:16.540 --> 00:14:28.540 like success was not an issue of that. That sounds very spiritual to say that. But this is a real practical thing for me. It's like it came to him, but it wasn't something that he saw. Is that right?

00:14:28.590 --> 00:14:35.660 Yeah, he did it didn't. It didn't have the same poll. He he wanted his his arts, his music to be

00:14:37.200 --> 00:14:39.190 respected. I I mean I?

00:14:39.640 --> 00:14:46.970 It's not like he had like no care at all like if he he did an album. He really wanted to do a record label to promote it. He wanted.

00:14:47.490 --> 00:14:58.100 He wanted fairness for the work he did, but in terms of so fame and celebrity status and the money that came with it that that just did not

00:14:58.280 --> 00:15:00.010 had No, no gripped on him.

00:15:00.760 --> 00:15:19.050
Andy Miller III: Yeah. So you you organize this book an interesting way that you pick out 10 themes, and then you walk through each of those that we won't. I won't be able to go through all them. That's why people need to go and buy this book right? But nevertheless one of the key things is understanding the like his own roots. But then there's the

00:15:19.060 --> 00:15:35.080
Andy Miller III: there's this emphasis on the person of Jesus, and I remember, and it's funny I I I not funny. It's interesting to me that I was aware of this song, and you have to see kind of like my imagination of going back and remembering, listening to this

00:15:35.080 --> 00:15:43.180
Andy Miller III: is this song, boy like me, man like you, and emphasizing this this this, and if it's like he

00:15:43.250 --> 00:15:53.160
Andy Miller III: I was probably I don't know, 8 years old, and i'm sitting in the back of a minivan, and there's a a tape player playing this song. But this song captured me because he's thinking

00:15:53.330 --> 00:16:12.880
Andy Miller III: like the of the significance of the incarnation that Jesus is. It was a boy, and all the type of things he might have like if he liked the cute girl if she walked by. I mean this. This was this was a key theme, like he had a a rich Christology. Could you talk about that a little bit?

00:16:12.910 --> 00:16:17.400
He, Jesus, was really central in his understanding. He

00:16:17.710 --> 00:16:35.190 he, he knew what it meant to say that that that Jesus experienced everything that we experience.

00:16:35.370 --> 00:16:37.300 that sadly didn't get

00:16:37.370 --> 00:16:45.880 to be produced. He just, he called it the Jesus Record.

00:16:46.130 --> 00:16:54.270 The last year of his life, and I mean he'd been writing some of those songs for a while, but they were all coming together under the one theme of Jesus. And so

00:16:54.390 --> 00:16:58.770 he actually was in Chicago. doing some recording.

00:16:59.080 --> 00:17:11.329 and from for some other people. And he he had. thank goodness he had one particular night, and he thought I think I should just get these songs out. And so he got

00:17:11.349 --> 00:17:18.670 literally an old boom box sort of thing, sat it on a piano and played the songs of what we know as the Jesus Album.

00:17:18.940 --> 00:17:22.470 and they're all songs that are centered on Jesus. Yeah. And

00:17:22.579 --> 00:17:36.290 thank goodness that he did that because they were able then to sort of do some things with that tape as well as then a bunch of contemporary Christian recording artists, Michael Debbie Smith. Amy, Grandmothers stepped in and actually recorded the songs.

00:17:36.480 --> 00:17:41.240 But that tells you. You know he he had this strong focus on Jesus and boy like you. Mailing is

00:17:41.400 --> 00:17:47.570 well like me, man like you get him backwards. Is really it's really beautiful. Isn't it because he

00:17:48.030 --> 00:17:57.890 you experience these things that I experience. And and yet I also I want to be a man like you like I want to grow up into the person

00:17:58.730 --> 00:18:02.860 who you were, and it's just poetic and lovely. It's one of my favorites.

00:18:02.940 --> 00:18:21.350
Andy Miller III: This is it. How much of there's this what I didn't anticipate now, and I had no idea about the connection that that he actually went and studied at French University, and then and read the book. I had no idea that he had a Quaker background, and it's fascinating to me how much of that type of emphasis, and even

00:18:21.760 --> 00:18:29.380
Andy Miller III: of of his of his theology, and how that's developed in a literary way throughout his writing comes from that tradition.

00:18:30.280 --> 00:18:37.980 It it had a big influence on him. He and some of his earliest memories were in his. The church that he, his mom and his grandma.

00:18:38.170 --> 00:18:44.950
participated in a quicker church in in and Richmond, Indiana, and he just had such admiration for the Quakers and

00:18:45.140 --> 00:18:52.490 the things that drive what is important to them? Simplicity. that kind of authenticity, listening to the spirit.

00:18:52.540 --> 00:19:04.780 And so it it. It deeply formed the the early part of his life, and then his father had a kind of his. Mom had sort of said: You need to go to church with us, John. I mean you need to.

00:19:05.280 --> 00:19:08.510 It's important. And Dad was, you know.

00:19:08.770 --> 00:19:12.730 was a farmer and coal mining family, and this wasn't.

00:19:13.020 --> 00:19:26.410 he said I I that can do the quicker thing you said you you got to meet me halfway. So they ended up going to the Christian church, and and his mom said, Look, if that's what's going to take to get Dad there. Then let's go. And so that's

00:19:26.420 --> 00:19:38.120 many of the the sort of teenage formative years were within the Christian church, and he really picked up a lot of that centrality of the Scripture, the importance of letting the Scripture guide everything

00:19:38.160 --> 00:19:41.730 became central, so he was really in informed by that.

00:19:41.810 --> 00:19:49.900 He also had this powerful experience with Saint Francis

00:19:50.280 --> 00:19:57.370 really touched him, and he started studying St. Francis, and so he found some interest in studying the Catholic Church.

00:19:57.470 --> 00:20:04.840 and and actually, when he was living with us, was when he went through our Ica, or the you know, like catechism, he went through that

00:20:04.880 --> 00:20:07.150 through that period, and

00:20:07.390 --> 00:20:23.650 it was interesting because he would come home every Wednesday night from that, and we would talk for like 2 h, and he would say, here's what I agree with. Here's what I don't agree with. Here's we. So we had these great conversations, and at the end of it he said I just don't think I wanted to come Catholic. I admire a lot about it, but I don't it's not who I am, and

00:20:23.920 --> 00:20:41.720 and I think part of it was his roots within the Christian Church, and the Quaker Church that made him say, I don't know that I can say this is the one true way, and but he was very ecumenical, to be sure. Yeah. Oh, I I love that. I love to the like you. You bring out several quotes. I'm curious where they came from like several places you have

00:20:41.720 --> 00:20:56.280
Andy Miller III: long quotes from him, and one of the things he talks about is like I. I I wish the Quakers would just be more Quaker. I wish the Baptist would be more Imagine he'd say they they my!

00:20:56.280 --> 00:21:04.260
Andy Miller III: He seemed almost like so prophetic to me, because even as a teenager, you a boy like I, this sense like this isn't like

00:21:04.290 --> 00:21:20.690
Andy Miller III: your regular Ccm artist like I I had that definite sense. I I it's hard to even describe what it was. Maybe it was kind of like a a folks, even just the sound of his music. But then like it's almost like he was so ahead of his time with embracing some of these things like

00:21:20.690 --> 00:21:36.790
Andy Miller III: the when he said those, the things about nonviolence following Jesus, going to even even like the ecumenic E. E. E. E. Cuminism that he had was. It was something that might have been embraced, and more later. It's just Did you have that sense that he was ahead of his time?

00:21:37.090 --> 00:21:43.740 Oh, those are great words, Andy, because it it was prophetic. It was he. He knew the Bible so well. He was.

00:21:44.020 --> 00:22:01.840 he knew, I mean I I could say he was like a Bible scholar in the in the his depth of Biblical knowledge was astounding. He was. He was widely read theologically, so. I would consider him a great theologian because he he could. We could go all over the place into Chesterton, to

00:22:01.920 --> 00:22:05.190 church history he understood well. And

00:22:05.440 --> 00:22:12.380 so, yeah, I mean he was. He was all of those things, and yet it came out in a prophetic way, and you put that really well, because

00:22:13.860 --> 00:22:17.930 after he had passed and the family had asked if I would write the book.

00:22:17.960 --> 00:22:26.390 I spent a lot of time interviewing Ccm. Artists, and they all said what you just said was.

00:22:26.550 --> 00:22:29.570 we're sitting here trying to like, write a hit song that

00:22:30.150 --> 00:22:38.050 W. In church, and you know we we'd like to to be successful and rich was just. He was preaching another thing, saying this isn't about any of that.

00:22:38.170 --> 00:22:45.610 and I think that's why many of them came to his funeral in Nashville, and because they knew this guy was different.

00:22:45.860 --> 00:22:50.280 and he he, he was speaking to something that even they were challenged by.

00:22:50.710 --> 00:23:00.810
Andy Miller III: Yeah, the the I think it's a literary critic, and, like a Christian literary critic, would have a field day, just analyzing his music, and and I mean that in all

00:23:00.830 --> 00:23:12.420
Andy Miller III: within a positive way, like there's just so much richness, and you bring up the the song, the Creed that he has, which is the Apostles Creed. And you you point out that

00:23:12.430 --> 00:23:21.250
Andy Miller III: he really was struck by Gk. Cheshire's line in orthodoxy. They'd like that led him to an orthodox. I'm. A.

00:23:21.250 --> 00:23:37.340
Andy Miller III: For our audience in case you don't know, like orthodoxy, is one of the better known books by Gk. Chester. 10, and you have a line right? And all of a sudden I couldn't believe it was like a light bulb moment for me, Jim. Thank you so much for calling me in that this is where he drew this from, but God and humanity made it.

00:23:37.340 --> 00:23:55.990
Andy Miller III: and it made me talking about orthodoxy. And then like, oh, there it is! I did not make it. No, it is making me. This was a key emphasis, too, and this is connected. I'm going to actually bring that idea together with the way he signed autographs.

00:23:55.990 --> 00:24:06.130 Yeah, it does. That's really good. That's a good connection. Yeah, he he, Red Chesterton, you love Chesterton and that particular line because I asked him about it. You know we would talk a lot about

00:24:06.150 --> 00:24:10.950 his songs, and he he liked to talk about lyrics because he was he really loved.

00:24:11.080 --> 00:24:15.730
and he was, I mean, really unsurpassed. I mean, if you think about it.

00:24:15.880 --> 00:24:23.230 people are still listening to his music today

00:24:23.290 --> 00:24:24.750 in Ccm.

00:24:24.870 --> 00:24:37.940 Are still we still we're still listening to those songs.

00:24:38.740 --> 00:24:52.650 Why do we still listen to his music? And it's because the lyrics were so, for the music's beautiful, but the lyrics.

00:24:52.780 --> 00:24:54.640 and he said, Well, to be honest.

00:24:54.660 --> 00:24:59.780 we were one song short for the album, and he said I was on an airplane.

00:24:59.970 --> 00:25:06.120 and I was reading through something, and I came across the Apostles Creed. and I like dawned on him. He went.

00:25:06.630 --> 00:25:12.720 You know what I didn't make this like the Apostles Creed. I didn't make this up. God made it, and through the church

00:25:12.830 --> 00:25:23.920 he says, oh, that's like the the Chester and God and humanity made it Humanity being like the the Put this this from these councils.

00:25:24.050 --> 00:25:32.460 and he said, but there, and it's, but it's like making me, and that's when it clicked. And so he started right. I was on an airplane. He started writing

00:25:32.550 --> 00:25:34.000 what became Creed?

00:25:35.080 --> 00:25:43.450 Because, yeah, the it he just saw. This is what shaping my life, and then what you alluded to. So his autograph was always be Gods

00:25:43.720 --> 00:25:50.210 geod apostrophe as like, belong to God. That's

00:25:50.340 --> 00:25:53.200 his god is the one who's made this all happen.

00:25:53.320 --> 00:25:54.860
Andy Miller III: Yeah, it's beautiful.

00:25:54.880 --> 00:26:12.950
Andy Miller III: Well, well, there's always a song that stands out to me. It's I I lived 3 places in Indiana. I was born in Rushville, Indiana, not far from Richmond, and I live in Bloomington, and then in Indianapolis. My parents were savage army of our savage army officers, and

00:26:12.950 --> 00:26:28.260
Andy Miller III: for a period we traveled all around all the Salvation armies in Indiana, and I was. I went to the Richmond Salvation army, and one of my favorite songs. I mean to this day. My kids love it.

00:26:28.260 --> 00:26:40.400 My, my, my my kids are 151311. Yeah, Hold me, Jesus. Yeah, you You do where it's going. Hey, boy, If ever, if ever, this time now I want, i'm just curious if you can help me figure out what I mean.

00:26:40.430 --> 00:26:58.730
Andy Miller III: I can't help but think. And I had a friend who went and visited a musician, Phil Legger. He does the music for my that you'll hear on this podcast. He went and visited, and he had this idea, and I had something, so I heard a salvage from a brass band I played in this obviously brass band. In

00:26:58.730 --> 00:27:04.620
Andy Miller III: he he says, in that song which is so intense and personal

00:27:04.680 --> 00:27:22.530
Andy Miller III: out of nowhere, and a Salvation Army band is playing this him.

00:27:22.530 --> 00:27:25.020
Andy Miller III: It makes my resistance seem so thin.

00:27:25.210 --> 00:27:42.260
Andy Miller III: What do you think I? What what do you think that he's referring to there like I I've always wondered. What does he think this him is this: how we start me singing? Yeah, what? What? What? Him? Yeah, I know I could. I couldn't yes, I mean. But I do. I know this. He loved the hymns

00:27:45.550 --> 00:27:47.030
by having

00:27:47.230 --> 00:27:52.760 the audience, he in the audience singing him together, and that was that was his sort of a

00:27:53.020 --> 00:27:54.530 he he felt like.

00:27:54.640 --> 00:28:03.000 Yeah, this is a concert, and you came to hear my music, and I get that. but the center of of why we're here is Jesus, and

00:28:03.060 --> 00:28:12.600 I know we're not a church, but let's let's sing these songs because they were so important to him.

00:28:13.100 --> 00:28:29.800
Andy Miller III: I should have an answer, because I I don't know. I don't think he's referring to a specific. Him. I think it's something. No, you know Honestly, this was a hard section for me. Read, and I I I've seen some Youtube videos. I know he's a very vulnerable person, right? Yeah, and he was prophetic.

00:28:29.840 --> 00:28:34.960
Andy Miller III: but but the pages before this section I had a hard time reading because

00:28:36.150 --> 00:28:39.060
Andy Miller III: he's so vulnerable about his own temptation.

00:28:39.150 --> 00:28:48.150
Andy Miller III: Yeah. And you said that he wrote this song when he is an Amsterdam, and just going to be quite frank, when he was sexually tempted, like he was tempted by the

00:28:48.300 --> 00:28:58.750
Andy Miller III: the world that was around him. And I know some people have just taken this, and made all sorts of implications about his life or whatever. But he's in. He. He even talked about

00:28:58.860 --> 00:29:01.070
Andy Miller III: his own addictions and things, and

00:29:01.170 --> 00:29:20.640 but nevertheless, it was in the midst of that time that he wrote this song: Hold me. Jesus. and you know Rich was smart enough to know that he would be better off if he had the traveling companion as accountability and that sort of thing, but they

00:29:20.670 --> 00:29:25.280 that that person he was with. On that he had fallen asleep and rich didn't want to wake him up. And

00:29:25.300 --> 00:29:27.740
you're right. I mean you're in Amsterdam, so it's not just

00:29:28.090 --> 00:29:30.500 lust or something. It's also there's

00:29:30.820 --> 00:29:39.240 whatever you want to

00:29:39.380 --> 00:29:45.680 good to go, do all these things that are taboo and forbidden and sin. But I feel this temptation.

00:29:45.760 --> 00:29:57.570 and I don't want to do it. Can you help me, Jesus? Can you just help me? And I think the reason that song is so meaningful to so many people, and has been for years, is because of the authenticity it makes it so raw.

00:29:57.690 --> 00:30:03.240
and I think everybody who listens it can go. Yeah, I've had those moments when i'm like, just Jesus.

00:30:03.750 --> 00:30:06.140 Come on, help me here. This is

00:30:06.160 --> 00:30:14.050 i'm feeling the struggle, and that that's one of the beauties of when he goes to the E when he goes to that place. That's really true.

00:30:14.260 --> 00:30:34.140
Andy Miller III: if it's true for him. It's going to be true for somebody else. Yeah, yeah, for sure that that that song has always been like one of these ones that keeps coming back. There's a album that came out after he died, I think, just called songs, and it's just a highlighted song.

00:30:34.140 --> 00:30:41.740
Andy Miller III: This this is like not a great transition, but he is thinking about his possessions again. You told tell about the way he even

00:30:42.340 --> 00:30:59.710
Andy Miller III: worked on your coffee cups at your house. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so it was. He had this class. It was an 8 0'clock band class which everything about that's kind of funny. But here he play. What did he play. He played the French horn, and yeah.

00:30:59.710 --> 00:31:12.690 and and the cello. He was learning the cello.

00:31:12.800 --> 00:31:16.550 So so yeah, he had 8 0'clock band class and our band. Teacher

00:31:16.830 --> 00:31:27.920 John Taylor is his name. He's retired since then, but he was known for being pretty tough he was.

00:31:28.030 --> 00:31:32.590 and so rich was like scared of this guy, and I was saying.

00:31:32.800 --> 00:31:37.100 you're scared of a you know Midwest

00:31:37.170 --> 00:31:40.230 Christian College Bible School kind of like

00:31:56.610 --> 00:32:15.110
Andy Miller III: world traveling musician with hits, and

00:32:15.400 --> 00:32:23.610 he wasn't like. So so that was my pledge is that I would, because I was a morning person I would get up, and I would wake him up and

00:32:23.780 --> 00:32:30.300 give him, bring him a cup of coffee and get him going, and quite often he would pour himself another cup of coffee. Well.

00:32:30.770 --> 00:32:36.730 one day I looked in the cover, and I was like, I said, Where are mugs like? Where are our coffee monks?

00:32:36.740 --> 00:32:44.200 She was. I have no idea, I said. We used to have like 15. There's none. And so Rich got home. And I said, hey, man, we

00:32:44.280 --> 00:32:51.550 we can't find our mugs, and he goes. Oh, yeah, I take him with me in the morning, and we went out to his jeep, and in the backseat of the jeep were

00:32:51.800 --> 00:33:01.170 like 15 months. Did you ever think about bringing him back. He just he just didn't he didn't.

00:33:01.300 --> 00:33:20.500
Andy Miller III: He laughed. We left it. But yeah, it's such an interesting thought, like I had no idea that he attended. I came back to the student so he could be a music teacher on the reservation. The thought of him being in band, and I was a music major at a Christian.

00:33:20.500 --> 00:33:26.350
Andy Miller III: and then I also you to. He came in and took your class as well.

00:33:39.110 --> 00:33:50.400 But yeah, he he signed up for it. And I said, Why are you doing that? Because I I want to take this, you know, to it was a genet class in. I don't know a Christian spirituality, I think, or something. But

00:33:50.630 --> 00:33:54.070 yeah, that was intimidating when he came in. I thought, I don't know if I want to

00:33:54.460 --> 00:33:58.000
teach you, you know. But but he was great about it. He

00:33:58.170 --> 00:34:07.800 would, you know. Hey, you would just get let me ramble on, and then I would occasionally say, hey, Rich. you have anything to add, and

00:34:08.139 --> 00:34:17.100 wow! Couple of times I gave him even gave him the chalk.

00:34:17.360 --> 00:34:29.699
Andy Miller III: which was fun. So

00:34:29.800 --> 00:34:39.690
Andy Miller III: I tell us just a little bit about the not his, his work and the reservation. I I know we only have a few more minutes, but i'd love to hear

00:34:39.730 --> 00:34:42.489
he had. He had been speaking with

00:34:42.690 --> 00:34:52.510 some folks that he'd worked with on the reservation when he would go just make little trips in, and they had secured a place for him to go to nominal reservation, and

00:34:52.590 --> 00:34:56.630 he he went there, and a guy he kind of been mentoring.

00:34:56.880 --> 00:35:04.040 who also graduated from friends that went with him, and they were doing collaborating on music projects, and they went out and

00:35:04.630 --> 00:35:18.310 just lived there, and he started to teach, and they built a little hog on for them to live in. They had built it, too, which is kind of impressive. and he just lived amongst the people there, and did that for a couple of years.

00:35:18.730 --> 00:35:26.140 and

00:35:26.280 --> 00:35:43.240 while he was still living there is when when he had, and he was thinking about, maybe not continuing it. There was some debate about, you know. Is this: Was this a person a phase of my life? But it's coming to an end, but he but that's then he had the car accident, and so we'll never know

00:35:43.490 --> 00:35:51.970 what would another what would have happened? Yeah, Like the Jesus Album I mentioned. He's been working on that.

00:35:51.990 --> 00:35:58.140 He also wrote a musical which is really fascinating. It it it's called Canical of the planes.

00:35:58.430 --> 00:36:02.820 and I remember I can vividly remember the night I had come home he was on the front court swing.

00:36:02.900 --> 00:36:06.200 and he was working on something in writing.

00:36:06.480 --> 00:36:10.590 and I said, what are you working on? He says, Well, I I've written a musical. It's like what

00:36:10.660 --> 00:36:14.210 that's a it. It gets a little crazier, andy. So I said.

00:36:14.270 --> 00:36:20.840 What's it about? And he said, Well, it's the life of Saint Francis, but it's set in the American Civil War.

00:36:24.990 --> 00:36:35.450 Okay. So I mean the story of St. Francis is he had come from a war, and when he was recovering, when God said, You know I want you to rebuild my church, and

00:36:36.090 --> 00:36:48.480 so he thought. Well, what if it was like he's coming from the Civil War, and God tells him to rebuild his church, and so he just imagined that. But he wrote you, I think there's a 10 songs, I think, to count on the planes.

00:36:48.540 --> 00:36:54.520 and he wrote the script. and it was performed at Wheaton.

00:36:54.570 --> 00:37:02.810 and it was gonna be performed at friends when he had the car accident.

00:37:02.860 --> 00:37:13.050 but it never kind of went anywhere. There is a CD. It's very hard to get, but there's a CD. And some of the DC. Talk guys sing on that, and

00:37:13.400 --> 00:37:17.560 the woman from 6 pence, and then the Richard also sings on it on the

00:37:17.560 --> 00:37:34.510
Andy Miller III: I can't remember her name.

00:37:34.510 --> 00:37:48.810
Andy Miller III: Yeah, he was

00:37:49.160 --> 00:37:56.310
Andy Miller III: what's different now, and or like what type of reflections you have at this point now, thinking about his life.

00:37:57.320 --> 00:38:02.760 Well, you know we just we just had in the fall, at a 25 anniversary celebration.

00:38:02.970 --> 00:38:09.000 We chose to have the one we had on our campus. We we chose to to have it on on his birthday.

00:38:09.050 --> 00:38:22.350 October 20 first, not September nineteenth, that's the day died but October twenty- we had a with the celebration and it was pretty amazing. Like 4 500 people came from all over the country, and we had a night where they just.

00:38:22.590 --> 00:38:33.040 They performed a bunch of his songs. That was it. Guys who played in various bands that he'd started, came together and rehearsed and played him, and it was a celebration of his life. It was really wonderful.

00:38:33.350 --> 00:38:38.990 and it was partly also, we were, you know, promoting, saying, hey, the 20 fifth anniversary of the book is coming out.

00:38:39.270 --> 00:38:44.910
So it just really made me think a lot. And but the main thing I I alluded to it earlier is.

00:38:45.370 --> 00:38:49.960 how in the world is this guy still is relevant, and

00:38:50.100 --> 00:38:53.040 this far his. His brother David, came up to me

00:38:53.170 --> 00:38:58.590 and said, You know, Jim, I I a. As members of the family. After he died, we thought.

00:38:58.760 --> 00:39:03.350 Well, I hope people remember him in a couple of years, like even in 5 years. That would be.

00:39:03.500 --> 00:39:10.250 that would be great.

00:39:10.550 --> 00:39:12.380 People would still be so

00:39:12.640 --> 00:39:21.000 blessed by music that and and it's it's still it. It stands up which is kind of strange, too. It hasn't aged it really.

00:39:21.080 --> 00:39:25.160 I mean i'll. I'll hear a song. I'll play a song and think that song is as good

00:39:26.330 --> 00:39:29.840 it does it. Doesn't age. I don't know so the lyrics all that is

00:39:29.860 --> 00:39:34.430 is stunning, and I'm. I'm. Just grateful that the family asked me to write the book. It was the hardest book

00:39:34.570 --> 00:39:39.060 I've written, because every day i'm writing about this friend, dear friend, died

00:39:39.070 --> 00:39:47.890 the interviews I was conducting and just writing. It was a. It was a pretty weepy book to write, but also pretty joyful because I got to learn things about him. I didn't know

00:39:48.030 --> 00:39:53.260
Andy Miller III: where was the sources of the sources for all these quotes from him.

00:39:53.280 --> 00:39:55.450 Well, i'll tell you I got him

00:39:55.960 --> 00:40:03.720 Well, I was. I was forever blessed by. There was a a woman who was a big fan of riches, and she

00:40:04.090 --> 00:40:06.560 was able to collect.

00:40:07.060 --> 00:40:10.140 I think, just about every radio interview he'd ever done.

00:40:10.390 --> 00:40:24.490 and she had a collection of his print things because he wrote for CC. A magazine, he wrote.

00:40:24.580 --> 00:40:35.330 and so I could. It was the greatest gift as a writer, because I could just type in the church, or

00:40:35.530 --> 00:40:46.570 there it it would come up, and that there's this quote about his family, or there's this quote about Jesus or his quote about the church, and I was like i'm that that was a a huge blessing. Wow!

00:40:47.140 --> 00:40:49.540 That is so interesting.

00:40:49.680 --> 00:41:00.290
Andy Miller III: Well, the again let me just let people know. Well, I didn't talk about the name of the book, and it's a unique one. Maybe maybe it quickly tied, but it's book is by Ivp. 20 fifth anniversary edition, Rich Molens.

00:41:00.290 --> 00:41:17.890
Andy Miller III: an arrow pointing to Heaven and airl pointed by by James Brian Smith, Jim Smith, and teaches at French University. Just come out here. Tell us that story, and maybe that' be one of the last things we can do here. Yeah, but that becomes really. I mean, someone said to me not too long ago with a book coming out.

00:41:17.970 --> 00:41:21.220 You know what's the one thing that you say

00:41:22.010 --> 00:41:24.690 this guy was really all about, and

00:41:24.820 --> 00:41:33.080 he was very human, and you had alluded to it, and I mean he was he. He was authentic about his brokenness and sinfulness, his struggles.

00:41:33.160 --> 00:41:36.270 He was as human as you can get. I mean I saw him.

00:41:36.310 --> 00:41:40.070 And there's a movie called Ragamuff, and it it doesn't portray him

00:41:40.620 --> 00:41:51.000 in very entirely, accurately, because you think if you watch the movie and I'm, I'm: i'm grateful for the movie. But if you watch the movie, you think well, he was just this angry guy who had a drinking problem or something

00:41:51.080 --> 00:42:01.130 that that was very small part of who he was. He was funny, he was fun. but he had a gift like nobody else. to take you to God

00:42:01.310 --> 00:42:09.360 to a his songs do I mean, I move to doxology. When I listen to his music, I I I want to praise God.

00:42:09.390 --> 00:42:18.210 and he had that gift, and so he was in Ireland and doing a photo shoot. He was up on a hill by these castle ruins, and

00:42:18.530 --> 00:42:29.100 the photography was down at the bottom of this hill, looking up, and he said, oh, man, like, raise your arms! And so rich kind of kind of went like this, and he goes on the lower lower, and he went like this.

00:42:29.110 --> 00:42:34.370 and the photographer yelled up. He said, Man, that's awesome. You look at an arrow like an arrow, pointing to heaven.

00:42:37.950 --> 00:42:42.630 I just thought, that's that's who he was. He was, an he was a person pointing us

00:42:43.000 --> 00:42:53.740 to God and not himself. Yeah, I love that I didn't know about the ragged muffin movie Forget I like I didn't know. So are there other things that

00:42:53.920 --> 00:43:12.600
Andy Miller III: he need to be corrected historically that aren't right that people say about him. It just I thought maybe that'd be a good chance to give that opportunity. Well, yeah, I mean, some people have written some books since in little little little things they put together from times they knew rich, and and that it's all fine. I'm. I'm grateful for anything that helps

00:43:12.600 --> 00:43:30.400 keep his life and legacy alive. The movie I just want to say, and I love the movie that David Shultz is a dear friend who'd produced the movie and directed it and so forth. I mean, it's just he had to do a story arc, you know, when you're making a movie you can't do your someone's whole life in 2 h. So he chose to really focus on riches pain.

00:43:30.480 --> 00:43:34.570 some of it coming from his relationship with his dad. So he he!

00:43:34.790 --> 00:43:39.520 He! He had that he was up against that struggle. And

00:43:39.670 --> 00:43:41.700 so the movie kind of

00:43:41.900 --> 00:43:57.020 I think it's excuse too much to make it look like he was this not happy Guy, but he was really happy. He was fun.

00:43:57.020 --> 00:44:09.670
Andy Miller III: Well, my last question is this: I ask most people the title. My podcast is more to the story. So I wonder, is there more of this story to Jim Smith than is normally told? I mean you beyond being the forrest gump of Christianity.

00:44:09.990 --> 00:44:15.970 Yeah, I just I mean the for scumping is pretty real. I I still will wonder

00:44:15.980 --> 00:44:31.400 W. What God had in mind in in create creating these incredible experiences and opportunities, and continues to I mean even today getting to learn about you and your life and your story. I feel. I'm. I'm blessed that I am getting to experience that. And

00:44:32.510 --> 00:44:35.930 God's amazing. The kingdom is just.

00:44:35.960 --> 00:44:53.230
Andy Miller III: Yeah, Amen. Well, thank you so much for coming on. It means a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time. The painful step of writing this book for us, and I really encourage people to get it. It's like a real devotional trip through Richmond's life and legacy. I know many of my listeners would really enjoy it. So thanks for coming on, Jim.

00:44:53.290 --> 00:44:55.220 Thank you. Blessings, thanks, Amy.

Copyright ©2024 Andrew S. Miller III