Ragamuffin is the dramatic true story of Rich Mullins, the famous Christian musician and songwriter. This telling of his story is deep, engaging, and really portrays the soul of a man who had a great need for Christ. It is a very intense film, but Rich lead a very intense life.
An Intense Life
Rich Mullins was no angel, and what made him unique is that he never pretended to be. He struggled with brokenness, vice, and inner turmoil his entire life. There were great high points, but there were also heart-wrenching low points as well. He spent his life growing to know God and love Him more fully. Ragamuffin is produced exceptionally well, and the acting is right on.
As the author of the ever-popular song “Awesome God,” “Step By Step,” and many other hits, Rich’s impact on Christianity is substantial. The challenges that he overcame were daunting as well. This film does not pull any punches, it is unabashed sincerity. And with that I must warn that there is occasional profanity throughout the film, tobacco use, and regular use of alcohol coupled with some intense dramatizations of drunkenness (although this is portrayed negatively).
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Rich was a proponent of the Ragamuffin Gospel; a position where Believers are completely dependent upon the mercy and love of God in every aspect of their lives. And that Man’s endless habitual sin requires a firm reliance on the mercy of God. This doctrine implies the complete depravity of man and views regeneration as something that is more a part of the Resurrection and is not really attainable in this life. It advocates for transparency and not hiding sin, and uses the lowliness of man’s desperate condition as a rallying cry to abstain from judging others.
Both this doctrine and the movie continue to make amazing and beautiful points. However both seem to lead people away from victory. People are accountable for their actions but the idea is projected that sin is bigger us, brokenness is bigger than us, and torment is bigger than us. God is the endless source of comfort and coping, but real victory and complete change is not realistic or is not widespread. Thus the best of us strive to live life torn between utter transparency with reliance on God in every moment, and falling. It’s really a desperate view of life. And I mean that in the full dictionary sense of the word, which is very negative if you look it up.
Where Does This Movie Fit?
Ragamuffin is a powerful Christian film. But due to the intense nature of the movie, the unseemly language and substance use, and the somewhat unconventional doctrine, this film should not be shown to young or spiritually immature audiences. If someone is confused about their faith, this movie could complicate things.
If you are looking for a film to stir up deep discussion or to act as a catalyst for intense spiritual questions, then Ragamuffin might be right for you. So it may have a place in more advanced Christian movie ministries. I am sure there are a lot of people, both inside and outside of the Church that this film may be a life-changing experience for. But I would recommend watching it before sharing it with someone.
Ragamuffin is one of the most real Christian movies out there that is based on a true story. For some viewers it may be too real, for others it may be what they have long hoped for.
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