One of Friends University’s most famous and talented graduates is the focus of the film, "Ragamuffin," which will make its debut at Wichita’s Orpheum Theater on Jan. 9, 2014.
Rich Mullins, ’95, was one of Christian music’s brightest stars as a singer and songwriter. Some of his most legendary hits include "Awesome God" and "Sometimes by Step."
"'Ragamuffin' is a beautiful and moving film that captures one man’s struggle to overcome the trappings of success and to learn how to accept the unconditional love of God," said Dr. Jim Smith, associate professor of religion at Friends University and author of the biography, "Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven." "Whether or not you are a fan of Rich Mullins, you will be touched by this movie. It is honest, accurate and unafraid to show Rich’s scars, yet pointing us all to the deeper truth even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts."
Mullins came to Friends University in 1992 with a degree in music education. It was there that he met Dr. Smith during a Faith and Learning class.
"He became close friends with my wife and I, and eventually moved in with us, living in our attic apartment for two years until he graduated in 1995," said Smith.
One significant theme throughout "Ragamuffin" is Mullins' internal battle with his success.
"He never sought fame," Smith said. "When it grew, he had a hard time with it and ultimately fled from Nashville to Wichita to escape its lure."
By all accounts, Mullins cherished his time at Friends University and developed several close friendships, including Mitch McVicker, ’95, and a former Falcon basketball player. McVicker plays himself in "Ragamuffin."
Though Mullins was killed in a car accident in 1997, "Ragamuffin" is a celebration of his life and the music he loved.
"The movie is well done and pretty accurate historically," Smith said. "It was very moving for my wife and I to watch – lots of tears. Some Christian-based movies are a bit cheesy, but this movie is not. It’s raw and honest, and points people to God’s love. I think people will be moved by the film."