A Conversation

A Conversation with Rich Mullins

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CCM Magazine June 1997

The concepts of biblical parables come to life in everyday conversations, The following dialogue is often recounted in concert by Rich Mullins, who befriended a man at a steak house while hiking along the Appalachian trail. As it was getting dark, the man, who we'll call John, offered Rich a ride back to his campsite. As the truck pulled out of town, Rich's new friend spoke up.

John: I probably ought to tell you that I'm gay.
Rich: I probably ought to tell you that I'm a Christian.

John: Well, do you want to get out of the truck?

Rich: No. It's still getting dark, and [my camp] is still miles up the road.

John: But I thought Christians hated gays.

Rich: That's really weird. My understanding of what Christ told us was that Christians were to love. I didn't know there were a lot of parameters set on that.

John: I thought God hated gays.

Rich: That's funny, because I thought God is love, and He has no choice but to love because that is what He is.

John: Do you believe AIDS is God's punishment on gays?

Rich: Well possibly, in the same sense that presidents are God's punishement on voters. I mean there are consequences. We make choices, and there are natural consequences for those choices.

John: Will I go to hell for being gay?

Rich: [I was ready to go, "Well, yes, of course, you'll go to hell for being gay." But that was one of those moments when the Good News really impressed me. What I heard myslef say was...] No, of course you won't go to hell for being gay anymore than I would go to hell for being dishonest. The only reason anybody ever went to hell was because they rejected the grace that God so longed to give them.

John: I grew up in church, and I've never heard anybody ever say that God loved me.

Rich: I think that of all the diseases in the world, the disease that all humankind suffers from, the disease that is most devastating to us is not AIDS, it's not gluttony, it's not cancer, it's not any of those things. It is the disease that comes aboust because we live in ignorance of the wealth of love that God has for us. What a great message we in the church have. It's relevant to people with AIDS and people without AIDS. It's relevant to homosexuals and to homophobes. It's relevant to Republicans and Democrats, to abortionists and anti-abortionists. It's relevant across the board.