Singing from Silence: Rich Mullins: Love Beyond Fear is written by Pamela Richards, a friend of Richard Mullins, the Christian recording artist who died in a tragic accident in 1997.
Unlike James Bryan Smith's devotional account of the life of Mullins, Richards' work is autobiographical, and she uses her experiences of Mullins as a prism through which to understand her own life. Mullins was an artist; so is she. Mullins had a prophetic word to say to his segment of the Christian community; Richards believes she does as well. Their friendship, forged and cemented via conversation and shared artistic expression, is one Richards came to value and appreciate not only for what Mullins gave to the world through his music, but what he provided for her personally.
Portions of this book read rough, not because of prosaic style, but because of content. Richards is honest about her own struggles with her family of origin, her church background, and her marriage and subsequent divorce. There is an anger and a hurt that rings throughout the work, though not without a glimmer of hope and healing. Richards' narrative arc includes a romance between herself and Mullins that is difficult to categorize, and the tensions that sustain that romance are a major theme of the book.
For fans of Rich Mullins, Richards reveals details of songwriting sessions and personal conversations, some of which provide back stories for the content of popular Mullins' recordings. These passages provide context for the creative process, and are enlightening for others who express themselves through music or other artistic media. A window in to the creative process is always helpful for other creative people, both in how it is instructive and inspirational. Richards tells of Mullins' deep love for God, the ways in which this expressed itself in his relationships to other people, and how the intersection between the two informed his music.
This book provides a perspective on Rich Mullins I had not encountered. For fans of his music and those interested in his life, Richards gives us much to consider, both in specifics relating to Mullins, but also more broadly with regard to art, the Christian life, truth, relationships, and hope.
NOTE: I received this book in exchange for a review. You can learn more about Pamela Richards by clcking here.