Dear Hyde Park Family,

Last Monday was the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of Rich Mullins, one of the greatest contemporary Christian music artists, and songwriter of the soundtrack of my youth. His song “Awesome God” debuted during my senior year in high school and carried me well into college. Its irrepressible melody and psalm-like declaration of praise was a signature song during a formative season of my faith.

More recently, I have been re-listening to many other favorites, including “Hold Me Jesus” and “If I Stand,”which I think is one of the greatest contemporary Christian songs ever written:

So if I stand let me stand on the promise

That you will pull me through

And if I can’t, let me fall on the grace

That first brought me to You

And if I sing let me sing for the joy

That has born in me these songs

And if I weep let it be as a man

Who is longing for his home

His music was unashamedly Christian, proclaiming the salvation of Jesus through the cross, and calling us to deepen our commitment to Christ beyond superficial platitudes. But he was also a bold critic of a certain kind of narrow-minded evangelicalism:

On the twentieth anniversary of Mullins’ death, noted author Shane Claiborne remembered him in this way on his Facebook page. 

He often joked about how surprising it was that so many evangelicals took him seriously. He said things that–even though they came straight from the Gospels– were at odds with what had come to characterize much of evangelicalism in the 1980s and 1990s. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken… This, I know, will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re wrong. They are not bad, they’re just wrong.”


In preparation for this Sunday, I have been listening again to his song “Sometimes By Step,” which debuted in 1993 and was an immediate hit on the heels of “Awesome God.” It was a declaration of trust in God, step by step:

O God, You are my God

And I will ever praise You

O God, You are my God

And I will ever praise You

And I will seek You in the morning

And I will learn to walk in Your ways

And step by step You’ll lead me

And I will follow You all of my days

It’s a fitting song for you to listen to before this Sunday. We will be continuing our worship series “The Art of Hearing God’s Voice” with the guidance of Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust in God, one step at a time. 

Thank you, Rich, for your life, your music, and your enduring witness to a radically loving, ever-trustworthy God. We miss you.





The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is excited to announce the hiring of two persons on our church program staff. Kim Apthorp continues her work among us as our new Children’s Ministry Coordinator, a new position created to provide strategic oversight of our ministry to children and their families. It concludes a nearly year-long search for a director. And we are glad to welcome Chris Temple as our new Director of Youth Ministries, who will bring years of excitement and energy to the youth and families of our community. Now would be a great time for families of children and youth to re-connect and invite others in the community to join us, and you can learn more on our website. We give thanks to God for filling all of our staff vacancies as we head into an exciting future together.