I like to say this was a ministry born from a movie (Ragamuffin). But in truth this has been an ongoing passionate pursuit since I was a young kid growing up in Indianapolis.
I was born into the beautiful chaos that is this world in 1980. My parents were divorced. While they had wonderful aspects about them, they also were a combination of neglectful and abusive (in non physical ways) – but they did allow others to physically abuse me (cue: Mom’s drunk boyfriends).
March 31st 1990 I was woken up in the middle of the night to the news that my a family member (the closest thing to a father figure I had) had committed suicide. This event led to my own wrestlings with self-hatred and suicidal thoughts.
A shining light in my dark childhood was my grandmother. She was a fundamental baptist that didn’t play by their rules. She truly was the first Ragamuffin I ever met. She would often say, “David, Jesus is all that matters. Now go clean up your room you little shitass.”
She modeled a faith in me, that I think would make the saints and mystics that came before us proud. She sifted and protected me from the bullshit that often contaminates the Christian faith and preserved for me the simple truths of her own spiritual journey that meant the most to her.
But most of all My Grandma provided a sense of safety and home. This would lead to her church giving me the opportunity to go to “Church Camp.” Every year I would look forward to this 6 day overnight event. It was always fun. But I loved it mostly because there I was free. Free from the monsters and shadows that haunted my early years.
It was at one of those camps early on that I would be clobbered by God’s love and beginning to listen to the music of Rich Mullins. This ragamuffin’s music would often seem to be a soundtrack to my own faith journey. I would dream of going on the road and doing ministry with Rich Mullins. I even wrote him a letter to tell him so, only not getting to meet or give it to him, but passing it along to Mitch Mcvicker – who ironically would become one of my best friends years later.
By the time I went to college, I started resenting the very thing that I came to love: the church. The church was this place of paradox where I would come to experience both pleasure and pain, freedom and fear, love and hate, compassion and shame. I would experience the adulation that comes from communal worship and sacraments and shameful experiences that come from a small community knowing and judging you by your sin.
It was the year 1999 that I first read the book “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” by Brennan Manning, and that book would lead me on a journey to fall madly in love with God when I realized God was madly in love with me.
When James Bryan Smith’s (another friend I was destined to make) book “An Arrow Pointing to heaven” came out I learned about the behind the scenes of an artist who wrote those wonderful songs. I read the words he would say in between melodies, and more importantly I would learn of the life he would lead inbetween concerts. He was a modern day St. Francis of Assisi…and his own love and fascination for Francis was the inspiration for many things in his own life like the way he handled his money or the fact that he often didn’t wear shoes. But, to my estimation, Rich Mullins, and Brennan Manning for that matter weren’t in love with Francis as much as they were in love with the Christ who Francis introduced them to in the way that he lived.
That’s the thing about all my heroes: Rich Mulins, Brennan Manning, St. Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Mother Theresa, my Grandma and many more….they are mere doorwomen (and men) to the party of The Love of God.
Once you taste it. There’s no going back. Even in the middle of rebellion and the darknight of the soul…that taste of the wine of God’s love will nip at your heart, soul, and memories and do nothing short of haunt you with the remembrance of how much God loves you.
It’s almost fortuitous that I would go on to make movies about my heroes: Rich, Brennan, and Francis. These three movies are like the three chapters of the trilogy of my own faith. Rich taught me that I was loved. Brennan taught I was loved as I am. And Francis taught be what freedom comes from falling in love with God.
As I began to make movies, many people began to reach out to me. Stories and souls with broken hearts and relationships. Deep wounds by religious institutions and metaphorical stonings of shame by self-righteous saints.
While I never wanted to be a pastor, start a church, or found a ministry I wanted to keep following the Rabbi of my heart: Jesus who gives me the picture of the relationship between the Trinity that is God.
This page is an attempt to make a hub for all the art and projects that I want to contribute to the on-going evolving faith conversation.
So I continue to make movies and art to help others on their journey which you can find on: ragamuffintv.com .
Our latest NEW RELEASE movies can be found here: http://ragamuffinrentals.com
We have made over 200 videos and ministry materials including interviews, sermons, testimonies, devotions and more which you can find on our “Ragamuffin Church” youtube page: www.ragamuffin.church
We also do an annual retreat every fall which you can find out more and sign up here: www.thereagamuffinpreacher.com/retreat
We also try to connect virtually with others virtually through a facebook group and a weekly google hangout: http://theragamuffinpreacher.com/ragamuffin-church/
And of course this page which is dedicated to my sermons, writings, and podcast conversations with others while I’m on this soul seeking journey called my faith.
I always wanted to be a vagabond evangelist like Brennan Manning, or a thinker/communicator like Rich Mullins, or life a life dedicated to outcasts like St. Francis. Instead I became a storyteller, comedian, artist, actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose heart burns for the spiritually marginalized.
I couldn’t find my way out of expressing myself through creativity. It’s not that I think I’m that great at it, but it’s just how I can best communicate the passions and stirrings in my heart. So I seek to create and love people along the way.
You are loved beyond your wildest imagination by the ONE who invented imagination,
AKA – The Ragamuffin Preacher