Robin: So what's going on with you? You just released this new album, Chasing the Horizon...
Mitch: Right, I just released this new album. About half of it was written while I was recovering [from the accident], the other half was written as I was travelling, starting to do concerts again. It took a while for all the musical ducks to get in a row to get it out there. I'm glad it's finally out there. But basically, I'm just travelling and doing concerts right now. That's the backbone of what I'm about, it's what I love to do. I love to communicate with people, point them to Jesus, and expose them to God. And I know that it's a real blessing to get to do that. A ton of people would love to be in this position. And a good amount of people want to be in this position because there's a lot of notoriety and fame that can come from it. But that's not what I care about. Try driving for ten hours, loading in a concert and loading out, sleeping for a few and then doing it again. There's a lot of unglamorous and not-fun stuff that goes with it. But I feel like I'm never more myself than when I'm doing that. Travelling wears me out like nothing else, but it energizes me like nothing else.
You are kind of eternally associated now with Rich Mullins. Do you ever get tired of that, of maybe feeling like you're in his shadow?
Sure I get tired of it. But that doesn't mean that that shouldn't be the way it is. It's been three and a half years since the accident occurred. And it's a great honor to be mentioned in the same thought and breath as Rich. And I know that I wouldn't be here doing this apart from Rich. But I'm at the point now where there are some people that are interested in me for me, and have no idea about what happened with Rich. But I know a lot of people will always regard me because of him. And that's just the way it is. I'm not going to skirt the issue. I'm definitely not going to capitalize on it.
But it's interesting that you should say, "being in Rich's shadow," because I'm not. It's a perception. Everyone thinks of me that way, but I'm literally not. A shadow occurs when there's something between you and a light. And Rich was never between me and The Light. He was always pointing me towards it. And I'm still being pointed towards it by the legacy that he left behind.
It's a touchy issue, though. Because a lot of me wants to be known for my own merits because of my ego. But then a lot of me wants to be known for my own merits because I do feel like I have something all my own to share with people. Not because I come up with some great thing, but because I want to express where I'm at and what Jesus is doing in my life, and I want to try to do that in as real a way as I can. And that's something that everybody wants to hear. But it's a struggle between ego and the call, if I even know what "the call" is. Frederick Buechner said that it's "where your deepest passion and the world's greatest need meet."
So I'm not sure what the call is, but this is the closest thing I can come to it.
What's God been teaching you lately?
I know that I'm trying to live without expectations, which is really hard. I think, growing up an American, I base much of my life on expectations. And I know that has hindered my abilities within the present. So for me, trying to live without expectations, I'm trying to live without theology. And that scares people a lot of times... they want to string you up as a heretic. But I don't want to be married to any kind of thought that depends on expectations. And what is theology? It's expectations. You go into a situation, going, "I know this is what's going to happen, because this is the way I think, and that's the right way to think." I want to be open to what Jesus is doing in any particular situation. Because if I go into it with theology, be it good or bad, it might get in the way of what God is doing. And I inevitably will be led to the right theology, whatever that is, if I'm open to what Jesus is doing. Theologies are just these human concoctions. Jesus will lead me to the truth, the true theology. And I would much rather be in tune with Jesus than in tune with theology. So I'm trying to stay available to God, that I wouldn't clutter my life with that which gets between me and what God is doing, that I would be fully available to whatever that might be, and that's a scary thought, also.
Yeah. That is ha-ard.
(Laughs.) Yeah, capital H-A-R-D.
Mitch McVicker and Robin Parrish