The point of this update is nothing more than just to ask for prayer and to give you a full picture of when we are at…and where we hope to be going. When I first got started making projects of any kind in this industry, I had well meaning people advise me to not tell everyone exactly where we are at…in terms of the full story of how we are just a group of people who are doing are best with what we got to make these movies a reality…I think the idea behind that advice was you want to give people (in the industry) that you’re maybe more “Put-together” or well manicured than you really are…I’m not sure why? I don’t think these are bad people, but there’s just something internally that I rail against with this type of business model. Who know’s maybe it’s bad business or un-professional even to just be transparent with how ….I don’t know…unprofessional we are…and by we…I mainly mean me…I guess…Now don’t take un-professional to mean that we …and I do mean we…the members of my team and I…aren’t doing everything we can to make the movies the best we can, in terms of quality. We are so grateful for everything God has done, and is even by His Grace, continuing to do through “Ragamuffin”…and by his grace we hope (especially me) hope the projects that come forth are better and better in terms of quality…but were not going to re-invent the wheel here. It’s beating the same drum, and that God is wild, and his love is ferocious, and he is after you. Thank God, he’s after us all.
As a large amount of my attention has transferred from the movie “Ragamuffin” to now the movie “Brennan”…I find that my heart has never really left Ragamuffin…Brennan is more just being built on top of what has already happened through the last movie…I don’t mean in terms of success or awareness of the movie…but in terms of people continuing to be impacted by the message of God’s unfair and undeserved grace…Recently I got to spend time with Dave Mullins and he said something so great…you know when someone says something you’ve been thinking but puts it way better than you could…Dave usually does that…He said, “You know…we didn’t have a wide release of the movie Ragamuffin..but we did have a deep release.” Even just today I read a message of someone who watched the movie a few nights ago, and it had a deep impact. Crazy. I find myself with fond feelings of the movie Ragamuffin, and feelings that humble me. I love that the movie got out there, and I pray it continues to …so that by God’s grace it can continue to have a “deep” impact…but yet to be honest it’s hard to pray for that sometimes…for no other reason other than selfish pride…I don’t think I’ve even watched the movie in more than a year now…maybe even longer…I cringe at all my mistakes…and what I would do differently…I stumbled into a review section of the movie …and even though there was a ton of positive reviews…it’s the negative ones that just crush my spirit. I wish I was way more spiritual, but as it turns out I’m still very much human. And sticks and stones sill break my bones. The funny thing is the majority of the complaints about the movie Ragamuffin …I don’t even really disagree with…but I find myself wanting to talk to each and every person and explain how I messed up…and why I couldn’t change it…etc….and then with some of the complaints I just have a different taste than that….but with some if not nearly 90% of the complaints I go…I think I may just understand and hear the gospel differently than these folks…it doesn’t mean one of us is Christian and the other isn’t…yet…and maybe I’m wrong here…and forgive me if I am…but I can’t help but go…it seems that the people that have a hard or negative time with the movie…might be folks who don’t yet know brokenness in their own lives…or they haven’t experienced it…or they haven’t accepted it …maybe they are hiding it…even from themselves…and in turn they don’t yet understand their need of God’s grace to run rampant in their lives…and more importantly…their hearts…yeah, sure they understand it in a vague-matter-of-fact way in terms of some theological tent pole in the far distant area of the circus tent of their faith….but they may not understand God’s grace in terms of how many of us ragamuffins do…as a matter of live and death.
So it takes a put upon me kind of humility to pray for Ragamuffin. Because I’m way to prideful to pray for it constantly or consistently. Occasionally I do, because I just want people to meet and know Jesus and his love…and yet because I still struggle with the addiction to being liked and well thought of, I don’t want people to see the movie. To see my mistakes, and failures. Gross. Look at my heart. I guess I need prayer more than I realized. Maybe we all do. But I do pray for the courage to pray past my pride, and pray for people to continue to see Ragamuffin the movie, that God uses it to draw people to his love. Maybe that’s why he’s used it so much, because it is filled with mistakes, and holes, and isn’t pretty. But just because the love and grace of God is folly and he uses unexpected things and people to do his work…may I not…even for a second…let that be an excuse to not pursue to use the skills and gifts he’s given me to pursue and work in an excellent manner, for his glory.
An honest confession. Even though we’ve had the rights to the Brennan movie for years…it’s been quite a journey to get here. Many drafts, many hurdles, and to be honest I got a little beat up and burnt out doing Ragamuffin…and we were struggling to find the financing to make the Brennan movie…we were doing a crowd funding platform and it wasn’t working…and there many things at play…but I basically quit…not many but a few know this…I quit. I was done. Theologically, and still agree with , that God doesn’t need a movie, or any movie to do his work, and spread the gospel. And he certainly doesn’t need me, or Ragamuffin, or Brennan, or anything else…I was a little bit grumpy and out of gas…and just wanted to move on creatively a little bit. I didn’t want to move on from faith…I’ll by God’s grace always want to be missional with my love for Jesus and will always want to herald about his love for me, and all of us…but I never saw myself making movies like Ragamuffin or Brennan. Even though I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “Christian Movie” because products can’t be Christian…they can’t be baptized…or confess of it’s sins…or follow Jesus…I’m also not dumb…I recognize that whenever and whatever thing Jesus is declared in…makes it stand a part from a world that shouts you don’t need forgiveness or grace. Jesus and his reckless love fly in the face of “self-help” or “do-it-yourself” type gospels…anyway I’m a little A.D.D….I was burnt out inside and out…and I’m a family man…risky faith adventures like making movies like Ragamuffin or Brennan aren’t exactly what you can call “job security”…and it’s a holy thing to provide for your family…so I was done. And it was an easy thing to be done …because we couldn’t find the money…and I had done my duty. I had made ragamuffin…that’s what I told myself…so I quit. Not even a week later, I had two different people that I’ve never met or known before give us enough funding to move forward on production…within a week we went from we can’t find any financing to being able to make a movie….but I didn’t just want to make a movie because we had the ability or the money to…I went on a walk with God…and had a huge peace moving forward…I’m being careful here because I didn’t hear an audible voice…and it’s dangerous to sling around stuff like “God said this…or did this” especially if the interpreter is your own feelings…but on that walk I said…”But God I quit…and I don’t even know that I want to make this movie….”…and what I believe to be the Holy Spirit..I felt God say…”And that’s exactly why I want you to do it…” i was talking with my friend and my wife…and I told them exactly what had transpired…and I said…”well, at the very least it’s a great chance to practice obedience.”
By God’s grace he brought everything together. Well as many indie movies go…things cost more…etc etc…but again we were very thankful because were were able to finish the movie, and move into post-production…and because of the generosity of others…we have been slowly provided for…even though we could surely use more help…we are confident that God will provide…and he has been …THROUGH ALL OF YOU!
Some of the gracious folks who have funded us…are out there having conversations trying to figure out how to get the movie “Brennan” a wide release…distribution has always been a baffling thing…most of you know the story of Ragamuffin…when asked what our distribution plan was we’d say…”We’re two guys in a Toyota Corolla”…and I’m not gonna lie…I liked that answer…because there was something beautiful and fun about going from place to place…venue to venue…church to church…to coffee shop…to bar….to church…showing this movie about God’s love and grace through Rich Mullins story…
We hope to do that again…BUT…we don’t know…here’s where we are at. We know that we are having a World Premiere in Kansas January 23, 2016 at 7pm. People can grab their tickets on the website itickets dot com…and all they have to do is search Brennan. In faith, we have begun to ask for people to email us if they’d like to host a screening of the movie for a “movie tour”…which you can do at bookings (at) brennanmanningmovie dot com….BUT here’s the deal…beyond the premiere we don’t really know what’s going to happen…we honestly don’t know if anyone will care…maybe that’s just insecurity talking…or realism. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, at least for me. I know if you’re reading this you care. Obviously we are all here because God impacted our lives through Brennan Manning, or Rich Mullins, or through a movie…but ultimately we know it wasn’t a movie or even Brennan or Rich…it was Jesus chasing us down…with his love.
So pray with us, and for us…continue to pray that Ragamuffin would get out there and shout the gospel through a flawed but beautiful movie about God’s grace in Rich Mullins story….and pray for This next movie “Brennan” …pray for financing…pray for distribution to be wide…and if not wide…at least deep…and hopefully the tour will happen and we will see you somewhere across America…and if we don’t or aren’t able to make it happen…than hopefully you can make it to Wichita January 23, 2016…and if not there…and we can’t get distribution…than maybe you can come over to my house and watch the movie on my laptop…
Thank you for your support. Thank you for the prayers. The trailer for “Brennan” will be out in the next few weeks. I know I sound like a broken record, but sometime I repeat myself…not for your sake…but for mine…I need to hear it…I need to hear that I need prayer…that I need Jesus…that I need to not worry about what God will or won’t do with these movies…or whatever He has for us…but I need to trust him…and to be faithful…and to love him…and love people…and he’ll take care of the rest…so maybe this update wasn’t for any of you all today…maybe it was for me…to be reminded that all that matters at the end of the day is to accept and embrace His love for me…and He will take care of the rest.
Jesus is Crazy about you,
David Leo Schultz
Director of “Ragamuffin” & “Brennan”