CANTICLE OF THE PLAINS WORLD PREMIER
February 2, 1997

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The weekend of January 31, 1997 (Friday night), through February 2, (Sunday afternoon) was a weekend with more opportunities for fans of Rich Mullins to enjoy his music and ministry, than we've had in almost two years. Friday evening (1/31/97) and Saturday evening (2/1/97) Rich and his group of very diverse and talented friends, the Ragamuffins, brought their unique style of music to Wichita. The last time Rich was here with the Ragamuffins was May 21, 1995. That was the weekend Rich graduated from Friends University and performed his official farewell to Wichita, as he then moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico, not far from Window Rock, AZ (which is the center of the Navajo's government). There was one thing on the minds of many of Rich's most ardent fans this weekend - When are we going to get to hear and see the "Canticle Of The Plains?" Well, we only got to hear two songs during the concerts, but on the following Sunday afternoon, Rich and Mitch McVicker (Rich's new performing and writing partner) sat down with Bob Michaels, Program Director for Light 99FM, and gave us at least part of what we were hoping for. We got to hear the music from the soon-to-be released soundtrack from the musical, and also listen to Rich and Mitch describe the story behind his latest project since the Brother's Keeper CD. One of coolest parts was the fact that not only did we in Wichita get to hear the interview, but also many around the world joined as Light 99FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, around the globe on the World Wide Web via RealAudio. Even though there were some unfortunate technical problems that delayed some from getting connected right away, I would like to thank not only Bob Michaels and Light 99 for providing this glimpse into Rich's creative world, but also to SouthWind Internet Access, Inc. for providing extra RealAudio links, and expert technical support getting those initial kinks ironed out.

--Danl Blackwood, moderator of the Rich Mullins Mailing List


The following is the complete transcript of that visit between Bob and Rich and Mitch.

Bob Michaels: It's 2:06 now at KTLI, El Dorado-Wichita, Light 99 FM. Bob Michaels in with you this afternoon, and thanks to just a slight delay from 20 the Countdown Magazine, just a few minutes late now on the Rich Mullins world premier of the Canticle Of The Plains, a musical based on the life of St. Francis, written by Mitch McVicker, Rich Mullins and Beaker if I'm correct. Is that right?

Rich Mullins: Yeah.

Bob: Welcome Rich. You look tired.

Rich: Oh boy (laughing).

Bob: We've been running around, both of us, just trying to get ready for this thing in time, and I know you had a big show last night. I haven't had a chance to ask you, how did show number 2 go?

Rich: I think it went OK.

Bob: Good.

Rich: I couldn't tell. I was too tired.

Bob: Essentially the same as night number 1?

Rich: Yeah, pretty much.

Bob: I was there on Friday, and great crowd, great music.

Rich: This is a great place to do a show.

Bob: And a great band. So, having said that, we'll move right into the musical, because that's really what we're here about today, and we talked for awhile the other day about the concert scene. The new musical is called, actually not the new, the first one you've ever written, is called ... now I've got a title here called "The Kid Brothers of St. Frank." Is this a subtitle?

Rich: No, those are the authors.

Bob: This would be the umbrella name for the authors of the musical called the Canticle Of The Plains. Correct?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: We're getting a little bit of feedback from that jam box in there. If we could turn that...there we go. Thank you. Also, we have a slight delay, for those of you locally who are also trying to listen via the internet, they are resetting that server now, so we'll be able to join our friends from around the world here very, very shortly. Now then Rich, to kick this thing off, let's talk a little bit quickly about kind of what you indicated in concert about how the idea came up, and then we'll move into the actual story line itself.

Rich: OK.

Bob: So what made you guys decide to do this.

Rich: Well, when I was a senior in high school, I think I graduated in 1974, if I can remember that far back, and a movie came out in 1974 that was done by Franco Zeffirelli, and the movie was called "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", and I had been raised in the church, you know, for a long time. I mean, it wasn't like I was introduced to the gospel through that movie. But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out? What does that really...um...how does the rubber meet the road here?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said, that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it." And so, the question, I think for me as a young Christian was "What does it mean to do Christ's work?" And, you know, you look at your parents, and they model that, and you look at your Sunday School teachers, those kinds of people, and they all model it somewhat, but when I saw this movie "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", having grown up Protestant, I was unfamiliar altogether with St. Francis, except I knew that there were always these little statues of him, and there were always animals around him, and I just thought he was kind of some sort of Santa Claus figure, you know, someone sort of mythical...

Bob: Right, a pied piper as it were.

Rich: Yeah. And that movie really clobbered me in a way that a really good movie can, and I just became fascinated with the character of St. Francis, not because of the cutesy little statues with the animals around him, although those are charming, and they're very nice, but what I saw in that movie was, man, here is of course a cinematic, and therefore probably prettier than real, picture of someone who has fallen in love with God, and someone for whom God is everything, and that was one of those things that propelled me toward a life of trying to figure out what it means to really live out the gospel. And that seems to be, as I've read about Francis and the Franciscan movement, that seems to be the propelling thing behind that movement and behind his life, is "What would it be like if we took the gospel very seriously?"

Bob: And the guys that wrote this with you, now most people know who Beaker is, because of so many years of writing together and working together.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: Not everybody knows who Mitch is. Do you want to bring us up to speed on that real quick?

Rich: Well, Mitch is a guy I met at Friends University. When Beaker and I started working together - he also is a fan of St. Francis - and we had to come up with a name for a non-profit organization. I don't know if our organization is for-profit or not-for-profit. It doesn't make any difference, because we don't make a lot of money.

Bob: Right. By choice.

Rich: We often talked about "Man, wouldn't it be cool if we could turn more people on to this Franciscan expression of faith?" We had talked a lot about, I mean, we invented St. Frank of Wichita and named our organization "Kid Brothers of St. Frank" after him, or after this invented character.

Bob: All still in your heads really.

Rich: Yeah, all still in our heads, just kinda going, "We're not really Franciscans. We don't really own nothing" and that sort of thing. We just like the idea, and we aspire toward it, but we ain't there yet.

Bob: About a dozen people at the concert Friday when you were talking about this very thing all leaned over and said "Is he Catholic?" But what you're saying is, you just mentioned, you're not really Franciscans. Do you aspire to be a monk, or is this just something that you admire and try to apply to your own life?

Rich: Well, I would love to be a Franciscan brother. I'm just not sure I have the courage to do it. It's not for everyone. This is not for the weak of heart. But I, nevertheless. still have this fascination, as did Beaker, and so we started looking at the three traditional monastic vows, and Franciscans all take them: The vow of poverty, the vow of obedience, and the vow of chastity. And we started saying, "What does that look like if you're not a monk?" Because they seem so arbitrary. They seem very funny. And there's a book by--is it Alan Jones--I think it's Alan Jones--called Exploring Spiritual Direction, which a friend of mine gave me years ago, and he talks about the three monastic vows: poverty, chastity and obedience, and we began to look at those in a broader sense rather than very specifically, like looking at chastity not as being specifically about our sexual behavior. As he describes in the book Exploring Spiritual Direction. He talks about the idea of chastity as being one of loving purely, loving without expectations, loving without demands, loving without being possessive. How do we learn how to...what is it in us that enables us to love purely? And he would say that's what chastity is. Chastity is learning how to really be able to let real love, which would come from God, rise above all of the pollution of self-interest, self-aggrandizement, those sorts of things. Then he would talk about poverty as we do, as recognizing yourself as being a steward of whatever resources you have, as opposed to being the owner of those resources. That you recognize that everything belongs to God, and He allows us to be stewards of his gifts. And so rather than saying "OK, so we will just not own anything," leaning to look at everything that we own: our talents, our physical possessions, those sorts of things, looking at those as being God's and ourselves as being stewards, and then obedience. It's hard when you're not a Catholic to do the obedience thing, because I think Protestants have a real...we have a real hang up with...

Bob: A lack of freedom.

Rich: Yeah. The rules are always changing for us, which is one advantage the Catholics have is they've had a very consistent witness to what is true and what Christianity looks like; it's been consistent since Catholicism began, which according to Catholics would be right about Pentecost. But obedience has to do for us, the way we've explored it, is saying, In the way that we have at this point grown and the way that the Lord has led us up to now, how do we reclaim our own church heritage, which would be God's gift to us as much as anything, obedience to our deepest sense of who we are in Christ and God's will for us. And the thing that we've discovered is that Paul said there were three things that remain: faith, hope, and love, and that the three traditional vows that a Franciscan would take, which are common to I think all the orders in the Catholic church--the vow of obedience: it is by obeying that we grow in our faith; and the vow of poverty: it is in poverty that we really begin to be able to recognize what our great hope is, and we free ourselves of the disappointment of putting a lot of hope in things that don't last, in things that are merely temporal, or things that are sort of peripheral. And in chastity, we learn then of course how to love. And so I think it is...we so often...when you grow up in 20th century America, you often think...we've come to believe, even people who don't believe in evolution, have come to believe in what Stravinsky called the bastard child of evolution, the myth of progress. We believe that we're smarter now. We believe that we know more. We believe that information equals knowledge, and knowledge equals wisdom. We've come to think that somehow, we're making progress, and I've come to disbelieve that altogether. I think medieval theologians, the desert fathers, people who pre-dated the reformation, people who predated this great American experiment, which I am a big fan of, but I think that even people who predated it, that there was goodness in that, and that goodness wasn't discovered, goodness wasn't invented late in history, but that because we were made in the image of God, goodness has been present in our lives since Adam, and because Adam fell, evil has been present in our lives since then, and I think we just come up with new ways of expressing both the goodness and the brokenness that we have as humans. So, we're looking back and that and going, "Man instead of looking at all of that as being outdated and outmoded and irrelevant," all of a sudden, you begin to realize, "Wow, people from the medieval period really have a good deal to contribute to our own understanding of the scriptures, and rather than being stuck in 20th century American evangelicalism, there really is a broader picture of Christianity, which is not only broader, but it's also clearer, and more bright than merely being content with the cultural and the time, you know, being stuck in the 20th century and in American culture and that sort of thing.

Bob: Right. There is...we do wanna get into the musical. We're gonna take a little break though, before we go into that, and try to make sure our internet feed is working correctly. We have many folks around the world wanting to hear this. So, before we actually get into the beginning of the play, or musical, which to this date has not ever been performed in public, right? Or even been staged...

Rich: We've workshopped it, which is like rough stagings, twice. We've done several read-throughs, and I always dread doing them, because every time you do them, you realize how badly we've written this, and how much work we have left to do.

Bob: But before we take that break and actually start the sequence of the musical and the soundtrack, let's talk real quickly about--we've just covered kind of the why's and the backgrounds of why St. Francis. Let's talk about how he's represented in the play real quick. Set this up a little bit. You mentioned this in concert, how this is not in the medieval times, this particular play, and this is not a European setting, right?

Rich: Right. Well, one thing--whereas I don't believe that American 20th century culture is any more advanced than any other culture, it is my culture. It is the culture I grew up in. And we have, in our own culture, we have our own icons, we have our own heroes, we have our own myths. And so we decided...we invented this character of St. Frank, because we were kind of going...because we value our American-ness ... a cowboy for us is sort of the image of someone who is free, someone who is a little bit wild, someone who is all those things. Cowboys are representative of everything good in our own cultural value system. And this is where Mitch really came into play, because we were, you know, as we talked about writing, we thought man, wouldn't it be cool to like write the story of St. Francis in the character of St. Frank, and we already knew that he would be a 19th century cowboy, that he would be from Wichita, Kansas, and that he would...

Bob: And his mission field is also here?

Rich: No, actually, his mission field goes out west.

Bob: OK, alright.

Rich: But we really couldn't develop the character of St. Frank, I mean, we didn't know what he would be like. And then I met Mitch McVicker in a class at Friends University, and man, the minute I saw him I went, "Oh, this guy is Frank. If we want to develop the character of Frank, what we need to do is study Mitch," because he really is...Mitch is a pretty soft-spoken person, he's a very committed Christian, he's very gentle, but he's not wishy washy. I mean, he's a lot of those things that Frank would be, and a lot like what I imagined St. Francis was. Kind of a guy who kinda knew who he was, didn't worry a lot that he didn't know all the answers, but had a sort of a deep-rooted peace in him.

Bob: And you mentioned the other day that when you met him, you didn't even know...when you were making these observations, you did not know yet that he was even a musician?

Rich: Yeah, I thought he was a basketball player, which he was, and still is, but...

Bob: But now he plays in the Ragamuffins and sings with you...he sings in the soundtrack, right?

Rich: Yeah, so he was a great gift. I'm very thankful.

Bob: That's amazing. Let's take a short...actually it's gonna be a fairly long break if you'll bear with us. We want to get our internet feed fixed, and we're gonna bring Mitch in the studio, and we will kick off the storytelling and the soundtrack of the Canticle Of The Plains when we come back on Light 99 FM.

Bob: Back again to the world premier of Canticle Of The Plains, a musical based on the life of St. Frank, written by The Kid Brothers of St. Frank. Of course, the most recognizable name there is Rich Mullins, and his friends Beaker and Mitch McVicker. It's 2:27 now, and for those of you who are trying to listen via the internet locally who can also hear the radio, we are still having trouble. I do know we have a flagship person in control of the internet feed, and so I'll just say to that person on the air, if the rest of you will bear with me, to e-mail those on the recipient list to let them know that it will be delayed for another 5 or 10 minutes, and then hopefully, we'll have that back up as we go through the progress of today's musical. Usually people around the world are able to listen to our broadcast, but today of all days...

Rich: That is amazing to me.

Bob: ...at this particular time, we're down.

Rich: You know, where I live, we just now got touch tone on our phones.

Bob: Oh, is that right? (laughing)

Rich: So the idea of...I mean, it's kind of...But you know, I understand George Bush when he got out of office. Because I understand if you're a president, you can't go to a grocery store and stuff.

Bob: Really?

Rich: And he had never...

Bob: Because of protection??

Rich: And in the time of his presidency was when, you know, they started doing those scanner things.

Bob: Right.

Rich: And so, the first time...I guess, the story is, he went shopping with his grandkids or something in one of those like K-Mart/Wal-Mart kinds of deals, and that was the first time, it was after he had left the office of the president that he saw those scanners. He was fascinated by them.

Bob: Really.

Rich: Isn't that bizarre??

Bob: And then we make fun of him.

Rich: He's the most powerful man in the world, but he's never seen a scanner. And I'd seen it hundreds of times by the time he did.

Bob: You know, they used to use that litmus test of "Do you know how much a carton of milk costs?" you know, in all the presidential debates, and of course, they're locked up in the white house. How would they know?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: You know, they're not allowed to get out and find out how much it costs, but anyway. Well, it's time to kick off the story line behind the Canticle Of The Plains. This first song is called "There You Are."

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: Does this occur before anything happens in the play? Is it like an opening number before the dialogue beings?

Rich: There is dialogue prior to this, and there's incidental music which we won't be playing now, because we have to save something for later.

Bob: OK, right. For the rewrites.

Rich: But, in the dialogue prior to this song, we basically spell out that St. Frank is coming back from the civil war. He's not yet St. Frank, he's just Frank.

Bob: Right.

Rich: He's coming back from the civil war. And in the civil war, he became very disillusioned with all the talk about justice and goodness and everything, because he's looking at war, and he's going, "This doesn't represent goodness to me." And so he's kinda coming back, he's somewhat disillusioned with the values that he's been raised with, somewhat disillusioned with all of the hoopla of political ... you know how political people use great causes to promote themselves ... and he's coming back to Wichita, and he's crossing the plains. And it's there in the plains, just because of the vastness of them, that he has an encounter with God, that he realizes, he recognizes the frailty of humankind and the vastness of God, and the emptiness of life without God being involved, and in that experience is when he first...in the script it says ... this is where he first heard God, or more truly, where he first overheard God. And so he sort of recognizes in the prairie winds and in the flora and fauna around him, how creation is constantly pointing to God, and how God is involved in creation, and that's where the first song comes in.

Bob: And this is Mitch singing.

Rich: This is Mitch singing the part of Frank.

Bob: I hate to interrupt a story like this, but I forgot something at the top of the show that's very important that I say, and that is that this special radio presentation is a copyrighted work of Light 99 and Crucible Productions, and may not be recorded or rebroadcast in any way, shape or form, for those on the internet or those locally. There. I feel like I just announced an NFL football game.

Rich: (laughing)

Bob: You know how they always do that at the end of a game, you know?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: OK. The beginning song from the Kid Brothers of St. Frank's musical, the Canticle Of The Plains. This is called "There You Are."

(Song: "There You Are")

Bob: That is "There You Are," the first song from the Canticle Of The Plains, as we world premier the soundtrack to the album, which later on will feature some voices of some other familiar groups in Christian music like DC Talk, and we'll get to that in just a bit. Our special guests are Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker, two of the three people who are responsible for writing this, from the Kid Brothers of St. Frank. And Mitch, new to the studio today anyway, he was here Thursday. Thanks for joining us.

Mitch McVicker: Thanks for having me.

Bob: A lot of big comments about your performances with Rich's band the last two nights, so congratulations on a job well done.

Mitch: Thank you.

Bob: Alright. "There You Are." Now that song was sung by....now in the soundtrack, you're playing Frank.

Mitch: Mmm hmm.

Bob: That was you singing.

Mitch: Yeah, that was me.

Bob: Playing the part of Frank. OK. And Rich, you mentioned the character of Buzz now enters into the play. So, one of you guys take off and help us continue the story.

Mitch: Well, Buzz is a former slave that I meet...that Frank meets in Lawrence, Kansas in a burnt-out ruined church that was destroyed when Quantrill raided Lawrence. And, I meet him because Buzz's mother cleans that church in Lawrence, and she hooks me up with Buzz, and Frank and Buzz kind of become soul mates and head off on an epic journey.

Bob: So...oh, let me turn your mic up Rich. So together, the two of these guys kinda begin to head west. Is that what I am to understand?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: OK.

Rich: And part of that is just because that's one of the...that's a key thing in the Franciscan movement, is that they would travel not solo, with the understanding of church as something that happens among people as opposed to just an individual effort.

Bob: And the next song...have we set that up already? Or...

Rich: Well, Buzz, being a former slave, really loves freedom, so he of course loves the plains. And Buzz's mother just sort of gets the two guys together, and she says that she's always believed that Buzz had a special part to play in the history of the world. And she recognizes in Frank that they could accomplish it together. And she sort of...in the [original story] St. Francis was commissioned in the ruins of St. Damian and Christ spoke to him from a crucifix and said "rebuild my church which you see is in ruins." And, in our play, Ms. Johnson, who is Buzz's mother, sort of is the voice of Christ and says, "Rebuild the church," because the one she's in has been ruined. And she goes there, because she loves the place, and loves the church, and um...

Bob: Does she know that Frank is special at this point?

Rich: Yeah. And so she sends them out together. And this song is just Buzz talking about being on the plains. And the plains are sort of a metaphor all through the play of going to that place that is quiet, going to that place that is silent, and encountering God in a sort of un-cushioned way, encountering God in your soul, as opposed to just through your senses.

Bob: I see. And the part in the soundtrack of Frank is sung by...

Rich: Oh, of Buzz.

Bob: Of Buzz, I'm sorry...

Mitch: Michael Tait from DC Talk.

Bob: So this is "Cry for Freedom" with the voice of Michael Tait from the Canticle Of The Plains.

(Song: "Cry for Freedom")

Bob: That's Michael Tait playing the part of Buzz in the Canticle Of The Plains in "Cry for Freedom"

Rich: You know what we forgot to mention?

Bob: What?

Rich: ...is that Buzz has a pet calf.

Bob: A pet calf.

Rich: Calf. C-a-l-f.

Bob: Baby cow.

Rich: ...that they take with them, and the calf's name is Luke.

Bob: (laughing)

Rich: And Frank explains as they're taking off that the calf is...about the four evangelists in the Bible and how...the four creatures around the throne of God in the book of Revelation, and how medieval theologians took those to be the four gospels, and that Luke represents...I mean, the calf represents Luke, which is the priestly or the servant gospel.

Bob: Oh, I see. Interesting. And, this is all part of...this is a play in two acts? You were going to say something Mitch.

Mitch: And that jives with Buzz's character, because Buzz is the character in the musical that is the most servant-like and...

Rich: And priestly.

Bob: You know, you based the lead part of Frank kind of loosely on Mitch. Were there any other personal influences of the people you know that you were thinking of when you wrote some of these parts?

Rich: No...

Bob: I mean, you weren't thinking of Michael Tait, obviously. That was just a voice choice I'm assuming.

Rich: Yeah, Buzz is based on Bernard di Quintavalle, who is I think Francis' first disciple.

Bob: So historically based as opposed to the one instance where Mitch became the living example of Frank. Now the next song, if we go in chronological order--which is what we're doing here--what happens after these two get together? We've heard the song, the cry of Buzz, and now they're heading west? Is that where we're at now? Talking the cow with them, the calf?

Mitch: Yeah. They don't know exactly where they're going. Buzz was planning on going to Texas on a cattle drive, so he just kind of starts heading that way, and they near Wichita, they get near to Wichita, so they drop by to see some old friends of Frank's, and they visit a saloon that Ivory, who is the next important character, is a piano player in the saloon. And he's a childhood friend of Frank's. And Clare happens to be in the saloon there also, and she is also a childhood friend of Frank's.

Bob: The piano player we assume is probably not a convert at this point?

Rich: Not a convert yet. And when Frank arrives, he's very skeptical about Frank, because when Frank came back from the war, everyone thought that he was crazy, that the war had snapped him. But now he's becoming a little bit of a celebrity, because he's so quirky, and he does talk with animals, and he does live in utter poverty. And Clare is very...kind of excited and attracted to this, but at this point, Ivory is sort of hostile, at least very skeptical of it, and when Frank and Buzz come in to visit, they begin talking about what they had dreamed of being when they were kids. Ivory had dreamt of being a cowboy, but he never really had the courage to be a cowboy, and he became a piano player in a bar where cowboys come in to drink. And this song is just sort of his looking at his own life and going, "Wow, my life really doesn't amount to as much as I had hoped it would, and I'm not really doing what I dreamed of doing. What I'm really doing is playing piano for guys who do what I dream of doing."

Bob: He's somewhat...this is somewhat of a song of despair.

Rich: Yeah. It's a song I can really relate to. (laughter) Sometimes as a Christian musician, I feel like, you know, man there are people really out there in the trenches; there are people really out there on the front lines, and I entertain them when they come in for a...you know...

Bob: Yeah...for a break.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: The part of this...by the way, is Ivory a nickname because he plays the piano?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: OK.

Rich: His real name...

Mitch: His real name is Ira, hence the nickname.

Bob: Ira, OK. Great combination of the two. And on the soundtrack, who plays this part?

Mitch: Kevin Smith.

Bob: Also of DC Talk, right?

Mitch: Yeah.

Bob: This song is called "If I Could." Kevin Smith, playing the part of Ira aka Ivory in the Canticle Of The Plains.

(Song: "If I Could")

Bob: KTLI, Light 99 FM. 2:51 now in the midst of the world premier of the Canticle Of The Plains. That is the part played by Kevin Smith of DC Talk on the soundtrack, and in the musical, it is the part of Ivory, the piano player in the bar in Wichita. Have we got that right so far?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: OK. And as Frank and his new found buddy Buzz come into this bar, I want to make sure...I'm testing myself to make sure we're able to follow the story, because otherwise people at home are going, "I just wish they'd keep playing music." They've come into this bar, they're visiting some old time friends of Frank's childhood, right? And there's another new character that's introduced to us. I'm assuming that this piano player, Ivory, will come back into the play at some point.

Rich: At this point he joins them, because there's something very...and I find, you know, even as a Christian, when you meet someone who has a very deep walk with God, there's something very attractive about that, and people tend to collect around these people. And so Frank and Buzz both encourage Ivory and say, "You know you don't have to be afraid; you don't have to be timid about life. You can really plunge into it." And so he decides to join them right then and there. At the end of this song, you know, of course, is the big conversion scene.

Bob: I see. OK. And is that actually acted out, or is just somewhat implied?

Rich: I think it's more implied, because I generally think conversions are more implied than acted out in real life.

Bob: But there's not a sermonette, because Frank really didn't operate that way anyway, it doesn't seem like so far.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: So they leave the bar, and they're off, and they're continuing their stay in Wichita when we meet this next character? Or was she in the bar as well?

Mitch: She was there as well.

Bob: OK. And her name is...

Mitch: Clare.

Bob: Clare is the next person we meet.

Rich: And she's based on the actual St. Clare, who was actually a very great friend of St. Francis.

Bob: I see. And she was already a childhood friend of Frank's at this time in the saloon right?

Mitch: Mmm hmm.

Bob: And what's the next thing that happens with her? How do we get from the piano player now over to Clare?

Rich: Well, they head up to church, because they've been up all night getting converted, and so they decide to go up to the church to ask it's blessing and to leave it theirs, and Clare realizes that she can't really go with them, and that she's also very taken by Frank, but she realizes that there's a romantic interest on her part and possibly on his that might impede either their being able to really focus on Christ and really come into a deeper walk with Him. So she stands back and sings...this is a prayer that she sings...that she prays. She kind of steps back away from everybody else and goes off a little bit alone and prays for Frank.

Mitch: Because Frank, Buzz and Ivory have decided to leave, and they don't know exactly where they're going.

Bob: They just know it's time to go.

Mitch: Frank and Ivory made up this imaginary place when they were young called Dineh Bekeya and it was a place where they were gonna go and be the kings of the cowboys and live wild and free on the range. So they're heading towards this place, wherever it may be, knowing that it isn't real, but hoping that they'll find it.

Bob: So as they're preparing to leave, does Clare sing this next song as a...is it a parting blessing? Or what's the role of the song now?

Mitch: Well, Clare and Frank kind of have this conversation about how Frank would like to stay with her, and she would like him to stay, but they both realize that that is not what they're called to do at this point. So it's kind of Clare's "letting go" song, letting go of that to grab hold of something bigger.

Bob: And the part of Clare is played by...

Mitch: Leigh Bingham Nash of Sixpence None The Richer.

Bob: Alright. Before we play that, let me take a little off story moment to make a comment here. First of all, we knew this coming in. We should have been more honest with ourselves on the air. We knew we could not get this done in an hour, and we're already coming up on 3:00, so we're looking at more like a 2-hour version of this premier of the St. Frank story, the Canticle Of The Plains. And also, a note to those of us now joining us via the internet. We understand that that is up and running now, so Rich and Mitch, say hello to all your fans around the world.

Mitch: Hello cyberspace.

Rich: (laughter)

Bob: I don't know if all these people are tapped in, but we did have e-mail yesterday of people trying to jockey for position and get into one of the available streams to listen to the simulcast on the internet from as far away as Dublin, Ireland, where I know you visited.

Rich: Oh wow! That's great!

Bob: Let me think. There's a place in Australia, Western Perth, Australia was one of them,

Rich: Oh my word.

Bob: And just outside Kuwait is another. And my favorite is this young man, if his listening, I hope you are. He's 19 years old, and he is the son of missionaries in um...I cannot remember the province or the country, but it is in the western part of Africa. And where they live is a satellite link, and the only power plant for about 100 miles in any direction, and he's allowed a couple of hours a day to do homework via satellite and via the internet, and when he does, he listens to the station as background music while he's studying. And so if he's listening all the way out there...

Rich: That is all amazing.

Bob: He told me in e-mail that he could literally see wild animals, you know, the whole jungle bit right outside of his window. So to me, that's somewhat flabbergasting that someone can be sitting there in that environment listening to us right now.

Rich: To me it's utterly flabbergasting. (laughter)

Bob: Yes it is. So hello to all of you listening in cyberspace.

Rich: So does this like print out and people read it or...? (laughter)

Bob: No, it's only listening to. Yeah, there's about a 15-second to 30-second delay, and then people listen to it in real time so...

Rich: Welcome to the 21st century.

Bob: Yes, yes. You guys out in the Indian reservations don't have any idea that this stuff is going on. You just got touch tones, right? (laughter)

Rich: Yeah.

Mitch: And books.

Bob: OK, back to the story, now that we've taken our break. This is Leigh Bingham Nash. Is that her name now? Did she just get married? Is she the one that just got married?

Mitch: To Mark Nash.

Rich: Yeah, she just became Nash. She used to be just Leigh Bingham.

Bob: Ok. I thought that was a new one on me. "In Your Hands" Her surrender song I guess in the Canticle Of The Plains.

(Song: "In Your Hands")

Bob: The first song in the Canticle Of The Plains from Clare. Does she return musically?

Rich: Oh, you'll have to stay tuned and find out.

Bob: I've actually heard it. I just can't remember. I think maybe she does.

Rich: And when she gets done singing, this eagle comes down...

Bob: Really?

Rich: Uh huh,and because they will be separated...Clare and Frank will be separated, and the Eagle will be able to carry messages between them thereafter, which is also one of the legends around St. Francis. And so then this brings us to the last song in the first act.

Bob: Are there those though that choose to believe the legend? I mean do people really...

Mitch: It's all kinda one thing with Francis.

Bob: The whole thing?

Mitch: I mean, you don't...you're not sure what's legend and what's...what's miracle.

Bob: I see, OK.

Rich: And don't you sometimes think that legends are more truth than history?

Bob: Well yeah. I just wondered if you guys personally had an opinion on that, since you wrote it into the play?

Rich: We just thought it would be really romantic. Plus, it brings in the second of the four creatures that surround the throne of God, which would be the eagle.

Bob: Oh, sure.

Rich: And the eagle corresponds with Clare, because the eagle is the farthest seeing of the gospels, or it's the gospel of John. It's the farthest reaching; it's the one that has to do more with...you know, it begins at the very beginning instead of at the conception or at the birth of Christ, etc., etc. And so the eagle corresponds to Clare, because Clare is a very strong and a very insightful sort of woman, and so the eagle and her kind of work together in all of this. Well anyway, so Clare and Frank's understanding that they have to separate has taken place, and the four guys, they take off on their journey, and this is the first time that you actually see this on stage. Oh! Frank and the two other guys take off on their journey.

Bob: Yeah, because now there's Ivory and Buzz.

Rich: Ivory and Buzz. And Frank's method of, and this is also based on St. Francis, of finding his way around is that he would spin around until he fell down, and then he would get up, and whatever direction he was facing is the direction he would go, because he believed that God always meant for us to go forward, and he would go...and he compares his spinning and walking to the Urim and Thummim in the Bible, or how the apostles would toss dice to figure out God's will, which seems so bizarre to us today, but...

Bob: But perhaps maybe more effective than what we do sometimes.

Rich: Who can say?

Bob: It also inspired popular baseball seventh inning stretch games, right? Where they spin...you know, you spin your head on the baseball bat, and then...maybe that's not funny, sorry.

Rich: (laughing) You lost me there. I don't really know anything about baseball. But anyway, so...

Bob: I'll take you to a game sometime.

Rich: At this point, our three travelers have headed out, and they decide to go to Dineh Bekeya, and they don't know where it is, and they in fact don't even know if it is, but they're going to go there anyway, or at least they're going to go in whatever direction Frank faces when he finishes spinning. And night comes (whistling), and Frank is in love with God, and so late at night, he likes to sneak away and sing love songs to God. And, this is the song that concludes the first half. In the first half of the play, what is really happening is the core group is really coming together, and they have finally reached a point where they are really committed to this journey. And this song is a song that Frank sings, a song of commitment, one of those songs when you realize that if you say "yes" to one thing, you say "no" to everything else. When you say yes to one spouse, you say "no" to everybody else. When you say "yes" to God, you say "no" to the world. When you say...you know what I mean?

Bob: Absolutely.

Rich: And Frank is kind of recognizing, "man, my commitment to Christ has to be all-consuming." And he's already kind of made that commitment, he's already acted on that commitment. Now he just is...sometimes we think of commitment as being this really solemn, kind of heavy duty thing. But in this song, I think...I get the impression that Frank is more relieved. Sort of like a lot of times the joy that we find when we make a commitment to Christ, I think it just comes from... that we have resolved a conflict over whether we will follow the world, or whether we will follow the Lord. And anytime you resolve a conflict in your life, you feel some joy. I suppose if you chose to abandon the Lord and follow the world, even then you would feel some relief, just that the conflict was over, even though you will have resolved it in a desperately wrong way. And so this is how the first half ends, is that Frank has been called by God to love Him, he's been called by Christ to rebuild the church, he's been joined by Buzz, who is a soul mate of his. Ivory has joined them, and sort of helped direct what their quest is for; it's for Dineh Bekeya, and Clare has realized that she wants to have the experience of God that Frank has, and in order to experience God fully, she has to discover God on her own, and Frank here kind of sums everything up by singing this sort of commitment song called...

Mitch: "Heaven is Waiting"

(Song: "Heaven is Waiting")

Bob: You're listening to the world premier of the Canticle Of The Plains, a musical based on the life of St. Francis, written by the Kid Brothers of St. Frank: Mitch McVicker, Rich Mullins and Beaker. We'll be back with act number two after this. ACT II

Bob: Welcome back to the world Premier of the Canticle Of The Plains on KTLI, Light 99 FM. It is 3:14 now, Bob Michaels your host, along with our special guests Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker from the Kid Brothers of St. Frank, authors of this musical based on the life of St. Francis, as they call it, St. Frank. If you've been with us for the first hour, you know that we have covered Act number one, and now are set to finish out the musical and play with act number two, and we'll hear five more songs from the soundtrack album. Before we get back into the mechanics of the actual play and the story line itself Rich, a lot of people have been e-mailing us and calling us this week and asking us, since we're world premiering this, obviously a recording of some kind is finished. Is it something that people can buy, and if not, when will they be able to?

Rich: Well, it's not for sale yet, but I think it will be. We'll be selling it on tour this summer; I know that.

Bob: So much later this year? You've mentioned this summer. Are we talking...

Rich: I would think sometime around spring there should be...I think. We're not really sure how we want to do this, because...yeah. We're not really sure. It will be available sometime, somehow.

Bob: OK. So you will be able to buy a CD or cassette just like any other album at some point in time of what we're hearing today.

Rich: Yeah, uh huh.

Bob: The other question is, do you think this could ever actually become a performance tour?

Rich: Well, we will be doing several performances of it this summer and then next fall. Mitch will be going to several different colleges and working with the colleges, and letting each college put together some production.

Bob: I see. So then neither of you would "star" or play a role in it? Mitch might?

Rich: We're not really...I mean, that would kind of depend on...yeah, Mitch might.

Bob: You won't?

Rich: Yeah, I don't act.

Bob: Oh, now. We saw that the last couple of nights. No, I'm just kidding.

Rich: Oh, wow. (laughter)

Bob: Well, I mean, you're very funny on stage, and I think you could pull it off very well. So that was the second question. And the third, finally, I guess, is, can you buy the sheet music and the story line and the scripts for your own production outside of what you guys might travel around and do?

Rich: That should all be available by next fall.

Bob: OK. So within the year of 1997, we'll see the full package of this musical.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: Alright. It's so funny that people haven't even heard it yet, and they were asking those questions.

Rich: That is bizarre.

Bob: How do you know it's even any good yet, you know? Obviously they're putting a lot of faith in the history of your work, which is a commendation on your part I guess.

Rich: And a scary thing on theirs.

Bob: (laughing) See, normally, people would think I was trying to be funny at your expense, but I know that you feel the same way, so I thought that would be a less than risky thing to say. So Act II now begins, and before we get into the next song. The lights come back up for act number two, and what do we see, who's on stage, and what happens in the story?

Rich: We see Buzz, Ivory and Frank, and they meet a mountain lion. And, you know, it's one of those things where you think you know somebody after you've met them, and you've spent a little bit of time with them, and the longer that you're with them, the more amazed you are by them. And this mountain lion is this ferocious lion, and even people that they've met out on the plains have talked about, "Oh, there's this really ferocious mountain lion." And when they meet him, Frank of course just strikes up a conversation, because that's what he does with animals. And Buzz and Ivory are both a little bit surprised that he actually does talk with it. I mean, they'd heard other people say that they'd seen Frank, but all of a sudden they're talking to this lion, and they begin to talk about kingliness.

Bob: I'm sorry. His cohorts are now able to understand and converse with the lion as well?

Rich: Yeah, yeah.

Bob: OK. It's a package deal. If you're with Frank...

Rich: It's a package deal.

Bob: You get to tap into the conversation.

Rich: There's something contagious about this, and they're talking about kingliness, and the lion talks to them about this one-armed miner named Lefty, who is this really mean guy, and as they're talking with this lion, Lefty comes onto the stage. He's been hunting the lion, because the lion tore his arm off. And the lion did that, because lefty was so strong and so violent, that he thought that if he lost the power of one of his arms, he would look for a higher power. And, of course what happened was when Lefty lost his arm, he became more bitter.

Bob: So the lion had good intentions when he bit his arm off?

Rich: Yes.

Bob: Just wanna make sure I understand that right.

Rich: And so this next song is a song that Frank sings, because as they're talking with Lefty, they can see how bitter he is, and Lefty has, in spite of the fact that he's been a fairly successful miner, he's never cashed his gold in. He just hoards everything he gets, and so this is a song that Frank sings to him in an attempt to bring him into a greater understand of what life is really about.

Bob: This song is called "Things Even Angels" from the Canticle Of The Plains

(Song: "Things Even Angels")

Bob: The opening song from act two of Canticle Of The Plains. It is called "Things Even Angels" as they are now in the mountain range probably in eastern New Mexico?

Mitch: Northern New Mexico.

Bob: Northern New Mexico, excuse me. Northeastern. They've loosely followed...you just told me this off air. I don't want to sound like I know what I'm doing here.

Mitch: They have loosely followed the Santa Fe trail, but they really were following the sun, because it's a little more proper.

Bob: So they're kind of out in the middle of the mountains where this guy, this miner is, right? Lefty. And Frank has just sung the song "Heaven is Waiting" sort of as an appeal to him?

Rich: "Things Even Angels"

Bob: I'm sorry, "Things Even Angels" Is Lefty converted at this point? Has he joined the posse?

Rich: Yes, and he and the mountain lion become good friends.

Bob: Lefty and the mountain lion? So the one who trimmed his arm...

Rich: Yes, because the lion is also one of the four creatures that surround the throne of God. So now we have three of the four creatures that surround the throne of God.

Bob: Right, the eagle, the lion, and the first one was...

Rich: The calf.

Bob: The calf, yeah.

Rich: And the lion is...now it depends on whether you're catholic or Protestant. Most of the Catholics take the lion to represent Mark. Most Protestants take the lion to represent Matthew, because Mark is a very active gospel, and so they would say the lion was very active. Matthew has a lot to do with the kingdom of God, and so the Protestant people will say this has to do with kingliness. And that's the take we took on it.

Bob: So now there are four men and three animals traipsing across the Santa Fe trail, heading west.

Rich: Yeah, only the eagle is not with them, because the eagle is also with Clare.

Bob: He's flying back and forth, right?

Rich: And right at this point, right after lefty begins to melt and begins to be converted. And the eagle, John, flies in, and he's got a letter in his beak, and the letter is from Clare, and you can play her little letter right now.

Bob: Oh, great. It is appropriately entitled...

Rich: "Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches"

(Song: "Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches")

Bob: "Buenos Noches," a song sung by the character of Clare in the Canticle Of The Plains, and Mitch, you were saying that Clare in the meantime, while this message has been sent via the eagle to St. Frank on the trail, she has also been in movement.

Mitch: She has moved to Texas, to Nacogdoches. So that's why...the song is "Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches."

Bob: Oh, I see, I see. OK.

Rich: Plus, Nacogdoches rhymes with Buenos Noches better than Wichita does. (laughter)

Bob: So you had to move her when you were writing the song. That makes it nice. Someone asked...well, that's a different topic. We'll get into that another time after this is over. So next in the story, he's received these, I guess somewhat encouraging words from Clare.

Rich: That she has had that encounter.

Bob: He's happy to hear from her.

Rich: And she does, yeah, she's come spiritually alive.

Mitch: And she's decided she wants to meet up with them in their journey, and she wants to know where to do that. And so Frank kind of just says out loud to himself, "Oh, Dineh Bekeya, that's where she can meet us."

Bob: Does that have a meaning, that word? I know it's a location.

Rich: Stay tuned. You're just about to find out.

Bob: At least I'm following the story well.

Rich: Yeah, I'm so pleased!

Bob: I was worried that we wouldn't be able to...

Mitch: Right on cue actually, because the minute that Frank says "Dineh Bekeya," Lefty says, "Wow, it's been a long time since I've heard that word." And Ivory says, "What do you mean you know about that word? That was a place that Frank and I made up when we were kids." And Lefty says, "No, Dineh Bekeya is a place just southwest of here. That's where the Navajos call home. Because "Dineh Bekeya" means "land of the people."

Bob: Really? And they literally made up the word when they were kids? Or thought they were making up the word. Evidently...

Rich: Isn't fiction wonderful? You can do anything.

Bob: Yes, yes. Sends goose bumps up my spine. But the implication here is that...did God born that place into them when they were young?

Rich: (whistling theme from "The Twilight Zone")

Mitch: Very well could have.

Bob: Thank you. Boy, this is a tough one. So, is that where they decide then to go and meet up with Clare?

Mitch: Yeah, they're heading to the land between the four sacred mountains.

Rich: Which is also a description of Dineh Bekeya.

Mitch: That's how Lefty describes it to them.

Bob: And does he send the eagle back to Clare then to tell her that? Or did he just...that's kind of implied?

Mitch: Yes, yeah.

Bob: So, that brings us to the next song, "Love is as strong as..." There's only a dot-dot-dot here on the cover.

Rich: Yeah. What is it?

Mitch: "Love is as Strong as Death."

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: That's what I thought. Where does that come from? What's the next part of the play?

Rich: Well, they decide to go. They're all kind of blown away that Dineh Bekeya is a real place. And as they're talking, Ivory, who is the guy that played piano in the bar, and at the beginning, you know, you kind of get the idea that he's a little bit of a flesh pot, and of course he's been trying to work his way through this. But he says to Frank, "Wow, I wish I had a woman coming to meet me in Dineh Bekeya." And Lefty says, "Well, I happen to know about a beautiful woman down there, but you have to have a really big dowry in order to marry her, because that's the way the Navajo would do it. The man would give the dowry for the wife, because they were matriarchal culture. And Ivory says of course, "Well, I have no money," and Lefty says, "Well, I'll give you all of this gold that I've been hoarding all these years, because I no longer want it, and it will do you some good. So they take off for Dineh Bekeya, and on their way there, they run into this band of Navajos, and when they do, Lefty begins to speak with them, and he happens to know these people. And you find out in the conversation that Lefty became bitter, because he was married to Hashti Nashdoi's (sp?)...who is the leader of this particular band of Navajos...He was married to his beautiful daughter, and she had been killed by the Billegana (sp?), or the white soldiers, when the Navajos were rounded up and put in Bosque Redondo, a little part of American history not everybody might know. Concentration camps were not invented by Hitler, but I think they've been around for a long time. And these people had escaped, Hashti Nashdoi and his little band of Navajos had escaped from Bosque Redondo and were trying to get back to Dineh Bekeya, and soldiers of course were chasing them. And um...

Bob: How much of this is the actual history that you've woven into the story.

Rich: It's pretty close.

Bob: Oh OK.

Rich: I mean, the dates are a little bit off, but really close.

Bob: But these things happened.

Rich: Reasonably close, yes. And so Ivory at this point has the gold, and he says to Hashti Nashdoi, who is the leader of the Navajo band...he says, because Hashti Nashdoi says, "We'll never get back there, because the soldiers are right on us, we have nothing to defend ourselves with, and we're starved." So Ivory says to him, "Well, we have all this gold, and we passed a trading post not too far back. Why don't you go get some food, some blankets, some supplies to fight with." etc. etc. And when he says that, Rhoda, who is this beautiful Indian woman, recognizes the generosity of all this, and she begins to talk with Ivory about "Why would you do something this kind for us, you don't even know us?" And he begins to talk to her about why he would. And in the course of doing this, they fall in love. And so this beautiful Indian woman, this beautiful Navajo woman becomes the fourth creature that surrounds the throne of God. The fourth creature around the throne of God is a human, and so Buzz has his calf, Clare has her eagle, Lefty is there with the mountain lion, and now after all of this time, finally Ivory connects with the gospel that would be the most meaningful to him, which would be the gospel that is most human, which for us Protestants would be Mark, for the orthodox people it would be Matthew, but you know, you gotta make a choice here.

Bob: Right. So, I think I saw this coming earlier in the show. So not only do the animals Biblically are around the throne of God and therefore represent those things that we've already established, but these characters are now synonymous with their animal creature counterparts. So this is...if I sound dumb here, I'm just trying to oversimplify, because, you know, we want to make sure this is clear to everyone. St. Francis is now surrounded by his own band of disciples as it were, much like Jesus had the four gospel writing disciples.

Rich: Yes. Of course, Clare hasn't quite arrived yet.

Bob: Oh, this is true, this is true.

Rich: Yeah, she's gonna come from Texas and join them.

Bob: But we're working toward that.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: They're there. OK. So, the song "Love is Strong," does that represent this new relationship between Rhoda and Ivory?

Rich: Yes, yeah.

Bob: OK. Which again is played by Kevin Smith.

Rich: Right. So yeah, Kevin or Ivory will be singing this.

Bob: Singing about Rhoda. And so now, again, he has the dowry of Lefty, or does he need that anymore? Is that separate?

Rich: Lefty gave him his gold, and then he gave the gold...actually he sends Lefty and Buzz back to the trading post to get all the stuff, and so they're gone. This gives him the opportunity to spend the day with Rhoda. And this is typical in a musical. They instantly fall in love.

Bob: So the dowry really is a non-issue.

Rich: Yeah. 10 minutes later, they are...and it does turn out that she is the beautiful Navajo woman that Lefty was talking about.

Bob: That he spoke of, OK. So the dowry is important because of the culture of the Navajos, but it's not a matriarchal situation where they're put together because of the dowry. They actually fall in love, and in our modern terms would actually want to be together.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: Yeah, so it works out for the best.

Rich: And at this point they're going, "We're going to be killed tomorrow morning, so what does it matter if we have a dowry or not?"

Bob: "Love as Strong as Death." Well-said Rich.

(Song: "Love as Strong as Death")

Bob: That is Kevin Smith of DC Talk lending his voice to the Canticle Of The Plains in the part of Buzz, singing "Love as Strong as Death," a song that he sings about his new found love, Rhoda, in the sequence of events in the musical. Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker join me from the Kid Brothers of St. Frank, authors of this new musical as we world premier it on Light 99 and simulcast it around the world via the world wide web and on the internet through RealAudio. Thanks to those of you listening abroad to today's broadcast, and a special thanks to Southwind Internet Access for providing extra channels and accompanying us today in this special event. We're down to two songs left in the musical, and the story seems to be progressing rapidly at this point. We have to know now what happens...

Rich: Yeah. Oh, we do have one little correction, and that is that it was Ivory, not Buzz that was singing.

Bob: Oh, I'm sorry, Ivory.

Rich: Because at this point, Buzz returns with Lefty...

Bob: From the trading post...

Rich: ...from the trading post with guns and blankets and food and everything, and everyone is like happy that they will have something to fight with when the soldiers arrive. Of course, they know that they're all going to be beat, but they still think it's cool that they can fight, except for Frank, and he's...having come through the civil war, he has begun to question the validity of violence, even in defense. And he's kinda going, "Man, I don't feel so good about this. I don't really...if we want to follow the example of Christ, if we want to live according to the gospel, don't we need to turn the other cheek?" And of course, Lefty is going, "Turning the other cheek won't do any good." Ivory is going, "Turning the other cheek only means that we will lose everything that we've come to find." And that may work if you're a great mystic, but if you're a regular guy like I am, and you want to have a family, and you want...blah blah blah blah blah...turning the other cheek doesn't make a lot of sense." And...

Bob: Clare has not come yet.

Rich: Clare has not yet arrived, so Frank says, "I need to go pray. I need to go find out what it is I'm supposed to do here. How do I respond to this sort of thing?" So then, when he leaves, the other three guys are going...Buzz says, "The thing that worries me is that I might turn the other cheek in vain. It doesn't bother me that I might be killed or whatever, but it does bother me that that may have no meaning; it may not change anything. And a life is a terrible thing to waste." But Buzz calls the other guys back to focusing on the character of Christ, and the way he does it is by bringing a focus to the stations of the cross, but looking at...how did Christ conquer the world? And in the stations of the cross, you see the final suffering of Jesus, and you realize that there is in some bizarre miraculous way, that we do conquer by surrendering, that we do overcome by a method that makes no sense to humankind. So no one is sure at this point exactly how they're going to respond, but they know that whatever their response is, it has to be out of obedience to Christ, and they're looking now to Christ and saying, "If we want to obey you, what would that look like. What did obedience look like in your life." And this is the song that Buzz sings that is about that.

Bob: The song is called "O My Lord" and is a continuing of the Canticle Of The Plains, as we premier that on Light 99 FM

(Song: "O My Lord")

Bob: "O My Lord," music from the Canticle Of The Plains, sung by Michael Tait playing on the soundtrack the part of Buzz, right?

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: For those of you listening on the internet who missed the first two or three songs on the soundtrack, Buzz is a former slave who's come out of slavery. St. Frank, or Frank at this point picks him up in Lawrence, Kansas, through a meeting through Buzz's mom, and has joined him, and you've heard the rest of the story of how those two now have become four, and several animals in the entourage. Are we at battle time now?

Rich: Well, when they get done praying, they hear the shriek of Clare's eagle, and the soldiers who are camped very nearby, they also hear the shriek. But when they hear it, they think it's a bugle call and that they're under attack, and so they are trying to get out of their blankets, and they're trying to...you know, it's of course night, because almost the entire play takes place at night, because all of the Kid Brothers are night people, I mean we just...and the soldiers hear the shriek, and it throws the entire soldier camp into this massive confusion where they're just firing their rifles in every direction, and when the eagle shrieks, the calf hears it, and also the lion hears it, and they run over to the soldier's camp, which is now in a state of confusion. The lion leaps into this corral of horses, and all the horses run away of course, they're terrified of the lion. And so the army has now shot out all of their ammunition. Their horses are gone so they can't retreat. And there is a munitions cart, and someone hooks the calf up to the munitions cart so that they can reload, but the calf takes the munitions further away instead of bringing it toward them. So the army is, because this is a play, they are entirely defeated without anybody having to use any kind of violence. And they're defeated basically by the four creatures, or at least by the first three. What has happened in the meantime, is because the Navajo people revere the eagle, when they hear the eagle shriek, they knew that God was gonna do something. So they surround the army camp, and when light comes up, the army looks out, and they see that they are completely surrounded by a band of Navajos who are now well-fed, who now have ammunition, who are fully equipped for battle, and they assume, "Wow, we're going to be wiped out." And Rhoda, who is the human of the four creatures, then she talks to the army and says, "I talked to Jesus last night, and He told me to tell you that He doesn't like what you're doing, and that you need to back off." And then she says, "I talked to Jesus last night, and He told me He was concerned about you, because you don't know how to be happy. And you are violent against us now, because the war between yourselves has ended. And someday you'll take that violence across the seas. And that won't make you happy. And after that, you will do violence to your own children, and that won't make you happy. You'll never be happy until you learn to love life and quit being violent. And He told me that you probably would never believe me." And then she says, "I talked to Jesus last night, and he told me to ask you if you were hungry, because we have more food than we need to get us back to Dineh Bekeya, so we will leave you what food we don't need. And he told me to ask you if you were cold, because we have more blankets than you have left us people to wrap in them. And we're going to leave you these blankets. And He told me to tell you that we would provide an escort to get you back to Fort Sumner, or Bosque Redondo, because you've made this world a violent world, and He's made you defenseless in it, and we will protect you to get you back to where you belong. But don't bother us anymore. And when she says that the band of Navajos leave to go to Dineh Bekeya. And Rhoda, the beautiful Navajo woman walks back toward the camp where Buzz and Ivory, and now Clare has joined them, because she came with her eagle. And they discover that Frank can't be found anywhere, and they're afraid that he was killed in all the confusion. And they all go out searching for him, no one can find him. They come back, and as they're talking about Frank, he comes back. And they sort of sum up his life. They talk about how he went out to look for Christ, but everywhere he went, he spread Christ. They talk about how he didn't own a thing, but all the resources of the world seemed to be at his disposal. They talked about all those things about Frank, and Frank comes back and joins them. And Clare finally says, "The only thing that I don't get, the only thing that doesn't really make sense, is I thought that we were going to meet between the four sacred mountains." Or, she says, "I thought we were going to meet in Dineh Bekeya." And Frank says, "Well, in a sense we did. Where is Dineh Bekeya?" And she said, "Well, Dineh Bekeya is the land of the people. It's the land between the four sacred mountains." And he says, "Well look around us, and we have four sacred creatures. We have the eagle, we have the human, we have the calf, and we have the lion. And those four creatures surround the throne of God, and they sing 'Holy, holy, holy' and bring worship to Him. And wherever God is, that is really where the land of the people is. That is where we really belong. And when we're close to God, we can come close to one another. And apart from God, we don't have any place; we don't have any dwelling." And so they all begin to recognize what I think is at the core of Franciscan spirituality, that our experience as humans is only as rich as we come close to an experience of God. And this is when Frank sneaks off again, as is his habit, and he wants to go sing love songs to God. And "You Are All" is the last song of the thing, and it's sort of his...this is based again on another of the prayers of St. Francis. And it's sort of just a closing worship song that he sings and lifts up to God.

Bob: So the part of Frank sings "You Are All," the final song in the soundtrack of the Canticle Of The Plains.

(Song: "You Are All")

Bob: And there you have it, the soundtrack to the musical, the Canticle Of The Plains, concluded by Frank and "You Are All." So, the play ends there. He is not a saint at the end of the show. It does not cover that. Of course, that happens much later in history.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: But would this Frank also be canonized or be made a saint later in life you think, much like the original?

Rich: If he were real. (laughing)

Bob: Yeah. I mean, do you think after writing the story that this guy is worthy of that same...would you give him...you know what I mean?

Rich: Well, I think there are two ways of looking at saints. One is a saint as being someone who has been through this life and now lives in the presence of God, and that's all involved in the communion of saints from the apostles creed. And there's also the sense in which because we..."saint" means "holy" or "sanctified" or "set apart," and I think there is a very real sense in which each of us should look at our own lives as being a life set apart unto God, and so there is I think a valid sense in which sainthood is not something...there is that sense in which anyone who is a Christian, anyone who has been claimed by Christ is in a sense a saint, and the idea is that we should live as if we were...whether or not we have achieved holiness, and whether or not we have experienced some sanctifying thing, I guess, to put it in sort of Nazarene terms...I'm not sure...this all gets a little bit confusing to me. I just kinda go, "Whether or not we would call ourselves a saint, it's a good thing to live as if we were."

Bob: Yeah. There's an author, Jerry Bridges says that if you recognize that you're in the pursuit of holiness, then you're probably not really in it, because you shed yourself of all of that recognition and all of those things if you really are in the midst of it.

Rich: Yeah.

Bob: That's kind of a cool thing. Mitch, before we go, any last thoughts on the musical?

Mitch: Uh, thanks for playing it. (laughter)

Bob: From outside the story, I take it...are you happy with...Rich mentioned the other night at the concert that sometimes these things are rewritten many times over, and you may rewrite the script. Now that the soundtrack is done, are you happy at least with the musical portion of it?

Mitch: Yeah, real happy with it. It was a lot of fun to do, and...

Bob: First time you've recorded yourself? I mean, first time that there are Mitch songs recorded permanently for the archives?

Mitch: First time.

Bob: Wow. Well, very nice premier.

Mitch: Thank you.

Bob: You did an excellent job. Someone else from Wichita to be proud of and to watch. Do you aspire to do solo work outside of this musical? Are you the next Rich Mullins?

Mitch: No. (laughing)

Bob: (laughing) You'd be surprised how many people were saying that in the lobby though, after the shows the last couple nights.

Mitch: Whoa. That's a great compliment, but...

Bob: But do you think there will ever be a time when you do music of your own?

Mitch: Um, there could be.

Bob: Could be. Haven't decided.

Mitch: I'm leaning that way.

Bob: OK. We'll look forward to it. We'll try to throw you some support if that happens.

Mitch: (laughing) OK, thanks.

Bob: Rich, as always, thanks for being here.

Rich: Man, thanks for having me. I so appreciate your support and interest and time.

Bob: It's always a lot of fun. And our apologies to the audience. Thank you for indulging us. Rich and I both tend to be long-winded, although I don't think I could ever top you. (laughter) But we've gone an hour longer than we intended to, but thanks to all those who stuck with us, and again, thank to those of you listening abroad via the internet. We hope that you've been somewhat entertained today, and we do apologize for the late start on our internet feed. We did have a couple of problems that were worked out very efficiently by our friends down at Southwind Internet Access. To those of you listening locally, we'll get back to regular programming in just a few minutes. Because some of you on the internet missed the opening numbers, I'm gonna play the first song from the album, "There You Are" one more time. I think we missed the first three songs, but due to time constraints, we're gonna just squeeze in "There You Are" again, which is a nifty song to start out and kind of set the story. So if you're joining us in progress, we'll play that right after the break and then get back to regular programming, alright? Thanks for joining us. This has been a world premier of the Canticle Of The Plains, a musical based on the life of St. Francis, produced and written by The Kid Brothers of St. Frank: Rich Mullins, Mitch McVicker and Beaker. This has been a copyrighted radio broadcast of KTLI and our good friends at Crucible Productions. Any taping or rebroadcast of this is strictly prohibited. Thank you.


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