ru’mi-nate: to chew the cud; to muse; to meditate; to think again; to ponder

Here at Thinking through Christianity, we try to be a place that points to good art at the intersection of faith. We do this because imagination is crucial to Christianity and because art speaks to us about the world and ourselves, telling the Truth better than exposition.

Since 2006, our friends at Ruminate Magazine have been a beacon in the darkness that can all too often be Christianity and the Arts—both the fear of and subsequent disdain for contemporary “secular” art and the muck of mediocre “christian” art.

Allow me to let them tell you a little about themselves:

Ruminate is a quarterly magazine of short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that resonate with the complexity and truth of the Christian faith. Each issue is a themed forum for literature and art that speaks to the existence of our daily lives while nudging us toward a greater hope. Because of this, we strive to publish quality work accounting for the grappling pleas, as well as the quiet assurances of an authentic faith. Ruminate Magazine… was created by a group of fellow writers, artists, and believers who wanted a space for the thoughtful expressions of those who are nudged forward, backward, and sideways by faith in God.

Speak. Grapple. Nudge. This is art—life.

The magazine’s most recent issue, “In Search of Song,” includes a short story from my friend and colleague LaToya Watkins titled, “The Mother.” As a means of giving props to LaToya and enticing you to check out the magazine for yourself, here’s an excerpt:

The visits done died down a little bit now. Some still come. The rustlers like this on sitting in front of me. They still asking bout Hawk. Bout how he come to call hisself the Messiah. Bout who his daddy is, but I ain’t got nothing for them.

I look out the window I keep my chair pulled up next to. Ain’t no sun, just cold and still. Banjo lift his head up when he see my eyes on him, but it don’t take him long to let it fall back on his paws. He done got his rope a little tangled up. Can’t move too much with it like that, but he can breathe and lay down. He alright. I’ll go out and work out the knot when I can–when this gal leave.

I move my eyes away from the window and put them on the girl. She got a long bird face and her teeth stick out a little too far for her tiny mouth. I can tell by the way the sides of her mouth drooping down, she ain’t used to being in a place like mine. I don’t want to make her feel more uncomfortable, so I don’t say nothing bout the pregnant looking roach crawling slow up the wood-paneled wall behind her head.

“I reckon peoples be just like them trees, you see?” Her face blank. I can tell she don’t see. “Everybody got a season to go through being ugly and naked.” I laugh a little bit. 

“Yes, ma’am,” she say. Then she sigh and let her eyes roll halfway round in the sockets. “We all have problems, but can we–“

“That enough heat on you?” I ask. “Can’t never keep this old lean-to warm. That enough heat on you–” I stop myself from calling her “miss”. I want to spank the back of my own hand. She younger than me. Probably bout by twenty years or more. Still, I want to make sure that the old electric heater sitting on the cracked and splintered floor near her feet humming is doing what it’s supposed to do. Sometimes it blow cold air instead heat like it’s supposed to. I want to make sure it ain’t freezing her.

She look confused bout my question. Them lines in her head get deeper, and she start shaking her foot a little. She want her story for the paper. Want to find out if I think my son was God like them folks what was following behind him in Abilene. 

Are you hooked yet? Order your copy here.

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