Slow Reading, Slow Faith - On Being Full
I'm new to Ruminate and thought I'd introduce myself. I'm married and have six children. (More on that some other time.)
We have been married for almost seventeen years and have logged plenty of "highway miles" on the complicated road of life. We've faced challenges with jobs, children, school, and homes. We've seen members of our family die. We've seen divorce and have even wondered about quitting ourselves. For all that, we've decided (God willing) we're staying put. We're in it for the long haul.
What's made the difference?
I think its something like what Luna Park reviewer Beaux Boudreaux called "the unflinching look." Take a look at his review of Ruminate 06
: "What makes the work in Ruminate stand out is the way it stares at “what-is unflinchingly….These works consider life by the light of Christian dogma, and, at the same time, Christian dogma itself, through the lens of common life." (Luna Park) This so-called "unflinching look" peers into the visual field of seemingly contradictory sacred and common aspects of life and is strengthened by faith in Jesus.
Why is faith so important? People are constantly trying on their own, and failing, to bring these two realities together. The simple truth is we need both. Jesus gives us that in his holy person. He is fully God (sacred) and fully Human (secular, common): two distinct natures and one person forever. Believing in Jesus, then, brings about a change in the way we see things. By faith, we take common pleasure to sacred things, and see glory in the ordinary, and even ugly, parts of life.
That's why I'm glad to be part of Ruminate: we tackle head-on the challenge faith gives of delighting in both the tragedy and beauty of God in the world.
That challenge, in fact, is at the heart of our name: "Ruminate." The rumen is a stomach on a cow where chewed grass is digested by microbes only to be pushed back into the mouth as a cud. As non-cows, our rumenae are souls. For us, ruminate means "chewing on life."
My wife and I have discovered in marriage it's not easy to hold Christian dogma and common life together. Like chewing on something substantial, it takes concentration.
But we've come to see that such faith-chewing is the best way to live. The most satisfactory way. The most delectable way. I like to think of Ruminate as part of the now popular "Slow Food" movement. As I see it, our mission is to help set the table for a banquet feast of solid faith. Dinner, anyone?
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Also in The Waking
Where I am living now, the seasons have no pivot... Springs are mercurial, senselessly violent in their cold and snow. I experience winter here like a death, wait endlessly for a green that will outgrow my grief.
To end, I will not offer any more of my own words on this transition—the small one (me leaving Ruminate) or the big one (the pandemic). Instead, I turn to the words of the regular contributors of The Waking. Collectively, their voices tell a story—one of grief, hope, and resurrection.
Don't dwell on if the notes you sang were fine-tuned or not, as you can't take the notes back. A lot of plans in life fall flat, but the best that one can do is learn from it and aim to do better the next time.