Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA ~ nurturing relationships

Today's topic for Armchair BEA week is — Nurturing Relationships
Post about a relationship you've formed with a particular publisher, author, blogger, or bookstore; share your thoughts and tips about connecting and building those relationships.
I've had trouble all day coming up with something that fits this category.  Then I realized I could talk about the discussion I'm having with Helen of Helen's Book Blog.  I told you about her yesterday, when Armchair BEA suggested we work the network by pointing out some of our favorite bloggers.  Her post about bloggers included me, and since then we've been discussing what she said, I said, she said, I said.  Like this:
Helen wrote:
"It's funny, I think Bonnie and I are very different in some ways (age, stage of life, geography, religion), yet I really enjoy seeing what books she is reading and hearing about her family and life."

I left a comment:"
I'm old enough to be your mother and live over 1900 miles from you, but we may not be as far apart on religion as you imagine. I've been thinking about this all day and have decided to write about it at greater length than I can do here — maybe I can say it all in a blog post, or maybe my explanation will require a whole book. I'll start with my opinion that the best way to 'get to' people and change their thinking is to do it from the INSIDE, not by trying to punch holes in their beliefs from the outside, which never works. Does that give you a clue where I'm headed?"

Helen responded:
"I do get what you're saying and I almost didn't list religion as a difference between us because of how I think you are on certain issues... I feel like we're being careful and subversive!"

And I said:
"Careful and subversive — the nicest thing anyone has said about me in ages! Thanks!  I am, however, glad you mentioned religion. You notice I don't say a lot about specifics on my blog, and I debated with myself a long time before adding two specific words to my 'intro' of myself on Monday. Maybe this will prod me to figure out how to say what I've been trying to say for years. I want to be a more vocal heretic before I die, especially since two of my three children already think I'm going to hell in a handbasket."
And now you want to know what those two little words were, don't you?  Here's an abridged version of what I wrote:
"Besides being a grandmother, I'm an ordained minister, a former bookstore owner, and a friend of a cat named Kiki."
Ordained and minister — those are the two words that I don't talk about a lot, at least not on this blog.  There are two reasons why I don't — first, people tend to box me in by assuming they know what I think because they've seen enough loud-mouthed preachers on television, and second, a lot of people still believe women have no place in the pulpit and want to hit me over the head with the quote from the Bible that "women should be silent in the churches" (First Corinthians 14:34).  Obviously, I disagree on both counts.

Those who assume they know my thinking frequently dismiss me — even before I say a word! — because they disagree with that kind of thinking, which isn't even the way I think.  I usually let people learn that I don't have a closed mind BEFORE mentioning what I did before I retired.  (Actually, the last "job" I had, after I retired from ministry, was bookstore owner and bookseller.  It's easier to discuss that aspect of my life on a book blog.)

Thank you, Helen, for nudging me to talk about this on my blog.  I love it when relationships open up opportunities to know each other better.  Helen may turn out to be appalled at some of my thinking (and if you are, Helen, I hope we can discuss it — whether here in this open forum or more privately in emails).  I don't agree with everything Christians say they believe, which is why my daughters consider me heretical and why I'll have more to say on this subject in the days to come, right here on Bonnie's Books.

Ah, just in time!  I checked back at Helen's Book Blog to see if she had said any more on this subject.  She had, five minutes ago:
Helen said:
"Bonnie--ah, a subversive kind of woman!"

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

Great post, I am really enjoying our back and forth on this and it's one of the reasons that I love the online book blogging world. It is so easy to pigeon-hole someone when we only get little snippets from them. And, as you say, a label is dangerous because people make assumptions. It's so much better, but more difficult to allow people to reveal themselves slowly and reserve judgment.

And, religion is such a difficult topic all on its own. To each of us, whatever our beliefs, religion is such a deeply rooted feeling. I guess I am stating the obvious since we have conflict all over the world based on religion. Ok. Gotta' stop and get my day started!