This is our truth, tell us yours
We’re coming up to a year of this blog in its current form, and it’s time for me to reflect on why I blog, and why I blog in this way. Jem and myself have been involved in a couple of blogging projects which have been a learning experience. I believe in blogging and community publishing, and I believe in the power of ideas, but I’m also aware that a full on Carterathon would have a readership counted in single figures.
That’s the first thing that Jem does for me as an individual – she provides a variety of opinion and knowledge that gathers a much wider audience for my witterings. Her writing is more popular than mine, both because it’s more accessible and better, and because she has a wider hinterland than I. That alone would be sufficient reason alone for me to be grateful to her.
However, there’s a much wider impact on me from Jem’s consent to work with me on this blog. It’s no longer about me, it’s about the blog, and its editorial approach. I had to go away and think about how a blog written by an atheist and a christian could work.
I think it works, although, dear reader, you are the final judge of that.
It works because I have learned to value listening to Jem – wanting to blog with her only makes sense if I listen to her, and make space and time for her ideas and thoughts. It isn’t sufficient to let her have her space, so that we blog in parallel; I admire her activism and her analysis, so I have to not just make space for her, but to think about her reaction before I write.
I’m not talking about avoiding conflict by diluting a message, but about asking what I can learn from her analysis before I write, not by listening to her reactions. It’s taught me lessons about how I can collaborate with others, and about how you build coalitions in pursuit of share goals. It’s the difference between synthesis and cooperation – thinking about her perspective on what I would say helpsme change, and I like that impact.
Those lessons are easy to explain in 5000 words, but in real life it’s easier to show that a christian woman can blog alongside an atheist man in a patient way than to explain it. So I hope we carry on doing this for quite a while.
The intersection between Jem and myself is only about me and Jem, but it’s also a chance to show off what we do as a model for what we should do; listening, collaborating and pulling ideas together to have a greater impact.