Q&A with Jacci Bulman, author of Talking God: Daring to Listen
17 June 2021
We spoke with inspirational poet and author Jacci Bulman about her new book, Talking God: Daring to Listen – available to pre-order now! Talking God explores the valuable and often neglected tool of listening as a way to spiritual learning. Jacci invites you to reflect on the personal beliefs many of us hold towards God through listening in on a series of eleven inspiring interviews with people of Christian or ‘Jesus-connected’ faith.
Watch the video below and scroll down for the full interview.
Watch Jacci speak about what inspired her to write Talking God.
What inspired you to write Talking God?
I wanted to go further than saying “I believe God is Love”. I wanted to explore my own personal faith in Christ…so I decided to listen to a wide range of people about theirs! I felt that by listening and understanding different ways of seeing God, of knowing Jesus, I would gain more clarity, not confusion…and I did.
What do you hope the book will achieve?
I hope the book will help people see that we can learn by finding what we agree and connect with in different beliefs to our own, rather than looking for how we can criticize and separate…it’s a great way of learning, finding our ‘common thread’. I also hope that it will help people understand more clearly what they personally believe about God, Jesus, and Christianity; how they can actively move forwards with their own faith.
Can you describe your first experience of God?
When I was young, I used to go on walks and call into the local churchyard, where there was a tiny old grave at the back, by a tree. It simply said ‘Little Hannah’. I liked collecting pretty stones, flowers and things to put by her grave…and I guess that was my beginning to understand that there is ‘more than this’ to life. There is God, heaven, and Love.
Did you find anything similar across the beliefs of the 11 pilgrims? Any main differences?
The greatest similarity was people are all trying to find their way to understand and connect to God’s love. They all use different ‘languages’ and ways of seeing ‘truth,’ but beneath all the different texts, there is a longing for being held in that love. The greatest difference is in how much we read and follow the Bible literally, as the exact Word of God, or see it as a great collection of books written by divinely inspired people, but with fallibility.
Did a particular pilgrim’s beliefs speak to you?
I can honestly say that I learned as much from people who had very different beliefs to mine, as from those with whom I ‘connected’ very easily. No-one has exactly the same beliefs as me – and that is how faith can be real, living, honest. I learned a lot from both Richard and Tim about the dynamic quality of the Trinity – of God’s love being an active eternal sharing, which we belong within. I learned from Martyn about the exciting complexity of the word ‘truth’…and I enjoyed opening my awareness to God’s ‘Oneness’ with Bob and Brigid. But I genuinely did learn something from everyone, which was perhaps one of the greatest teachings for me in creating this book.
What are the key themes of the book?
To value and practice true listening. To explore how the word ‘truth’ can mean many things, on many levels. To find which spiritual ‘language’ best helps us each comprehend God. To reach for us finding unity within our wide diversity of faith. To be honest and brave with our own exploration of what we believe about Jesus and God. To look at how we can make our faith active, with loving as a verb. And to discover that God’s love is beyond all words…which is a good thing.
In the book you write, “How much do we fail to learn or grow when we do not listen because we are so sure ‘our’ way is only the right way.” Can you explain what you meant by this?
I find over and over again that when I am only interested in ‘telling people’ what I believe, what I think is ‘right’, and not in understanding what they believe, what they think is ‘right’, I learn a lot less, I grow a lot less in my own understanding of life and of God. Being willing to listen and ‘exchange’ ideas, which is true communication, not trying to push our own truth onto people, enables us all to explore truth more widely, with more connectivity. We can then live out our faith with awareness and not be ‘blinkered’. It does not mean just ‘absorbing’ other people’s views, but it means respecting them. To love and respect others as we hope they will love and respect us, as Jesus showed us! I believe he often asked questions and listened.
Daring to Listen
by Jacci Bulman
Talking God invites you to reflect on the personal beliefs many of us hold towards God through listening in on a series of eleven inspiring interviews with people of Christian or ‘Jesus-connected’ faith. Each of these dedicated spiritual pilgrims give responses to fourteen searching questions about God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity, which offer a wide range of perspectives on issues of faith and spiritual truth.
Also available as an Ebook.
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About the author:
Jacci Bulman grew up around Accrington, Lancashire, before studying Human Sciences at Oxford University. She overcame a brain tumour and skin cancer, co-founded a charity for disabled children in Vietnam (The Kianh Foundation), and began to focus increasingly on spiritual understanding at its simplest – that God is Love. She has published two poetry collections, A Whole Day Through From Waking (Cinnamon Press) and In the Holding (Indigo Dreams). Talking God – Daring to Listen is her first non-fiction book.