Saturday, December 27, 2008
Has anyone found any good resources, or have any thoughts, about that topic? I would appreciate your input.
Happy New Year, everyone. 2009 is going to be a better year, I hope.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It was a very extroverted weekend in general. Four of us were staying in the same hotel room, so there was no where I could retreat. Two of my friends are extreme extroverts, with seemingly limitless social energy. Since it was just for a few days, I tended to go along with the activities they wanted to do, though by the third night I was exhausted. As an introvert, I require more sleep than my extroverted friends, but the sleeping arrangements did not allow for adequate sleep. My friends are some of my favorite people in the world, but by the end of the weekend I was definitely irritable and in desperate need of some personal space.
What I was happy about, by the end of the weekend, was how much my self-understanding has progressed over the past few years. A few years ago, I would have come home from a trip like that and my wife and I would have wound up in conflict because of introverted and extroverted differences. Yet we have come to understand each other's differences, and she knew that I would not have much capacity for recapping my trip or listening to her talk about her weekend. I assured her that as soon as I had more energy we could catch up on what happened. I felt annoyed when I got home but I knew not to take it out on her and she knew not to take it personally. I recognized that the next day I would need an entire day to myself to recharge and find my bearings again. I also knew that my brain chemicals were off kilter, and that as an introvert, I needed a lot of sleep to restore balance. I made sure my schedule the next morning didn't start too early.
Self-understanding not only benefits us, but it benefits others and our relationships with them.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Here are a few things I added to my manuscript:
1. Section on the desert fathers - whom I call "introverted ancestors."
2. Section on the difference between introverted brains and extroverted brains.
3. An encouragement for introverts to sometimes "reveal your process": intimacy is built in messiness and vulnerability, and if introverts only tell people the conclusions they have reached without letting them into the decisionmaking process, they miss out on intimacy with others.
4. Section on the practice of sabbath
A committee is meeting today to recommend a title; I'll let you know when we have decided on it.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In general the response was very positive, and the feedback that wasn't positive was very helpful and constructive. One reader was positively glowing in her notes, saying that she felt more helped by reading the manuscript than she offered help to IVP! She called my book "groundbreaking."
Now I'm sifting through the feedback and making the necessary changes to my manuscript. I'm also compiling a "For Further Reading" book list and some reflection questions that will be inserted at the end of every chapter. I also have about 6000 words to excise, which is a brutal exercise for me. We are also still working on a title.
After I send my revised manuscript, my editor (who is awesome, by the way) will go through it and copyedit it, and then after that we start moving towards printing, cover designs, and sending it out for reviews before it is published. I'm working on some names of well respected introverts that could write blurbs on the back of the book. The whole process takes a LONG time. We're still shooting for a release date of fall '09.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Let's be honest friends. We all love our family and friends and church families, and we relish the meaning of the holiday season, but it's not exactly the time of the year that many of us shine.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Traditionally introversion has been identified by its behaviors. Martin Olsen Laney, author of the foundational book The Introvert Advantage, identified three main behavioral patterns: 1. Find energy in solitude 2. Processes internally 3. Prefers depth over breadth. In chapter 2 of my book (title and release date still forthcoming) I discuss these expressions of introversion, but I'm now adding a section that examines recent research that introversion and extroversion are actually hard wired into our brains.
Psychological and neuroscientific studies have discovered three main differences between introverted and extroverted brains:
1. Introverts have more naturally active brains than extroverts. Though introverts often have an aura of calmness on the surface, their brains are abuzz with activity. Thus, they require less external stimulation than extroverts, and too much outside stimulation can cause them to feel overwhelmed.
2. Second, blood flows in different paths in introverted and extroverted brains. Introverts have more blood flow in the brain, but it moves in a different path than extroverted blood. The blood in introverted brains flows to the areas that are focused on internal things like remembering, problem solving, and planning. On the other hand, the blood in extroverted brains flows to the areas used for processing external activities and sensory experiences.
3. Introverts and extroverts have different chemical balances in their brains. Extroverts require more dopamine, a neurotransmitter (a chemical substance that transmits nerve impulses) that is produced through motion and activity. They are less sensitive to dopamine than introverts and thus require more of it. Introverted brains, on the other hand, are dominated by another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is important for long term memory and a feeling of calm. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, which reacts to stress with a "rest and repose" response. Dopamine, on the other hand, produces a "fight or flight" reaction to stress.
I go into these things in greater detail in my book, but it is becoming increasingly clear that introversion is not a mere social construct or learned behavior. We act as an introverts because we ARE introverts in our genetic makeup.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It might be a little slow to open if you play it directly from this page. Download it for faster playback.
"The Goals and Perils of Community Life"
La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church 10/19/08
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I've come to realize that I actually enjoy reflecting on most of the experiences I've had than I do having the experiences themselves. I enjoy being around people, but I tend to walk among the fringes of a community, observing and reflecting. I'm not sure how much of this is inherent to my introversion, and how much of this stems from my passions as a writer. I interviewed this week at a wonderful church, but I left feeling like I may be a better fit as a quasi-outsider than as an insider leading people in the action of the community.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
"I am just an old and tired Christian, and I just recently cut down on the activities I was doing because I had wandered from the real reasons we should do things."
"You certainly know how to jolt a congregation! No one nodded off during that one!" (from a little old lady with a walker - hilarious. Worth it just for that comment)
"You are out of the closet now!" (as an introvert? a preacher? a pastor? I really didn't know what he was talking about, but it was awesome)
"I'm an introvert and now my husband understands me better!"
Information about an online PhD is available for busy people who want to pursue advanced study of religion. For many pastors, advanced studies will be very helpful in dealing with church members on a daily basis.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Tomorrow marks the official public unveiling of my "introvert sermon." This is the sermon, or at least a version of it, I expect to be giving for the next couple of years when invited to speak about introversion, the church, and ministry. It's a miniature version of chapter 5 of my book ("Introverted Community and Relationships"), in which I discuss the misconceptions we have about what spiritual growth and community participation looks like. I don't know if the church records sermons, but I hope to put up an mp3 of it if they do.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I'm working on a sermon to give at my church in a couple of weeks that has to do with belonging and participation in a community. It's treating questions like how do we participate in Christian community? How does our particular community define belonging - what are the badges our community expects us to wear in order to truly be considered members? Are those healthy, biblical gauges? More on that later.
On a related note, I have a friend who has recently started grad school and she was describing her first class to me. 40% of her grade in that class is class participation. There is a TA who literally puts checks next to people's names as they make comments - if you make 3 relevant, helpful comments you get full marks for that particular class. If you make a comment that is tangential, you lose points, and if you don't make any comments, you get a zero for the day. My friend is an extrovert, but she struggles to make 3 comments every class, and many people in the class feel a lot of pressure in this system. This sort of thing really frustrates me, because it doesn't take into account different styles of learning and participation, and it is clearly biased towards extroverts. What about the people who prefer to listen and reflect before they speak? I have a friend - Susan Cain- who is writing a book called Quiet! The Importance of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. In her book she is looking at central institutions in American life - like our educational system, and exposing the bias towards extroversion inherent in that system. This is a prime example.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This flies in the face of all the old research that introverts make up between 1/4 and 1/3 of the population. CAPT says it's NOT that there are now more introverts in the population than there were previously, it's that the sample size is broader and the study is more comprehensive. The old findings were based on research conducted in the 1960's(!)
This is pretty huge, because the assumption all along has been that the extroverted bias in our culture (and in churches) owed to the majority status that extroverts occupied. But now that we know that introverts are actually in the majority, it only demonstrates our culture's prejudice towards introverted ways of thinking and acting even more.
What's your response? Where do you want to take this?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"Leadership personality," "leadership style," and "leadership traits" do not exist. Among the most effective leaders I have encountered and worked with in a half century, some locked themselves into their office and others were ultragregarious...some were quick and impulsive; others studied and studied again and then took forever to come to a decision. Some were warm and instantly "simpatico"; others remained aloof even after years of working closely with others, not only with outsiders like me but with the people within their own organization...."
"Some were as austere in their private lives as a hermit in the desert; others were ostentacious and pleasure loving and whooped it up at every opportunity. Some were good listeners, but among the most effective leaders I have worked with were also a few loners who listened only to their own inner voice. The one and only personality trait the effective ones I have encountered did have in common was something they did not have: they had little or no "charisma" and little use either for the term or for what it signifies."
From his foreword inThe Leader of the Future: New Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the Next Era, pp. xi-xii
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, p xiv
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It all comes down to marketing. It occurs to me that marketing to introverts might be aided by creative approaches. Introverts utilize technology and read quite a bit. What do you think? What are your ideas for marketing to our demographic?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
12:15PM Pacific Standard Time
Submitted to InterVarsity Press
Introduction and personal narrative
The Introverted Difference
Introverted Community and Relationships
Introverted Leadership 1: The Right to Lead
Introverted Leadership 2: Leading as Ourselves
Introverts in Church
A Release Date
Study Guide Questions
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
If anyone out there has some thoughts they want to share on this site, I'm offering opportunities for guest bloggers since I'm a little tied up. If you have something you want to write, or have already written, email it to me and I'll consider posting it!
By the way, I've just joined Facebook. If you want to connect with me, just let me know you're a regular reader of my blog.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
It's fun to think about the tone of voice in the question. Was the person genuinely curious or was it more of a "Seriously, WHY in the world would God create introverts?" Kind of like how I sometimes ask why God created mosquitoes.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I feel like I'm swimming in a sea of my own words. I'm so grateful for editors who can help sort this mess out!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
What would you like your church to do to reach out to introverts? What are changes it could make in its teaching, programs, events, worship services, structures, and anything else to affirm the value of introversion?
Please add your comments to this post or else email me if you're more comfortable. I would love to hear from as many of you as possible!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
“An introverted evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” That was the response I received when I explained this chapter to a 70 year old retired hospice chaplain who was formerly known for her sensitivity and gentleness. If the juxtaposition of “introverted” and “evangelist” does indeed result in an oxymoron, then it owes not to an inherent contradiction but to a caricature, a culturally distorted understanding of evangelism. In all circles, Christian and non-Christian alike, the word evangelism has an incredible power to conjure negative images, cringes, even guttural reactions. At its worst, the word is a window to images of hellfire street corner preachers spouting to passersby. Even at its best, evangelism summons pictures of animated extroverts armed with quick wit, apologetic skill, and the gift of gab.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Here's another one I've been tossing around:
Peace in Quiet: Introverts in the Church
Good? Bad? Meh?
Friday, July 18, 2008
One reason we feel guilty about our lack of evangelism, and tired when we think about doing evangelism, is that we tend to have a very individualistic concept of our responsibility. Most of us assume that if we got serious about sharing our faith, we would need to build friendships, talk to strangers, have people in our homes for meals and social events, study the Bible with unchurched people, explain the gospel, call them to Christ and then follow them up. We think we have to do it all. p.55
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
"This paradigm of evangelism is a barrier to Christians, for it leaves them feeling like they don't have a part to play in it. If they aren't extroverted, persuasive, an expert on their product, skilled at responding to the questions that will come up, and able to be pushy and assertive when it comes to making the close, then they don't identify with evangelism as part of their life and gifts."
~Rick Richardson, Reimagining Evangelism, p. 17
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
"First, this is an illustration of the power of listening. Knowing my friend, I'm not surprised people feel loved in her presence. She has an unusual capacity to listen with depth and compassion - more than she is even aware of. Listening well is a powerful way to share the love of Christ. [!!!!] Second, this illustrates the power of prayer. When we ask God to let people experience the love of Jesus through us, something happens that can't be quantified or easily explained. That's because prayer involves mysteries that happen to the soul." p. 110-111
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
"Introverts care what people think, so they'll be sensitive in their approach to others."
Mike Bechtle, Evangelism for the Rest of Us, p. 48
Friday, June 27, 2008
Chapter 7 was a more abstract chapter about leadership theory and how current leadership discussions, and also some biblical discussions, open up the doors for introverts to lead effectively. Chapter 8 is a more practical look at how introverts can lead in the church in a way that is true to their natures. Without giving too much away, here are some topics I discussed:
1. The example of Moses, who had many struggles that parallel the experiences of introverts in leadership.
2. Self-care: what are the pitfalls introverted leaders face and how do we strike a healthy balance in ministry?
3. Introverted preaching
4. Sharing your life as a leader
5. Following Jesus' example of focusing on "the few"
6. Spiritual direction and applying the principles of spiritual direction to all of our ministry
7. Team leadership: introverts and extroverts leading together
8. Communicating with extroverts
Two chapters to go:
1. Chapter 9: introverts and evangelism
2. Chapter 10: introverts in church.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
They didn't pay me for this promotion. But I hope they do.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Take, for example, this one:
B. Characteristics and qualifications needed
Proven track record in the following areas of ministry as a:
• Lay leader – training and small groups
• Manager of programs, staff, volunteers and committees
• Team builder – compassionate and relational
• Motivator – energetic and visionary
• Encourager –transparent and humbleI mean nothing against this church at all - in fact it is a very good church - but it strikes me that they are looking for one person to be at least the equivalent of what perhaps three people could bring to the position. The "manager of programs" bullet point describes someone who fits what Barna calls "strategic leader" function. The team builder qualification fits, appropriately, the "team builder" function. And the motivator characteristic fits the "directing leader" function. Barna says that individual leaders major on one of these functions, yet this church (and so many others) seems to be searching for a pastor with multiple personality disorder.
And of course, I can't help noticing that this position sounds EXTREMELY extroverted.
Now playing: Coldplay - Low
Monday, June 16, 2008
1. Being married to an extrovert and all the joys and struggles that go into that. The truth is, if I were married to another introvert, I'm not sure how much conversation would take place! My wife definitely fills up the awkward silences.
2. Introverts and evangelism. That is the chapter that is up next, and my introverted pastor preached a sermon on it yesterday. There will be more to follow in this space about this topic.
3. Introverts and birthdays. Most of my friends throw parties for their birthdays. I like to go up to wine country with my wife, play some golf, take in the scenery, drink some wine, and enjoy the quiet.
4. Introverts and sports. I just finished watching the US Open, a fierce battle between Tiger Woods, intense introvert, and Rocco Mediate, chatty, affable extrovert. It was a very interesting dynamic - the crowd seemed pretty divided between the two. Rocco was accessible, whereas Tiger is passionate and unflappable.
5. Introverts and pets. I have realized how much my affinity for cats is related to my personality type. Cats are definitely introverts - they are happy by themselves, they usually run when encountering strangers but they are loyal and affectionate to their owners, and they are laid back and mellow.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Type Talk at Work, Kroeger,Thuesen, and Rutledge. 76
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Writing a book is like giving birth to a snarling 8 headed monster. It's so much more than sitting down in front of your laptop and typing. It's more like a war, as your own words and ideas battle you and each other. In writing your hopes, dreams, fears and inadequacies are exposed. You learn what it is you most want in life and how incompetent you are to actually achieve it.
I've written seven and a half chapters in my book now, and I've identified some patterns in the process, some phases that I invariably go through:
1. The "Aha" phase. This is the phase of researching, thinking, and interviewing. This is the phase of discovery, as I begin to see things I had not seen before. I have great synergistic moments as I talk with others and we find that we share thoughts, experiences, and hopes. I'll be reading a book and a sentence or a concept will practically shout out to me. I'll begin to believe that I have valuable things to say and that others will be interested.
2. The "Pulitzer Prize" phase. This is the phase of conceptualizing, organizing, and outlining. Inevitably I get here and my ego tries to leap out of my body and make itself known. Here I become convinced that my ideas are brilliant and my writing is profound. No one has ever written a book this sublime. N.T. Wright will read my book and say "Why didn't I think of that?!"
3. The "Total Incompetence" phase. This one follows about ten minutes on the heels of the Pulitzer Prize phase. I'll encounter the first obstacle in writing my chapter and my ego will not only find its way back into my body but shrink to 1/8th its normal size. This is where I will question everything I've ever known about the world and myself, including why in the world I thought I could write a book. This is where the dark scenarios creep in and I'll imagine my manuscript sitting in my editor's trash can, the smoke still floating off the singed pages. Or someone going to review my book and being unable to do so because the astonished tears of laughter keep him from being able to see straight.
4. The "Complete Disorientation" phase. Once I power through stage 3 and finish a draft of my chapter, I go to read it over and immediately move into this phase. My first draft tends to be very rough and practically stream of consciousness writing. If I don't know where something should go, I'll just write it anyway. So it feels like a bunch of random paragraphs that have no organic relationship to anything that comes before them or after. My head will be spinning as I try to read it over. This is the phase where I find myself cleaning my apartment a lot - my manuscript may be a mess, but dammit, my writing space will be clean!
5. The "It doesn't totally suck" phase. After rewriting several times, I get to a point where I think that maybe there are a few nuggets of insight in here and maybe a few people will actually want to read it. There is a small measure of contentment and sense of accomplishment here. Then, it's back to step one.
On that note, I'm entertaining this book title:
It Doesn't Totally Suck
by Adam S. McHugh
Monday, June 2, 2008
I'm still pounding the keys - I am about half way through chapter 8 now, with two more chapters to go and a whole bunch of revising before my deadline on August 30th. Interestingly, last month I was laid off from my job as a hospice chaplain, which was a bit of a surprise, but a wonderful gift for my writing progress. I wrote a chapter and a half in May and I'm writing about 5 pages a day now. I appreciate your feedback and prayers!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
- J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, p. 116
Saturday, May 24, 2008
"Not All CEO's are Extroverts"
While some of it is imprecise (e.g. introverts learning how to act like extroverts), I find it to be very encouraging that some of the most powerful leaders are introverts.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Seek the Holy
Hope Doesn't Disappoint
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
What do you think?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The head coach of the Washington Huskies football team, Ty Willingham, is also very clearly an introvert. And again, in the Seattle area, he is reputed for not handling the media very well. He is quite reticent, speaks in monotone, and withholds information and emotions that other coaches express more. A previous head coach Rick Neuheisel ("Slick Rick" - how long until UCLA goes on probation?!) was very extroverted and had far more lively exchanges with the media.
Of course there are other factors involved in how players and coaches handle the media - some have been burned by people prying into their private lives and they are understandably coy in public settings. And Bedard and Willingham are not representative of all introverts. Certainly there are other introverted athletes who have a more playful relationship with the media, because introverts aren't necessarily quiet or reticent. But it does feel like most of the most beloved athletes these days are extroverts whose outgoing personalities match their amazing abilities - think Payton Manning, for example.
However, some of the greatest athletes of our day are introverts. Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan are all introverts. They have incredible focus, perseverance, and seem unrattled by pressure. But all three of them have tenuous relationships with the media - Jordan always seemed distant, Kobe seems arrogant, and Tiger (though after getting married and having a kid has become much more sympathetic) receives criticism for not speaking out about racial and social issues.
Friday, April 18, 2008
1. "Can an introvert be Christian?"
2. "How do I become more extroverted?"
3. "Leave me alone introvert" (how do you interpret that one?!)
4. "Depressed introvert overwhelmed"
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
It's a term that produces nothing but resentment in me. I work in the health care industry, as a hospice chaplain, and about once a week I get a page saying "Call the office STAT!" or "The family is requesting a chaplain visit STAT!" As an introvert, practically nothing in my life happens at STAT pace. I'm living in my own interior world, developing ideas, working out solutions, asking more questions, fantasizing about moving to a chateau in Cote d'Or and working at the pace that Pinot Noir grapes grow.
STAT doesn't resonate with the nature of my calling. I am the most impractical member of my team. The nurses move at lightning pace when called on in an emergency. They gallop. I mosey. Occasionally, I will canter if need be. But the nature of my job is ambiguous and slow. I give space for people to open up the deepest caverns of their souls, which takes time and trust. And afterwards, I reflect and internalize. People assume that if I'm not sitting in a room with a patient or driving to my next visit then I must be slacking off. They think "Here's a guy who is just waiting for a STAT page, because he is bored and has nothing to do."
I'm so grateful that God doesn't move at STAT pace. God took over 40 years to get his people to the promised land. He waited a thousand years to send the Messiah. It is 2000 years and counting and Jesus still has not returned to usher in final redemption. While STAT is at times in this life is the appropriate move, it often misses the process. STAT moves from one action to another without reflection, without learning from what has come before. STAT lets outside forces control it, bouncing around like a pinball. STAT is built on impatience.
The more STAT pages I get, the more I feel out of touch with myself, with God, with my vocation as a pastor.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In plain language, emerging leaders like people because they thrive on relationships. The presence of people energizes them rather than draining them. Furthermore, they are constantly establishing connections between people..."
Eddie Gibbs, LeadershipNext, p. 173
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
1. Most of my pastoral interactions are one on one.
2. A big part of my job description is listening.
3. I drive from interaction to interaction, affording me personal time between visits.
4. Working in health care mandates thorough documentation, which is done privately.
5. The job is 8 to 5, and most of my weekends are open.
6. I have the opportunity to have ongoing relationships with a few patients.
7. My interactions involve quite a bit of depth.
1. I am constantly interacting with people.
2. I have no opportunity to hide in an office, when I'm drained.
3. Every week I am regularly meeting new people, and I usually only see them once.
4. I talk on the phone a lot.
5. I have a quota of how many patients I need to see each week (the bane of my job!!).
6. I only see the people who give me energy - other chaplains and social workers - occasionally.
7. Reading, reflecting, and writing are not core parts of my job.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
p. 97, Type Talk at Work, Kroeger, Thuesen, and Rutledge.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Roy Oswald & Otto Kroeger, Personality Type and Religious Leadership. p. 31.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
For those of my introverted readers who are pastors or leaders of some capacity in a church, or those who are training to be leaders in a church, which size congregation would you prefer to lead? Would you feel more comfortable in a small church (400 or under), medium sized church (400-800) or large church (800+) or megachurch (2000+)?
Saturday, March 8, 2008
I'm on "vacation" for the next week, and I will be using it to start the next chapter on introverted leadership. I have an interview with an introverted pastor on Monday, as well as a meeting with a professor of leadership at Fuller Seminary.
My deadline of July 31 seems a lot closer than it once did...
Monday, March 3, 2008
Last week I spoke at Veritas, a post-contemporary worship expression of Irvine Presbyterian Church. They asked me to speak on Acts 2.42-43, which describes the life of the first community of Jesus-followers. I couldn't resist the temptation to mention something about introversion and how churches unintentionally preach an extroverted message, as you'll see in the last paragraph. I also challenged the introverts there to take seriously the biblical message of community.
The first Christians, even after their ranks were swelled by 3000 new members, lived as though they were a single family. You’ll see more of that next week. For now, the word “fellowship” (the word koinonia in Greek) was most frequently used to refer to the marriage relationship. That’s how intimate the idea is. Koinonia means common life, life lived together. All the activities that the early church engaged in – teaching, fellowship, the prayers, breaking of bread – all of them are communal. There is this sense of participation, mutual sharing. When you became a follower of Jesus in the first century, you became a member of a community. Baptism was understood as not only being washed from the stain of your sins, but it was an initiation rite into a new family. To be a Christian is to be a part of Christian community.
Some of you are hearing this and this is the best news possible. You think “Yes, this is what I want. I want to be a central member of my community, and I want to share my life with others. I want to know people and have people know me.” People like you don’t need a lot of convincing that community is a pivotal part of our spiritual journeys. You hear this and you’re ready to go.
But others of you out there are more skeptical. I count myself as one of them. I’m an introvert, and though I like being with people, I get drained around people. Spending time in large groups can be intimidating to me if I don’t know many of the people. I’m writing a book right now that’s about helping introverts navigate Christian community. The first sentence in my book is “Can introverts thrive in the church?” but I was this close to asking “Can introverts SURVIVE the church?” So many of the Christian activities we do seem tailored towards outgoing, energetic people who thrive on large social gatherings. I think sometimes churches unintentionally communicate that faithfulness looks like involvement in as many activities as possible and in being acquainted with as many people as possible. I have a lot more to say about that, but I’ll leave it for you to ponder what your vision for community and your community structures communicates to people. But for those of you out there who find the idea of active participation in a community less than scintillating, I’ll say 1) I relate and empathize but 2) I’ve yet to meet a genuinely mature believer, past or present, who says that you can truly make progress in the Christian life without bumping up against your brothers and sisters on a regular basis. What that means on a practical level is going to be different for different kinds of people, but it’s clear that if you really want to grow as a Christian, you can’t do it alone.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
"If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits." Dr. Watson
"I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right." Sherlock Holmes
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Here is a good quote, from the "More personality=more belonging" myth:
"Introversion and extroversion are learned forms of social behavior [?] that help us navigate our day-to-day lives. They are categories for helping us understand and interpret our relational experiences. But introversion and extroversion neither block nor enhance our experience of belonging. Healthy community can be experienced and developed by introvert and extrovert alike." (p. 17)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Bachelor degree online is a resource for people who want to study psychology or religion to delve further into topics like this. The more we understand about these kinds of subjects, the more we can apply our knowledge to daily life.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
What do introverts reveal about God? Introverts reveal the creativity of God, who designed the world in all its beauty, color, abundance, and fecundity. They demonstrate the subtlety and the gentleness of God, who often speaks in whispers rather than in horn blasts and who is usually more reticent than he is talkative. For those who are attuned to hear God’s voice, he seems to speak in words or brief sentences more than he speaks in paragraphs. Introverts, when they have attained a level of personal and spiritual maturity, reveal the restfulness of God, who rested after his creative work and who dwells in his own Shalom. Introverts, with their multi-layered personalities that are only unraveled over time, reveal the mystery of God.