Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Years Resolution

Now that my first book is all but done, I have started working on a second one. It's about "listening" - listening to God and listening to others. So my new years resolution is to send in a book proposal in 2009.

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

The value of self-understanding

Last weekend I spent a few days with some of my college buddies in Nashville, attending a wedding and enjoying the city (in spite of frigid weather). It was really the first time I have spent extended time in a southern state, and the first thing I noticed was that people were very friendly and EXTREMELY talkative. I have a feeling that my book will sell well in the south, as I would bet that introverts in the south feel particularly odd and displaced in their churches.

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

All but done

I sent in my revised manuscript yesterday to my editor, a full month and a half ahead of my deadline. I'm hoping that means we can move up the release date, but that depends on how many other projects are in the pipeline.

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

First Reviews

I got my manuscript back from my editor last week, and I was very encouraged by the feedback. If you are unfamiliar with the editorial process, here's what happens: after the author finishes his first draft, he sends it to his editor, who then sends it out to a few outside readers for feedback. In my case, a therapist, a pastor, and a parachurch leader trained in MBTI read mine, along with my editor.

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

Happy Introvert Day Redux

I linked to this article last year, but I want to do it again for those of you who 1. Missed it or 2. Just need the hope of solitude this holiday season. The author is writing on January 2nd, and proposing it be called "Happy Introvert Day" for those of us who have survived all the hectic energy and invasive social interactions of the holiday.

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

Introverted Brains

In my research, especially as I mingled with Christians on the conservative side of the spectrum, I found that many still wonder whether introversion is sinful or a distortion of God's intent for humans to be social and outwardly focused. I spend a fair amount of time in my book dispelling those myths from a theological and psychological point of view. But I have also been doing a lot of reading recently about the physiology of introversion.

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

Introverted Preaching Unveiled

Here it is. The first sermon of what I hope will be many about introverts in Christian community. I ease my way into it a little, and I don't actually use the word "introvert" until around minute 12, so be patient. This sermon combines elements of chapter 5 (introverted community and relationships) and chapter 9 (introverts in church) of my book. It takes a larger look at how and why we participate in Christian community, and how common models of involvement in the church may be unfriendly to introverts (and others too). Let me know what you think.

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

Statistics

Continuing the conversation from below, that studies show that 50.7% of the population is introverted, here is a link to the findings of a study that interviewed over 900,000 people. It gives ranges rather than precise numbers. Introverts are between 47-55% of the population, and more men are I's than women.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My favorite search ever

Someone found my blog yesterday by googling "introvert asking for a dance."

It's off the topic of my blog a little, but let's help this guy out friends. What is your advice? How does an introvert score a dance?

Monday, November 10, 2008

New resource

Here is a psychologist/life coach who is focused on helping introverts thrive in work and in their personal lives. This link will land you on the "free stuff" page which includes a short pdf file you can request that has some really interesting stuff about the physiological differences between extroverts and introverts. I don't profess to understand the chemical differences and brain pathways and such, but I still find it fascinating. There is also a bi-weekly newsletter you can subscribe to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Narrating

I was thinking the other day that if I were a character in a story, I wouldn't be the protagonist or antagonist or sidekick or even a major character. I would be the narrator. I might be a narrator like Alfred Hitchcock who occasionally shows up in his own stories, but I would still play the narrator. Even as I'm writing that, it sounds boring, but I think it's true. But I'm the guy who enjoys standing outside of the story and observing the characters interacting with one another. I like to look for patterns and trends and I like putting the actions and habits of others into words. I don't usually get bogged down in the details of the story, but I like the macroscopic lens. I'd like to think that I see things that others, embroiled in the plot of the story, don't always see with the same clarity.

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

Introverts and Elections

I read a blog the other day that said that absentee voting is for more introverted types who are allergic to crowds. What's your take on that? I, for one, on the far side of the "I" scale, wouldn't dream of voting absentee in a presidential election, but can't wait for the electric energy of a crowd lined up to cast their vote tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Preaching link

On my other blog I have posted a couple of mp3s of sermons I have preached recently. They're not introvert related, but they will give you a good taste of my preaching style, which I have been told, "has all the marks of an introvert." What does that mean? I'm not sure. Tell me what you think.

http://unresolvedtensions.blogspot.com/2008/10/mp3s.html

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well played

I received a fantastic reception yesterday for my "introvert sermon." I was nervous going into it, because it felt so remarkably different from your average sermon. Anytime you tell religious people they might need to be involved in FEWER activities in order to best pursue the goals of the kingdom of God, you might be in for a bumpy ride. But a lot of people were grateful for what they said was the "freedom that you have offered us." Here were some of my favorite comments (I could do another post on how exhausting the handshaking time is after the service):

"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

Preaching

I'm preaching tomorrow morning at our church, and even though I have probably preached 200 times in the last 8 years, I find myself feeling nervous. I have determined recently that what I actually enjoy about preaching is the research and writing process. I don't mind the actual preaching act, and I have been told many times that I am a good preacher, even a few times that I am a great preacher. But I find far greater joy in thinking and writing than I do in public speaking. I think what I dread about preaching is not the 20-25 minutes up in front of people, but it's the fact that after tomorrow people will look at me differently. This is my first time preaching at our church, and I don't look forward to the attention I will get after this weekend. I have been an anonymous churchgoer for the past 6 months, and it has been glorious. I love being on the side of the church, functioning as a creative outside voice rather than as an insider.

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

Learning styles and participation

Corrections: My friend from the story below said you actually don't get docked points for saying something irrelevant, you just get fewer points, which encourages people to blurt out whatever they can come up with. There are also 90 people in the class!!! It just sounds like extroverted chaos to me.

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

50.7

That's the percentage of introverts in the American population according to the research of the Center for the Application of Pyschological Type. Their study, completed in 2003, along with two other studies conducted independently by other organizations, surveyed over 900,000 people.

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

Listen to Peter Drucker

My wife started an MBA in non-profit leadership recently, and she has introduced me to the writings of Peter Drucker, management guru and a prolific writer. He died recently, but his writings will endure. I love his writing style - it's so understandable and simple that you don't realize right away that you were just exposed to something profound. Here he responds to a question he was asked about the traits of a leader:

"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 cracks me up

"Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere. While others who have something to say or who want to be effectual, like musicians or baseball players or politicians, have to get out there in front of people, writers, who tend to be shy, get to stay home and still be in public. There are many obvious advantages to this. You don't have to dress up, for instance, and you can't hear them boo you right away."

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, p xiv

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Additions

I've added links to some of my favorite introverted articles and books to the sidebar. I'm especially fond of the Atlantic Monthly Article and the Christian Standard article, and my favorite books on the topic are The Introvert Advantage and Henri Nouwen's book The Way of the Heart - which is not a book about personality type but addresses silence, contemplation, and prayer in ways that will definitely resonate with introverts.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Marketing to introverts

The main reason that publishers turned down my book proposal last year was that they considered my audience to be limited. They didn't think there were enough introverted Christians out there would be interested enough to read it. Even now, I'm getting the sense that people do not expect my book to sell all that well. Personally I do not agree. If my book has good content I think we could generate a lot of interest.

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

Sighs of Relief

August 26, 2008

12:15PM Pacific Standard Time

214 pages

Submitted to InterVarsity Press

Booya.

The chapters:

Introduction and personal narrative
The Introverted Difference
Finding Healing
Introverted Spirituality
Introverted Community and Relationships
Introverted Leadership 1: The Right to Lead
Introverted Leadership 2: Leading as Ourselves
Introverted Evangelism
Introverts in Church

Upcoming:
A Title
A Release Date
Study Guide Questions

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Countdown

I'm down to 10 days, friends, before my manuscript is due to IVP, and while I'm not feeling panicked, I'm feeling urgent. I've gone back to the early chapters that I wrote a couple of years ago, to supplement them with all I've learned and thought about subsequently. Right now I'm working on chapter 1 - The Extroverted Church - and I'm looking at the historical, theological, and practical causes behind the extroverted bias in the evangelical church. My original chapter was 10 pages, and I now have 25 additional pages of notes to consider and assimilate! I'm definitely feeling like a scholar today. It fits me.

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

Why?!!

Every so often I list paths that visitors took to get to IntrovertedChurch - this one from this week is one of my favorites:

http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search?query=whydidGodmakeintrovertedpeople?

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

Getting closer

Thanks to those of you who gave suggestions on my last post and to those of you who emailed me longer suggestions. I used a few of them. I have now finished an entire draft of my manuscript - 180 pages. It's only going to get longer in my rewrite, which I am already hard at work on. Today I added two sections in my community and relationships chapter: 1. Introverts and Conflict and 2. Relationships and Technology.

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

All hands on deck

Okay introverts, I'm enlisting your help. I'm on the last chapter of my book, and the very last section involves my suggestions to churches for how to reach out to and connect with introverts. I haven't had the time to do the level of research for this chapter that I did for the other chapters. So I'm entreating you for your suggestions and opinions.

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!

The Final Countdown

August 1st.

31 days until my manuscript is due.

Gulp.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brian McLaren, introvert

Here's an interview with Brian McLaren, reigning king of the emerging church, in which he confesses that he is an introvert.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New book

Here is a new book, called Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength, by Laurie Helgoe. I'll probably read it after I send in my proposal next month. It sounds a lot like The Introvert Advantage to me, but I'm always encouraged when introverted differences are publicly recognized and affirmed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

9 down, 1 to go

Perhaps it's that all this writing over the past 9 months has made me a better and faster writer, or perhaps it's that my August 31st deadline is producing panic, but I have finished chapter 9! Introverts and Evangelism. Here's the first paragraph:

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

An introverted hero

Here is a link to a Christian Century article about Eugene Peterson, written in 2002. Eugene Peterson is the author of The Message translation of the Bible and many important books about spiritual theology and pastoral ministry. In this Christian Century article he confesses himself to be "rather introverted and shy."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Title Option

Those of you who have been following my blog know that though I'm writing a book that will be published next year, I don't have a title yet. In this post, people threw out some options.

Here's another one I've been tossing around:

Peace in Quiet: Introverts in the Church

Good? Bad? Meh?

Friday, July 18, 2008

More on evangelism

I have to say that I have really enjoyed Rick Richardson's book Reimagining Evangelism. He's convinced me that evangelism in a postmodern context is actually easier for introverts than it was in the modern era. There is more emphasis on more indirect, subtle, imaginative styles of sharing the gospel. Here is a quote about why people deal with guilt about evangelism:

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

Silence!

As research for my last chapter, I'm going to a Quaker church tomorrow. So far I've been to a couple of evangelical megachurches, five mainline churches of varying theological bent, a Taize service, and an evensong service. I'm most excited about this one.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Planting Churches

Can introverts plant churches? Here is a link to Chris Brown's blog where he discusses that very topic.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spiritual Sales

"Many Christians think they have to dump their content on someone and then close the deal, or else they haven't really shared their faith. This basic paradigm of evangelism as individuals seeking to make the close on a sales call permeates the evangelical consciousness. Our image of the evangelist is the image of a spiritual salesman."

"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

Doing evangelism as ourselves

Becky Pippert, author of Out of the Saltshaker, describes an introverted friend who is a gifted evangelist:

"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

Redeeming the language

When I first started this blog, in March 2007, the first page of a google search on "introverted church" displayed 8 out of 10 entries on "the introverted church" as the ingrown, closed-off, unfaithful Christian community. Today the first page of that same search results in 7 out of 10 sites that are talking about how to reach introverts and what gifts introverts bring to the Church. I love it!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Best Jobs for Introverts

Courtesy of my friend and fellow Princeton Seminary alum Luke, here is a new book on the best jobs for introverts. What does the author list as the best job for introverts in the "human services" field? Look here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

August 2009

That's when my book will be released.

Coming up in the fall: A title.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hmmm

"When faced with difficult decisions, introverts worry little about what other people think of them." USA Today article on introverted CEO's

"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

It doesn't totally suck

I've finished chapter 8. Whew! And it doesn't totally suck. (step 5 of Adam's writing sequence) Each chapter is taking progressively longer than the preceding one and is getting progressively longer than the preceding one. This one is 34 pages! I'm pretty sure the good people at IVP will be cutting that one down.

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

Tiger

For those of you sports fan, here's an intriguing article about Tiger Woods on ESPN. It talks about how enigmatic his personality is, as was Michael Jordan's before him. I admit that I find Tiger to be a fascinating character, but not primarily because of his unfathomable golf skills, but because of his incomparable mental toughness and the elusiveness of his persona. He is unquestionably an introvert, and I always wonder how I would come across if I were in such a public position.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Ultimate Introverted Band

About 5 years later than everyone else in the English speaking world, I have just discovered Coldplay. I wish to declare them as the ultimate band for introverts. They have become the soundtrack of my book. Their lyrics are poetic and profound, their melodies are haunting - their music stirs and moves without distracting me from my inner processes of reflection. In fact, they inspire deeper reflections.

They didn't pay me for this promotion. But I hope they do.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Complete Disorientation

You can tell that I'm in stage 4 ("complete disorientation") of writing my current leadership chapter because I'm starting to tidy up everything in my workspace, to offset that mess that is my draft. Yesterday I looked at this website, and I could barely read it with all the clutter and cumbersome fonts and spacing and I realized that the template just wouldn't work anymore. So this is the new one I've found, and I have to say I'm pretty smitten with the margins and columns and background. Any suggestions for improvement?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Multiple Personality Disorder

For research purposes, and also because I'm looking for a job, I've been scanning some pastoral positions in the PCUSA. At the same time, I've been reading The Power of Team Leadership by George Barna, in which the author advocates for a team-based approach to leadership. Barna claims that the most effective form of leadership is when a small group of four or five leaders is responsible for leading a church. It's been interesting to juxtapose Barna's findings with the the job descriptions I've been seeing:

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 humble

I 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
via FoxyTunes

Monday, June 16, 2008

A little quiet

I know it's been a little quiet here over the last week. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary and my birthday with a trip up to Santa Ynez wine country, perhaps my favorite place in the world. The people who masterminded the movie Sideways were definitely on to something there. It was a nice break from writing, which when you're doing it 8 hours a day, can become incredibly oppressive. I've had a few incomplete, lazy reflections over the last few days:

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

Introverted influence

"Introverts - energized by their world of ideas, thoughts, and concepts - are not often motivated to influence others [?]. When introverts do choose to influence others, they commonly do so by presenting ideas, plans, visions, or values - often in writing - that will be compelling and attractive. As is the case with all Introverts, an Introverted leader has lot brewing under the surface, but only lets out or shares a small piece of it."

Type Talk at Work, Kroeger,Thuesen, and Rutledge. 76

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Phases of Writing Redux

I originally posted this over on unResolved Tensions, but I thought my readers here would enjoy it even more, as it exposes all my introverted angst:

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

Welcome

I added a link (see "welcome, introverts!") on the sidebar to my original post on Introverted Church, back in March of last year. It introduces the goals of this blog. Thanks to all of you who have been reading along and who have commented and emailed me. You've been such a tremendous help to me in the research for my book. I've come to realize that I'm not just writing because I love the topic and I love writing in general; I'm writing because there are introverts in churches out there who need to be a part of these kinds of discussions.

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

Further thoughts on introverted and missional

I love how the discussions on this site are spawning posts and conversations on other blogs. Here is a thoughtful post on Hope Does Not Disappoint, furthering the conversation about introverts and missional theology and practice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quoted

The healthy Christian is not necessarily the extrovert, ebullient Christian, but the Christian who has a sense of God's presence stamped deep on his soul, who trembles at God's word, who lets it dwell in him richly by constant meditation upon it, and who tests and reforms his life daily in response to it.

- J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, p. 116

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Introverted CEO's

Here's a great article from USA Today that I think you'll enjoy:

"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

They're out there

Wanted to show some love for the introverts out there who are doing ministry and wrestling with the same sorts of questions this blog poses. Who says that introverts can't be "missional"? Here are some links to people that have linked here:

Seek the Holy
Jolly Blogger
Hope Doesn't Disappoint
Christopher Brown
Katie Kind
Mark Smith

Friday, May 16, 2008

Models

Have you had introverted leaders or mentors in your life? In the church, at work, in your family? What have they modeled for you about living as an introvert in a world biased towards extroversion?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Missional and introverted?

Here's a link to a blog that says introverts are not cut out to be "missional" and that says the Reformed tradition attracts more introverts than extroverts. Personally, I find his argument to be lacking thoughtfulness and thoroughness , though of course I am spending 40 hours a week thinking about this topic. And frankly, if the missional church doesn't have room for introverts, then perhaps we need to rethink our missional theology.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tinkering

You'll notice that I've added a recent comments widget to the sidebar, so that readers have easier access to what others are saying. The thrust of Introverted Church has changed somewhat in the last few weeks, majoring less on monologue and more on conversation. Some of this shift is practical - I'm devoting my writing energies to the last three chapters of my book, but most of it is I've always wanted this to develop into a virtual community of introverted Christians, sharing their insights and questions with each other. Please keep up your comments and emails - a few of them have made their way into my manuscript!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Marketing to Introverts

Here is a web article about marketing to introverts (and the subtitle is: "you know, the ones with the high income") - I'm curious to hear your thoughts about the content, the assumptions, and the tone. What's your response?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This week

For the last few months I've been attending various churches and worship services to get a sense for which practices facilitate introvert participation and which practices alienate us. The last chapter of my book will be my reflections on my experiences. Tonight I am attending a Taize service at All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, which I am very much looking forward to. I'm sure I'll have some reflections about it this week. I also plan on blogging some thoughts on the movie Into the Wild, which I watched this weekend.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prophets

"Prophets are people who have learned to listen attentively."

-Eddie Gibbs, Leadership Next, p. 160

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Introverted Athletes

This post is a slight departure from the topic of introverts in the church, but it's not far off. Any of you who follow my other blog know that I am a big sports fan, especially of teams from Seattle. It's always interesting to me to see how the introvert/extrovert dynamic plays out in sports. From what I can tell, it has the greatest impact on the relationship between introverted players and coaches and the media. My Seattle Mariners traded for an ace pitcher in the offseason, named Erik Bedard, and this guy is probably most notorious now for practically ignoring the media. During spring training he would go to a press conference and say "You've got three questions." And then he would answer exactly three questions, each response being one or two sentences. He has a reputation of being aloof and cold, though honestly, if he gets 18 wins this season, no one will care.

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

Paths

It's always interesting to me to see how people find their way to this website. Here are some of the most interesting and thought provoking google searches people have done recently to get here:

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

STAT

You've heard the term, if you watch Grey's Anatomy or House or ER. The doctor shouts out, to anyone in the vicinity, "I need a crash cart STAT!!!" It's a term that conjures up excitement and tension, that makes your pulse race, every sense hanging on what will happen next.

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

Ouch

Here is an incendiary quote for you to stew over this weekend:

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

New Domains

I bought a Google domain for Introverted Church so now visitors can skip the .blogspot encumbrance and go straight to www.introvertedchurch.com Update your bookmarks!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pros and Cons

As a pastor currently serving as a hospice chaplain, I occupy a particular ministry niche. My ministry has some crossover with traditional pastoral work as well as some variance. I find that some aspects of the job suit my introversion and other aspects conflict with it.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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

New books

A couple of readers have asked for a bibliography of books that I'm using as material for my own book. Today I've added a few of them to the left side of my blog - most of these are the ones I'm using for my introverted leadership chapters but it also includes a few from my introverted spirituality chapter and my as yet unwritten introverted evangelism chapter.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Type Talk

"One of the big mistakes Extraverts make is to assume that if someone is not engaged with another person, that individual is simply not busy. So, it's okay to interrupt someone sitting and reading because that person is probably reading only because there's no one else with whom she can talk. You can only imagine what an Extravert thinks of someone who is sitting there not even reading but merely reflecting. Clearly that person needs to be put to some more useful task - such as listening to the Extravert's thoughts of the moment."

p. 97, Type Talk at Work, Kroeger, Thuesen, and Rutledge.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Charts are sometimes fun

Here is a link to a somewhat educational, mildly amusing chart detailing the differences between extroverts and introverts. It's the best I've got today.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Moses

"Throughout his ministry Moses is continually exasperated with the children of Israel. Their moaning, groaning, and whimpering drive him crazy. So great is his frustration that he takes it to God: "Am I a mother that I need to coddle these people through the wilderness?" Later in his ministry we hear him pray, "God, if you are at all merciful, let me die here on the spot. Do not let me view my own misery any longer." Moses was burned out, and burnout is what we fear most for introverts who operate in an extroverted role. They simply do not have the capacity to hang in there with people without taking large chunks off by themselves."

Roy Oswald & Otto Kroeger, Personality Type and Religious Leadership. p. 31.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How big?

I'm in the midst of interviewing several introverted pastors, which is only confirming in my mind that introverts come in all shapes and sizes. Introversion is only one factor in how we lead and interact with one others.

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

6 down

I just finished my draft of chapter 6 on introverted community and relationships. It seems that my writing pace is slowing down with each successive chapter! I like this chapter though, in spite of the challenges it presented. I talk about the necessity of community but also the very extroverted expectations churches have for community involvement. I also talk in depth about gifts that introverts bring to others and some practical suggestions for participating in community. I end with two stories of introverts succeeding in community.

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

I couldn't resist

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

A Saturday Link

I came across this entry today, a very thoughtful blurb about introverts in church. I was particularly struck by how the author says that churches, especially non-liturgical churches, tends to marry "sociability" and "spirituality" and how that can leave introverts feeling marginalized.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Overheard

"Do you think that extroverts will be cured in heaven?"

-guy at World Vision International, who approached me after I spoke in chapel there.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Strong words from Eugene

"American religion is conspicuous for its messianically pretentious energy, its embarrassingly banal prose, and its impatiently hustling ambition."

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Introverts in Fiction

Here is an interesting and extensive list posted on Amazon.com that considers introverted literary characters.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sherlock Holmes, introvert

"He is not a man that is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him." Stamford, describing Holmes to Watson in A Study in Scarlet.

"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

The Search to Belong

I picked up a book at the Fuller Seminary library this week called The Search to Belong, by Joseph Myers. It's one of these Zondervan emergent books, with the requisite imprimaturs of Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet and other emergent coolguys, but I still decided to check it out anyway. I'm enjoying it so far, especially as he explodes some of the myths of community that are held so dearly in the church. I, of course, am always sensitive to the word "introvert" and I was happy to read some contrasting stories in Myers book about extroverts who struggle in community and introverts who thrive.

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

Introvert Day

Here is a link to an article I found entertaining, in which the author proposes that January 2nd should be called "Happy Introvert Day" because the holidays are over, and introverts can come out of hiding.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lean on me?

I have done two interviews this week, one with a friend from college, and one with a fellow chaplain and PCUSA pastor. Both of them (introverts, of course) said that at various points they have gotten into relational patterns in which a number of high maintenance, emotionally needy people have looked to them for support on a regular basis. What's your experience? What's your interpretation of that pattern?

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

Becoming an extrovert?

Earlier today a chaplain/pastor friend of mine said this:

"I know a pastor who was an introvert, but after so many years in ministry, he said he had become an extrovert."

What are your thoughts about that comment?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Halfway...

5 chapters down, 5 chapters to go. I finished my chapter on "Finding Healing" on Sunday, and now I am on to the chapter on "Introverted Community." It's getting to the point where I'm starting to think I'm actually going to publish a book. I have one more interview to do before I sit down to write that chapter. After that it's on to the two chapters on introverted leadership, then introverted evangelism and finally, a chapter on helping churches minister to introverts.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Discarded book excerpt

I couldn't find a place in my book for the following paragraph, and moreover, it feels like a stretch biblically and theologically. And the writing sucks. But I thought I would still publish it somewhere.

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.