The third installment of my conversation with Jamie Arpin-Ricci:
JAR: I have sometimes seen introverts use their temperament as an excuse, as though their choices are inevitable results of their introversion. What responsibilities do we have to develop our temperament?
AM: Introversion is never an excuse for sin, fear, lack of love, or an enduring victimization. We must always remember that our fundamental identity is in relationship to Jesus, not in our introversion. If we say that we don’t practice evangelism or don’t participate in Christian community because we are introverts, then our version of introversion is out of step with the abundant life Jesus came to give us. Too many times I have seen introverts define themselves by what they are not, rather than what they are and what they have to offer others. In the book I say that we must move both deeper and wider in our discipleship. We must go inwards and discover who we are and the gifts we have to offer others, but we must always move outwards into arenas of relationships, actions, and mission. A healthy introvert will both engage with others and retreat into solitude to rediscover ourselves and to hear the whispers of God.
Separate note: I've created a list on Amazon.com of books that inspired me to write Introverts in the Church. You can find it here.