How ironic is this? I went to an event called "Permission to Speak Freely" last night. No one else seems to find that as funny as I do.
It was an evening with my friends Anne Jackson, author of Permission to Speak Freely, and Susan Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God, and also musician I'm not acquainted with named Solveig. It brings up again the issue of "sharing" that we have addressed on this blog- a sharing which is both freeing and terrifying. Many introverts I know are turned off by the expectations that some churches have that you will share the details of your life with others, especially those you don't know. And I appreciate and emphasize with that, but I also get concerned that the resistance to sharing things with people is a result of fear or past bad experiences, not a natural personality trait.
Now, who you choose to share with is the critical issue. There has to be a level of trust present before most people will feel comfortable opening up their lives. But I was reminded again that even the most introverted person needs one or two people in their lives who they can be truly vulnerable with. Hearing someone else say "me too" when we confess something really difficult is one of the most powerful and freeing experiences that we can have.
What are your thoughts about "sharing" in churches? What are bad examples you have seen? What are good examples you have experienced?