Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Very Special Guest Post

Since this is the last month of this blog, I am asking some great writers for guest posts. Today's post comes from a very special guest.

About the author: Adam S. McHugh is a writer whose work has been described as "genius!" by Stephen Hawking and "enchanting!" by the Blair Witch. He spends his evenings skipping his vintage pager off the surface of the community pool and flying down LA freeways to strange homes, where his hospice work is nothing if not federally compliant. If we could describe his pastoral presence at 3am in one word, it would be "awkward." In his free time Adam enjoys staring thoughtfully out of windows, celebrates the entire musical catalog of Michael Bolton, and takes long romantic walks on the beach, by himself.

I have been talking about introversion and church for so long that I have developed what I call my “introvert stump speech.” Here’s how it kicks off:

Let me paint you a picture of someone who might be held up as the very model of faith in many Christian communities. Imagine a person who is highly social and gregarious, someone with an overt passion, who finds it easy to share her faith with strangers, who is expressive and enthusiastic and transparent, someone who participates in a wide variety of activities, who knows tons of people, who eagerly invites people into her space, who quickly assumes leadership responsibilities, and who wears her faith on her sleeve.

Such a person would be highly praised in most churches, right? Churches would have a bidding war over her. If we met someone like that, we might be inclined to say that she is the epitome of faithfulness, that she really understands what it means to follow Jesus. And it is likely true that you would be describing a beautifully faithful person; however, you would also be describing a very extroverted person.

I chose the female pronoun “she” in that talk in order to be inclusive, but as I think about it, the gender issue raises another question for me. Is introversion and extroversion perceived differently among women than it is among men? I have been talking for several years about the “extrovert ideal” that pervades much of our broader culture, but I wonder if it is an even more acute issue for introverted women than for introverted men?

To read the rest of Adam's post, and it gets better, go to Emily Freeman's magical blog, Chatting at the Sky, and read "What's it like to be an introverted woman in church?"