Monday, March 21, 2011

One last paragraph from the churchgoing introverts book

Lest my dear readers think I’m going off the deep end in my consideration of introversion and church-going, I present one final quote from Introverts in the Church:

I do not intend to create yet another target audience for a church culture that is already marinating in consumerism. We should not cater our worship services to introverts any more than we should to extroverts. There are times when introverts should feel uncomfortable in worship, though we should be cautions as to the degree of discomfort. But if we are always comfortable, our faith goes stagnant.

Introverts need to be challenged to experience God in ways that stretch us, and we need to be in situations that help us grow in love for others. Introverts may need to keep struggling through greeting times in church, because we need the constant reminder that the Christian life is never lived in isolation… Because introverts understand what it’s like to be on the outside of a community looking in, we can relate to people who are visiting our church and extend hospitality to them in non-intimidating ways.

So, no, I don’t think churches should go way too far to the other extreme and make extroverts as uncomfortable in church as some introverts now feel; nor should introverts simply quit church in a huff because we’ve been somehow slighted. (That’s not Christian forgiveness, for one thing.) In church as in life, balance is key—as is grace. We can balance our attitudes and actions and rely on Christ’s strength to stretch us and develop us into the stronger Christians we want to be.

Introverts can learn to balance our needs for people-time and solitude by imitating Christ. Jesus both preached to crowds and went off by himself to pray, right? If we imitate him in this as in other things, we can thereby learn how our unique personalities are designed to further our service to God and others.

While I may risk over-generalizing here, I’ll say that God created introverts because has things for us to do in ways only we can do it. In the same way, he has things for extroverts to do in ways only they can, so he created them in that particular way too. Whether introverted or extroverted, our calling is to follow hard after God and find what it is that each of us was created to do.

(Enough rambling. And for what it’s worth, I’m halfway convinced I was created to make my friends laugh. It beats factory work. :D )

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