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In Defense of Christian Introverts

28 January 2010

If you’re not familiar with Richard Beck’s blog, you might want to check it out from time to time.  He’s a psychology professor at ACU and has unfailingly interesting takes on Christianity from that vantage piont.  Here is a post that qb wishes qb had written, in defense of the introverted minority, turning the floodlights on one of the pernicious assumptions of the modern evangelical megachurch culture.  Beck concludes that some of the things we do in our corporate assemblies are neither morally, psychologically, or theologically neutral…and could be rather destructive.

qb

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    28 January 2010 11:06 am

    Interesting, qb. A quick thought: of the factors shaping Christianity globally, the idea that denominational and traditional lines are being blurred actually brings hope for introverts to transition to other churches more in-tune with their dispositions. This means that the criteria for church attendance has as much to do with preference as it does tradition. Very American.

  2. 28 January 2010 11:29 am

    Of course, what it also means (and you may be hinting at this) is that we will continue to build churches of ever-increasing uniformity rather than diversity. We tend to associate with people like us. Is there another solution that does not require introverts to affiliate elsewhere? Is it not part of the significance of the incarnation and the creation that we ought to learn to live with one another, indeed with the intention of building orderly community out of the chaos of diversity? (With the Holy Spirit hovering, as it were, over the face of the waters?)

    qb

  3. Ben permalink
    28 January 2010 1:30 pm

    Absolutely! In fact, I forwarded Beck’s insightful observations to our Sr. Minister and Worship Minister precisely because I believe our church *must* exhibit the virtues necessary to becoming the *authentic* Christian community you describe. Now, the reality on the ground is that Christians often migrate from church to church for a whole assortment of reasons (regardless their personality profile). Ideally, Christians who are entertaining such thoughts *should* be willing to overlook the imperfections of a church – the personality in the pulpit, over-reaching authority figures, inactivity where there should be worshipful ministry, the color of the carpet in the sanctuary – and recognize these imperfections not as hindrances to community or to spiritual growth necessarily, but opportunities for said individual or family to plant seeds of healing, encouragement, and selflessness as needed members of a community obviously in need of their God-given talents and abilities. In other words, qb, you make my point quite nicely. Too often the enculturated Christian is unwilling to make the sacrifice for incarnational community precisely because it means accepting those imperfections as part and parcel to a body of believers. So, they choose to “find another church more in line with their convictions” or choose to “find a church that *really* wants to be like Christ.” These excuses we’ve heard here at my church are lauded as reasonable foundations for breaking community by those who have decided that their spiritual needs are not being met to their satisfaction (ugh…that sounds like a local mortgage services commercial). For those of us left behind, sounds pretty lame. What does being “incarnational” mean as a church member, if it doesnt mean sacrificing oneself to the blessing of others? How would God not desire to shine blessing upon blessing for the righteous, loving people who chose to do so?

  4. 28 January 2010 10:13 pm

    qb,

    To these sentiments, your second reader , offers a full-throated “Amen!” All have a place at Jesus’ table, even those who would abandon or betray Him.

    It would help to examine self, and how God fills our needs through others.

    Blessings!

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