Introverts of the World (and Church), Unite!

Of course, there is the elephant in the living room called “Warmed Over Pietism, and Potentially Recasting the Gospel to Meet the Felt Needs of the Introvert,” but speaking as card-carrying and unapologetic introvert, there is still quite a bit useful to be mined in (PCUSA) Adam McHugh’s work. Even Ken Myers at Mars Hill seems to think so.

It could be that the temperament of the introvert has more to offer the church than is naturally assumed by Protestant Christianity of the evangelical stripe in the west. Introversion is marked by quiet, reflection, slowness and smallness. Evangelicalism is marked by noise, pragmatism, chattiness, speed and bigness. Ok, that seems like a slanted and rigged contrast, but there is nothing wrong with a little introverted payback to an extroverted culture and church that has done its level best to stigmatize those of us who find their incessant, superficial sunniness and talktalktalk more than they can bear.

For an extended introverted jab at extroverts see this classic article by Jonathon Rauch, which deliciously concludes:

Are introverts arrogant? Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts. Also, it is probably due to our lack of small talk, a lack that extroverts often mistake for disdain. We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours. “Introverts,” writes a perceptive fellow named Thomas P. Crouser, in an online review of a recent book called Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money? (I’m not making that up, either), “are driven to distraction by the semi-internal dialogue extroverts tend to conduct. Introverts don’t outwardly complain, instead roll their eyes and silently curse the darkness.” Just so.

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books—written, no doubt, by extroverts—regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

This entry was posted in Adam McHugh, Introversion, Ken Myers. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Introverts of the World (and Church), Unite!

  1. copperchips says:

    PTI, I’m and extrovert trying to be more introverted.

  2. Zrim says:

    CC, if I’ve learned one thing as an introvert living in an extroverted world (and church) it’s that temperaments should be allowed to be what they are not shamed into being what they aren’t. So, yeah, try introversion out, it has lots of benefits. All we intros ask is that when you go back to being your natural extroverted self don’t tell us intros we suck.

  3. copperchips says:

    No, we wouldn’t tell you that you suck, we’d just try to give you a big hug.

  4. RubeRad says:

    What an extroverted thing to do!

  5. "lee n. field" says:

    Looks interesting. You genuinely think it’s worth getting?

  6. Zrim says:

    Lee, I do. Like I said, it’s not as if there aren’t problems. But at the very least, genuine introverts can benefit from from hearing smarter introverts make their shared introversion make sense.

  7. Paul Manata says:

    I’m with you on this one, Zrim.

    Would you say that extroverts have testimonies while introverts have histories 🙂

  8. Zrim says:

    Paul, I’d say that both have histories but both are equally vulnerable to thinking they have to manufacture testimonies.

  9. Paul Manata says:

    Zrim, Y

    Yes, I’d agree, that’s more balanced and sensible.

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