Friday, April 09, 2010

Introverts in the church - pt. 3

In reading chapters 1 & 2 of Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church, here are some quotes and thoughts that stuck out:

Chapter 1 - "The Extroverted Church."
  • He cites an article by Jonathan Rauch, "Caring for Your Introvert," at www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch. I have read this and it is good.
  • p. 26 - "American religion is conspicuous for its messianically pretentious energy, its embarrassingly banal prose, and its impatiently hustling ambition."
  • p. 26-27 - "At its best, the church growth movement has reached thousands of people with the gospel and shrewdly connected with the surrounding culture. At its worst, it has produced a superficial, consumerist mold of Christianity that has sold the gospel like a commodity.
  • p. 27 - "Not all pastors of megachurches are extroverts, though a recent Barna study of 627 senior pastors of Protestant churches found that 75% of them are. And human limitations often lead to pastors forming congregations in their own image, presenting a picture of Jesus and of discipleship that matches their own patterns. It is not surprising then that extroverted pastors are prone to encourage extroversion in their churches."
  • *** "All the interviews I conducted with introverted pastors yielded one commonality: the coffee hour after worship is one of their least favorite hours of the week. They love their people, but after expending a tremendous amount of emotional energy to preach, they would prefer to disappear into their offices than mingle." Absolutely!
Chapter 2 - The Introverted Difference
  • p. 32 - "I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right." (Sherlock Holmes, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, A Study in Scarlet)
  • p. 32-33 - "For Freud, introversion indicated an unhealthy self-preoccupation. It was a pathological step toward narcissism, a disorder that involves obsession with the self to the exclusion of others, a habitual turning away from the outside world. (origin of the term 'narcissim' on p. 33)
  • p. 33-34 - Carl Jung, in contrast, considered introversion a healthy and normal trait... Introversion (a term he coined) was an introspective orientation, wherein a person finds primary energy within the self. Extroversion, on the other hand, is an outward orientation, where an individual finds primary energy outside of the self in the surrounding world... ...these psychological types were inborn..."
  • p. 34 - "Psychologist Laurie Helgoe says that "we think of introverts as withdrawn loners, quiet, and scared. We readily diagnose a preference for looking inward as stemming from depression, anxiety, or antisocial tendencies." But none of these are proper descriptions of the introverted temperament; these are distortions that result from others' misunderstandings or our own confusion." ***
  • p. 34 - "Introversion and extroversion do not describe categories of people but two separate forces within each person" (like "left-handed" and "right-handed." Be can all use both, but to differing degrees).
  • He says there are three terms that need addressed (or defined) in thinking of introversion: Energy Source, Internal Processing, and Depth over Breadth (what the rest of the chapter is about).
  • p. 35 - "Just as a geyser finds its power from a subterranean water source, introverts derive strength from hidden places. We generally fill our energy tanks in private or in the presence of one or two close friends, or else in a public place without interacting with those around us." (energy source)
  • p. 37 - "We need to filter information and experiences, allowing the good to take root in us and transform us, discarding the bad or irrelevant (and this takes time for us to think)." (internal processing)
  • p. 38 - "[Extroverts] mostly process externally, through conversation and interaction with others. Talking is an integral part of their processing, and they often speak in order to understand... The introverted filter, on the other hand, is much finer and more rigid, only able to allow small amounts of stimuli to pass before it backs up. Introverts process internally, in the workings of our own minds. We integrate and think silently... Though we are capable of engaging in the world, we are most alive in the reflections of our minds, mulling over concepts and experiences. Our learning style centers around observation and contemplation..."
  • p. 38-39 - *** "One of the big mistakes Extroverts make is to assume that if someone is not engaged with another person, that individual is simply not busy. So, it's okay to interrupt someone sitting and reading because that person is probably reading only because there's no one else with whom she can talk. You can only imagine what an Extravert thinks of someone who is sitting there not even reading but merely reflecting. Clearly that person needs to be put to some more useful task - such as listening to the Extravert's thoughts of the moment." :) Yes.
  • p. 39 - "Though we may appear composed on the outside, our minds are in a state of constant activity." He relates the story of a woman who, when she was young, said she was surprised to hear her mother describe her as "quiet," because "it was never quiet in my head." Absolutely!
  • p. 41 - "Introverts (especially those who score high in the "thinking" category of the Myers-Briggs) treat our ideas like friends, devoting the same energy and time to them. Likewise, we consider books and authors as mentors, or as midwives to our most profound ideas... We may even enjoy reflecting on our experiences more than we enjoy the experiences themselves."
  • p. 41 - "We may find small talk to be disagreeable and tiring." (depth over breadth). Ugh. yes.
  • p. 45 - "Introverts often prefer writing to speaking, because writing uses a different neurological pathway in the brain than speaking does."
  • p. 45 - "I have come to see that this information is valuable in combatting the common feeling among introverts that we are not as smart as others."
Good, good stuff. Sorry it's so long. There is more, but these are mostly things that relate to me personally.