Sunday, May 16, 2010

Introverts in the church - pt. 9

I finally finished Adam McHugh's book, Introverts In the Church, at Jane's graduation ceremony Saturday. To be perfectly honest, the book drug on a bit in the middle. Like, I know I'm an introvert already... but the last two chapters were helpful. I especially liked chapter 8 on 'Introverted Evangelism'.

Here are the highlights for me from chapters 8 & 9 and the Epilogue...
  • p. 173 - "The mystery of God is not a riddle to be solved through human ingenuity; it is a panoramic vista of indescribable beauty that reveals our own smallness and frailty."
  • p. 174 - "Evangelism does not entail a relationship between strong and weak; it's a relationship of two people conscious of their limitations and wounds, drawing strength from God and from each other."
  • p. 175 - "My understanding of evangelism shifted dramatically when I began to view my role not as initiating spiritual conversations but rather as responding to the ways that God is already at work in people around me."
  • p. 175 - "Evangelism becomes about cultivating spiritual awareness and about discerning the subtle movements of the Holy Spirit in people we encounter."
  • p. 176 - "Protestant leaders seem to trust only the sense of hearing, and therefore rely almost totally upon using the preached and taught Word to reach and teach people. By contrast, Celtic Catholics believe that God can use all five senses to 'speak' to people."
  • p. 180 - "We might even call our style of evangelism a 'listening evangelism.' When someone who identifies herself as a Christian truly listens to another person, it conveys the love and compassion of Jesus in ways that talking about that love never could. Eugene Peterson reflects on the nature of listening: 'pastoral listening requires unhurried leisure, even if it's only for five minutes. Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time. Only in that ambiance of leisure do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance.'" [Definitely an area I need work on]
  • p. 182 - "If we look closely enough, we will find that there are echoes of grace in all of our interests... The connection between God and creation has been distorted by sin but the new creation inaugurated by Jesus' resurrection is reawakening hearts and minds to see the handiwork of the Creator."
  • p. 183 - 6 "practical steps" for helping introverts thrive in evangelism. I will post these separately. Good.
  • p. 184 - "introverted seekers need introverted evangelists."
  • p. 185 - "Introverted evangelists bear with their fellow introverts over time, understanding that faith is more of a process than a one-time decision."
  • p. 190 - "A paradox I uncovered in my research is that introverts often feel more freedom in worship services that feature traditional liturgy than they do in ones that feature more open, informal unstructured styles of worship. Introverts often appreciate the depth of liturgical prayers and hymns, as well as the rich symbolism that fill traditional churches. They may feel less expectation from worship leaders in these churches to offer outward, emotional responses..."
  • p. 191 - "The point is that when introverts enter into worship, we are apt to come trembling before a God whose mysterious otherness often reduces us to silent awe. For us, quiet is often the context for heartfelt worship. For centuries a 'sanctuary' was not only a holy place for worship but also a safe harbor for refugees. When introverts go to church, we crave sanctuary in every sense of the word, as we flee from the disorienting distractions of twenty-first-century life. We desire to escape from superficial relationships, trivial communications and the constant noise that pervade our world, and find rest in the probing depths of God's love. We want to hear God's voice, which comes to us more often in whispers than in triumphant shouts."
  • 192 - a nice idea for 'prayer stations.'
  • p. 193 - "...introverts actually play a critical role in welcoming others. 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 nonintimidating ways."
  • p. 194 - "What we celebrate in the Christian life is that we are not anonymous. We are intimately known by God, and our life in community should be an embodiment of that reality... Further, if a community will not extend the hospitality of Jesus to us, but allows us to float in and out of worship like apparitions, then we will be hindered from engaging in the mission of God in and through that community. As we look for a church, we are not only searching for a comfortable home, we are searching for a body of believers in which we can serve and participate in God's kingdom project ourselves..."
  • p. 204 - "As we make this movement into community, we will find that it's not merely about us finding a place for ourselves, but it's about God showing us where we belong and the gifts we are to others."
Amen. Peace out; and in.