It’s Good to be Blog – Resistance is Counterproductive

Granting the assumption argued in the previous post, that we were built for groups, what does that mean for the introvert?

It means I might have been gypped.

At first glance that might seem to be counter-intuitive, to wish to be part of a group as an introvert. If you are in introvert why in the world would you want to be forced into collectivism by some cultural conditioning? If you are asking that question you are most likely an extrovert. Though introverts need their time alone they still need interaction with other people.

The reason that I think the old middle-eastern way of defining your identity may have been better is that it might be easier for introverts. If everyone in your culture knew that the most natural way to exist was to be part of a group, then introverts would have been accepted more readily. There wouldn’t have been as much pressure on the introvert to act like an extrovert in order to fit in. If you had skills not found in others of a group you would have made the group stronger. There would have been much less “schmoozing” in order to be accepted.

Paul writes to the Church in Corinth, explaining the danger of homogeneousness in the church;

 “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14-26

this, and other passages, seems to say that no matter what kind of person you were, you had a place and a purpose. There was no need to conform to some kind of group standard, except for the one standard, belonging to Christ. Individualism was actually more encouraged within the group than it is now. An introvert wouldn’t have been expected to act like everyone else. Earlier in that same chapter Paul talks about how everyone have been given certain gifts, and that it is God who determines what those are. Their strengths and weaknesses would have been recognized and taken advantage of to support the group. It would have been easier to fit in without being expected to change who you are.

That may be something that is missing in American churches today.

My family and I stated attending a new church a few months ago, but the only people who have approached us are a couple of people we already knew before attending. No one else has even asked our names. It’s not that we feel unwelcome, we would not have attended this long if that were the case, it’s that we feel invisible.

I know, I know, I should reach out more. I should make more of an effort. I should be more of an extrovert. If we decide to keep attending I will make more of effort to reach out, since they are not making the move. I’m not above doing that, it can just seem so forced sometimes. Like most introverts I am terrible at small talk, so my best bet may be trying to join a study group or small class. I just wish someone would invite me. The Pastor is always talking about how they need to reach out to the community more, but I’m right there in the midst of them, being ignored.

Please don’t think I am picking on this church. This isn’t an isolated occurrence. Over the last couple of decades I have been searching for a home church and have always seen this same pattern. Even after attending for years it has still been awkward. If you can’t small talk, you don’t fit in. I can’t supply small talk, but I have lots to contribute to real conversation.

What do you think I should do? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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