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Introverts, Extroverts, and the Jesus Creed.
On at least a couple of occasions, I have been asked whether I get energized (or re-energized) when I am alone, or when with others. It is a classic, yet simplistic indicator used to see if one is an introvert or an extrovert (or ambivert, for those closer to the middle):
The topic of introverts and extroverts, in relation to the Christian walk, has been brought to mind a few times recently. A recent post on the Jesus Creed discussion on the issue of leadership brought to mind a seminary professor (and minister) who described the impact of his introversion on his job. He discussed how draining certain aspects of his job, such as board meetings, were due to this personality trait. I have therefore wondered: do we expect our leaders to be extroverts?
Coincidentally, this introvert/extravert topic came up again just days later when listening to a GodPod broadcast (http://sptc.htb.org.uk/godpod/godpod-44).
A listener, an introvert, submitted a question about that trait in relation to the prospect of eternal community. He expressed concern about eternally being in a state of community, which seemed somewhat of a draining concept to him. The responses of the panelists to this concern brought up various additional aspects of introversion and extroversion in regards to the Christian life. These aspects included the potential impact on the practice of spiritual disciplines, and how on we read Scripture.
With these questions and issues in mind, I would like to hear how those in the Jesus Creed community think introversion and extroversion impacts their own journey, and that of the church as a whole.
- Does introversion, extroversion, or ambiversion impact how you practice spiritual disciplines? (For example, do introverts focus more on practices done in solitude, while extroverts focus more on practices done in community?)
- Do you put reasonable and healthy spiritual expectations on others, including in discipleship, with proper consideration of personality traits?
- Does it impact how you read Scripture, including what portions you prefer to focus on?
- Do you see some of these introvert and extrovert traits in some of the authors of Scripture?
- Does it impact your theology in some way?
- Does it impact how you live out the Jesus Creed (Love God…Love others)?
- Finally, is being either an introvert or an extrovert something that will eventually be erased as we are renewed through the power of God, or are they positive tools that can eternally benefit God’s Kingdom?