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Travis Busbar

January 17, 2014  6:05pm

Sorry Courtney, but you don't quite "get it" yet. Study up on how the parts of the body are represented in the church. Must the ears, become like the feet... must the hands, become like the mouth. Run how God has created you, and rejoice in that creation, but don't insist that we become what we are not.

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audrey ruth

January 16, 2014  10:21pm

Ronda, I appreciate your kind words. :) Like your husband, I can be physically wiped out, then get in a group of people and be like the energizer bunny. My husband does not understand this at all. He does enjoy talking to friends about favorite hobbies, but he doesn't 'light up' like an energizer bunnies, if you know what I mean. I do love people, get a kick out of being with them, I even enjoy public speaking, but when I come home I am so, so ready to chill out and rest and relax (oh, the joy of a long soak in a bubble bath!) and I especially enjoy talking to the Lord about what's going on in my life, because He enables me to see it from His POV. Several people have tried to 'define' me with popular labels of personalities, but they always tell me I'm a blend. That's okay with me.

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Dan from Georgia

January 16, 2014  10:16pm

I LOVE your comments Rick Dalbey and Grady Walton! As a fellow introvert and creative, I can attest to what you are both saying. I would also like to add... DON'T EVER ASK US AGAIN IN CHURCH TO HOLD HANDS WITH THE STANGER NEXT TO US DURING THE AKWARD CLOSING 2 MINUTE PRAYER!!! STOP IT!!! NOW!!!! Second, way back in 1999 went to my one and only church "men's retreat". Why did I stop going? Well...cars...cars..kids...cars...kids...cars...sports...cars...sports...ki ds...ad nauseum. Yep, all us men are all alike! Cookie-cutter Christian men. Lastly, I think that people who work with youth don't all need to be hyper-spastic, booger joke telling, dodge-ball gaming loudmouths. There are ALOT of kids who HATED being in youth group because they would have rather spent time in more quiet pursuits!

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Mark Dohle

January 16, 2014  5:11pm

I am the 3rd of eleven. I was very introverted as a child, but when I was 11 I decided that I needed to change. So I joined the boy scouts, little league and the ROTC later in High School. I hated it, but it taught me to be more outgoing. Most people think I am an extrovert, but I am exhausted much of the time and do need a lot of time alone. I like solitude, but work with the public in a retreat house. I can give talks and i do have a blog that I share with others. Labels are dangerous if taken to literally. However for me it is about how I get my energy, I get it from being alone, reading, praying, walking or just being....and yes watching a move by myself.

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Grady Walton

January 16, 2014  11:52am

Continued: All church camp retreats do not have to be action-packed events where participants run from one high-energy activity to another. Church staff should include a mix of extroverts and introverts. Refrain from constantly pushing the notion that all Christians should aspire to leadership. Some of us do not want to lead; we prefer to be creative or put our head down and work. Don’t expect all introverts to lead Sunday school; it would be better to ask us to support the Sunday school teacher . . . perhaps we could write curriculum or obtain visual aids and rewards for the children. Anyhow, these are just a few ideas.

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Grady Walton

January 16, 2014  11:51am

Continued: Include more worship songs with a meditative tone as opposed to the mostly get-up-on-your-feet-and-shout types of songs. Stop asking the congregation to stand for every song; quietly sitting or kneeling are o.k. Have a few moments of silent meditation after the slow songs. Move the official meet and greet from the middle of the service to the beginning or the end, or do away with it entirely since most of the actual meeting and greeting goes on before and after the service. Stop pressuring the entire congregation to greet someone new each Sunday; greeting new people is the perfect fit for extroverts, not introverts.

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Grady Walton

January 16, 2014  11:50am

Amen brother Rick. You are hilarious with just the right dash of rebuke intertwined. I have often wondered why I don’t enjoy golf like the more gregarious men I’ve known. I prefer the solitude of cross country running for---gasp!---recreation. Even posting comments with other commenters on this site feels a bit like going to a party. I feel the need for a run coming on. Anyhow, someone asked how the church could accommodate introverts. Here are some suggestions that I will list in the next two comment boxes:

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Ronda Stewart-Wilcox

January 16, 2014  6:18am

Audrey, you very ably described an introvert. An introvert is not shy and an extrovert is not a boor. I am an introvert. I like people. I like having friends. I am comfortable speaking to groups of people. At some point though, I'm exhausted and need some time alone to think my thoughts. My husband is an extrovert. He can be physically wiped out, but get him in a group of people and he seems to be like the energizer bunny!

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Rick Dalbey

January 15, 2014  2:54pm

My industry, Advertising agencies, are built on the extremes of personality. Writers and artists, the concept people who actually produce things are inward driven introverts (for the most part). They may dress oddly and are able to focus for hours on visual or verbal concepts, living in the world of imagination. They are skilled with words, images and computers. Account executives, who are ALL extroverts (I have never seen an introverted Account Executive) dress sharp, do lunch, always remember birthdays, hate to eat alone, sell the artists work and live for parties. They ALL golf (no exceptions here) were in sororities and fraternities and could talk for hours about football team rivalries. But they can't create. At all. A good agency needs both but you can imagine the friction.

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John Lotze

January 15, 2014  2:34pm

I appreciate the effort at balance on this issue, but some of the wording in the article reveals the subtle and pervasive bias against introverts in our society and culture, and, yes, even in the church. "She provides a helpful list of leaders and influencers who were introverts and yet accomplished tremendous things." -- Why "yet," as though introverts have some handicap that must be overcome to accomplish great things. I'm reading the book that is being discussed here, and the author's point is precisely the opposite: that introverts accomplish some great things because of their personality type, which gives them strengths in some areas that extroverts typically lack. "Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks were introverts? And yet, look at all they accomplished." -- Same bias here. Cain's book's point is that these people's introversion was the key to accomplishing the things they did, not that they somehow accomplished things in spite of being introverted.

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audrey ruth

January 15, 2014  1:27am

I don't know what I am. I was born an introvert, was very shy throughout my preschool years, but I was forced to learn and use extroverted mannerisms by my mother, who was very anxious that I should succeed in life. As I result I did learn to overcome the shyness to some degree, and a lot of people think I really am extroverted. They don't know what a relief it is for me to go home to my favorite chair and have alone time when I can just sit and think and talk to the Lord about what's going on in my life. I do enjoy people and have wonderful family and friends, but I also cherish alone time. So, what am I? "They" say opposite attract, and I married a wonderful introvert who becomes very extroverted when talking about his favorite things.

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Liz T

January 14, 2014  6:19pm

That is an interesting statistic. Thank you for sharing. But there are still extroverts that are in that other 40%. And even if extroverts are not extremely gifted and creative, they still can have more to offer the world than selling cars and running for office. Many extroverts are great leaders, not just in the government. I know some extroverts that are very good at making people feel comfortable and welcome, which is an amazing skill. We all have different skills and personalities that I believe should be accepted and celebrated. Extroverts are not better than introverts, and introverts are not better than extroverts. We cannot control whether we are extroverts or introverts-most of us are born one way or the other.

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Rick Dalbey

January 14, 2014  5:58pm

Here's an interesting statistic for you. "Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population." From about.com, Gifted Children. To be creative by its very definition is to be inner directed. "Creative; relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work." Creative people can focus in isolation for hours and live in the world of imagination. Think of Einstein, Picasso or Bach. But extraverts are important too. Somebody has to sell the used cars and run for office. ;)

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Liz T

January 14, 2014  5:02pm

There are important, creative introverts and there are important, creative extroverts. Many introverts are social. I would consider myself an introvert because I really do love being around people, but I too need to have time to myself and cannot be around others. I am interested in people's personalities too. I think we should embrace all personality types and not look down in each other for our differences. Why is extroversion bad? Why is introversion bad? It seems like there are more extroverts because extroverts tend to make themselves known more than introverts do. How would we cater to introverts in the church? How do we get that balance? Introverts will have to do something about it, because the extroverts won't always understand how.

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Rick Dalbey

January 14, 2014  3:51pm

It's really nice of you to tolerate introverts. Why, "it's not just the extroverts who have changed the world." And, here all this time I thought only extroverts changed the world. Now I find out that "introverts are pretty great, too!" Who woulda thought! She provides a helpful list of leaders and influencers who were introverts and yet accomplished tremendous things. How special! I've noticed that extroverts love to take personality tests. And they love to talk about their personalities. Most artists, sculptors, architects, writers, poets, musicians, and scientists are introverts. My tribe. But don't feel bad, extroverts make great car salesmen and politicians. And they're important too!

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Grady Walton

January 14, 2014  1:45pm

Crab Grass. You are right about the church, especially contemporary models of church, catering to extroverts. As an introvert, the church can occasionally feel sooooo shallow, loud, and busy. As soon as the service is over, I’m heading towards the door while my extroverted wife mingles. (Such are the blessings of a mixed marriage.) Sometimes I’d like to run screaming (oh the irony of a screaming introvert) to the Catholic Church where worship is quiet and contemplative. As for relationships, all introverts do not hole up in a Montana cabin while neglecting their hygiene and losing the ability to communicate (which, come to think of it, is my vision of an ideal retirement). We simply prefer to have a couple friends with whom we aver very close. (My closest friends just happen to be two dogs and one nervous cat.) One of the most valuable things introverts bring to the table is our ability to see dangers that others overlook or ignore. Too bad the loudmouths get all the attention.

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JULIE DAUBE

January 14, 2014  11:54am

I don't think the author really understands what an introvert is, as seen in the following statement: "For the introvert, you may have the silence and solitude thing down, but you're also called to enter into the lives of those around you for discipleship and fellowship." This implies that introverts don't like to socialize, which isn't necessarily true. As an introvert, I truly enjoy getting involved in the lives of people around me for discipleship or fellowship; however, after being around a lot of people for an extended period, I do need time alone to recharge. Also, introverts tend to prefer one-on-one or small-group interaction to being with a big crowd of people - but most of us aren't hermits.

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Lisa Horn

January 14, 2014  7:59am

Thanks for your article. I too noticed the same articles on the internet related to personality type this past year. Since I had just finished graduate work related to personality type and spiritual formation, I was intrigued. While I admit that the USA evangelical church style might feel more comfortable for the extrovert, as an extrovert myself, I find what I call the spiritual formation community not quite so understanding. I have sometimes felt like a round peg being squeezed into a round hole when I get around people in that community. Hence, I started a blog related to this issue. http://outtherespiritualformation.blogspot.com/ I agree that as much as we can identify with others who are like us, it is always good to seek to understand and accept others not like us. My husband is an introvert and I guess that gene (if one exists) is rather strong as our three children all seem to be introverts. I have a great love and appreciation for the introverted personality type.

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David Stafford

January 13, 2014  9:47pm

Ref. The last sentence in the article: Unless, of course, it offends you...then, as, of course, you already know, you must pluck it out or cut it off, for it is better to enter into life halt or maimed, than, having every eye, hand, or foot, etc., to be cast into hell, where the worm never dies, and the fire is not quenched. Just to put us in remembrance. Or maybe that admonition doesn't refer to the body of the church but only to individuals? Is the church an individual? Hmmm.

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Crab Grass

January 13, 2014  6:51pm

@ Sarah Smith. I have to disagree. It seems like introverts are out numbered by extroverts and American culture is biased in favor of extroverts - so they need to be exposed to lot of articles about introversion. I've had too many extroverts mistake my introversion for snobbery, arrogance, or just plain not accept me as I am (introvert). I don't try to force extroverts to be like me (quiet and loner like), so they should learn to accept introverts are they are. Posting links to articles about introversion is a step in educating them. Also, too many churches are extrovert favored. They are too loud, too many people, too much stuff going on, to much loud music - I hate it. But introverts are expect to put up with those sorts of environments all the time.

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Sarah Smith

January 13, 2014  6:34pm

I think that this is a very timely piece. I have seen a lot of things that people have posted on Facebook with titles such as "Understanding Introverts". While I am very introverted, I would prefer to understand others instead of try to demand that they understand me. I have sadly seen many introverts who seem to take the second option.

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Tim Fall

January 13, 2014  2:23pm

Thanks, Courtney, for the reminder that all personality types are welcome in the kingdom of God just as the kingdom has a place for all types of service. When I first became a judge, one of the training sessions I attended noted that the judiciary is heavily occupied by a limited range of personality types. How different from the Church! Cheers, Tim P.S. My take on judges, the church and personality types - http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/judging-meyers-briggs/

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Adam Shields

January 13, 2014  11:30am

What I have always found helpful with many of these personality type categories, is that the strength is itself the greatest weakness. If we understand that, instead of forcing different types into competition, I think we get a real sense of why we need the body.

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Gina Dalfonzo

January 13, 2014  11:06am

Very nice work, Courtney! I appreciate your balanced and thoughtful take on this.

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Andrea Giesbrecht

January 13, 2014  10:12am

I agree wholeheartedly! As an introvert, I think it's good to value my "alone-time" and to withdraw when I'm "peopled-out". But that's no reason to be a hermit. Not just because I can, in fact, get lonely. Fellowship blesses everyone involved and enriches the church. How wonderful it is that there are people who are energized by other people! I am in awe of those who can be out among crowds, working day in and day out ministering to others, who can "take it" and weather the storm when everyone else has lost their minds. We need those people. In the same way, we need people like me, who shine in one-on-one moments, who listen intently and reply with care, and who, when they come back from their "alone-time", may bring with them glorious insights to share with the world.

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