Probably no other religion is harder on introverts than Christianity. But all the other religions lead to hell, so what are you going to do.
When you’re an introvert and you become a Christian, everything starts out good. This is because introverts are great at one-on-one interactions.
God: I sent my Son as an atoning sacrifice because I want to have a personal relationship with you
Introvert: sounds good
God: …now meet your new brothers and sisters
Introvert: wait what
Then all the extrovert Christians appear and hand you visitor cards to fill out and invite you to go eat at Panera after church and the whole time they’re excitedly blurting out what their Enneagram type is and begging you to reveal yours and anyway I didn’t like the Enneagram the first time, back when it was called “Gary Smalley assigns you an animal label.” There were four animals; I think one was a dog.
Most people would assume Jesus was an extrovert, but was he? The Son of Man was good in front of a crowd, but that was part of his job. When the work was done, he spent an awful lot of time doing things like this:
He didn’t recharge around people; he recharged in solitude. I strongly suspect that Jesus was an introvert. I’m going to ask about this when I get to heaven, right after I ask whether Rahab banged those two Israelite spies and that’s why they agreed to save her family. Those are my two questions.
Anyway, the point is that you don’t have to be an extrovert to be a Christian. You can introvert your way through this thing, but you’re going to need some help.
I got you, fam:
The problem with church is that it’s full of people. But that’s no reason to just not go. Besides, if you’re going to give up on church, do it the right way: wait until the pastor says some minor thing you disagree with, then start a campaign of passive-aggressive subterfuge that culminates in a rambling, vague Facebook post where you make some kind of analogy about wolves and sheep and wind up blocking a bunch of people.
Anyway, you can do this. You just have to make the necessary adjustments:
- Getting caught in the sanctuary by chatty people? Come late and sit in the back. Last one into the sanctuary is the first one out. Also, you will be more likely to survive a fire.
- Pressured by the weekly Baptist altar call? Creeped out by the Charismatic laying on of prayer-hands? Switch that denomination up, bubba. Look for a Presbyterian church or at least a church full of old people that you can outrun to the parking lot.
- Are other couples badgering you and your spouse to go to lunch? I’ve found that casually referencing your explosive diarrhea, or your ankle monitor, or randomly blurting out Carman lyrics, are all effective tactics to escape these situations.
Sometimes, church accountability is a good thing. If the children’s minister is selling cocaine to the children, you need someone to step in and say “those kids are way too young for that, take it to the youth group instead.”
But other than that, accountability is bad because it involves social interaction. PRO TIP: you can’t really get in trouble for anything if you’re not an official member. Then the pastors will come to you and be like “if you’re not a member, you can’t be a leader or vote on things” and even though that sounds really good, they mean it as a bad thing. I guess that kind of consequence works on extroverts, I don’t know. Then they’ll give you that Thom Rainer book about church membership, but to heck with Thom Rainer, he’s at war with Sho Baraka’s penis, I will not read his book until he resolves that conflict.
Sometimes, though, they’ll ask you to help out with stuff even if you aren’t a member. This is probably a trick from the extroverts to draw you out into the open.
Don’t run away, though. Save your excuses for when you will really need them, like when they ask you to host a small group. PRO TIP: volunteer early and specifically. There are enough obscure ministries that you can join relatively painlessly. Someone needs to show up early and throw salt on the walkways when it snows. Someone needs to walk around and pick up all the plastic communion cups between services.
Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can join the best of all introvert ministries, the sound booth.
The sound booth is a beautiful sanctuary of tranquility where no one ever bothers you and you just get to sit there and push buttons and pretend to look busy. [I’m actually writing this entire post from the sound booth and no one realizes it.]
You have to be careful, though. A long time ago, my brother was a sound booth guy in our Assembly of God church. He was really good at fixing all the sound problems but also not telling anyone how he did it, so that he just got to stay back there all the time. Also, he would play solitaire on one of the church computers through the entire service. One Sunday morning he accidentally sent the solitaire feed into the stage video monitor that faced the pastor. That wasn’t good. But my brother wasn’t an official member so what could they really do.
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