Here’s our final installment on introverts and the church, with the reader’s question/observation:
Assuming that introversion is a universal trait, what would be the difference between an individualistic introvert and a collectivistic one? I'm not tremendously interested in being a selfish “hyper-individualist”, but I'm not sure where “hardcore introversion” ends and that begins, or if that's even the right way to think about the matter. For what it's worth, I've an inkling that introversion is a personality function and individualism/collectivism is a value that determines who a person functions for, so to speak.
That is indeed correct! Too often I find that those who are introverted are regarded as “selfish” for not sharing their time – for socializing, mind you, not social service. (That the extrovert is being “selfish” by goading the introvert into socializing isn’t thought of as often – because they assume that their socialization values as extroverts are universal.)
Socialization and social service, however, are not the same thing. Those who serve “behind the scenes” in any working environment make their own contribution. We may not see the night janitor who works alone to clean our offices, but we sure would miss him or her if they didn’t show. And they are probably introverts! So likewise, our behind the scenes ministry people serve the Body of Christ just as equitably as do the people who take a seat in the public eye.
We’d like to thank our reader for some excellent questions, and for inspiring this series.