It seems to be a requirement that to be Mormon, one must be gregarious. It's not really, but us introverts can sometimes feel a little sinny, if you know what I mean. We're not doing the best job with Proclaiming the Gospel or Perfecting the Saints. So if we lack the necrophiliac tendency (that's a joke), what are we to do?
On one hand, we should try to be more outgoing anyway--it's good for us. And besides, since when is quietude an excuse to let people make their way merrily to hell (note: I'm having fun with hyperbole tonight)? Am I so jealous of my little dark corner that I sill not ever walk outside it?
I'm not sure where this is coming from. Yes, I do not often enough act in an outgoing manner. No, I do not stress about it that much. Nor enough, shall we say. But I probably have bigger things to worry about.
But then again, if Peter or Paul were shy and had let that overwhelm their call to preach what then?
Ah, but they were called.
I think with me, I'm a fine calling magnifier, but I'm not much of a callingless magnifier. (I apologizer for the Mormon-heavy vocab for those who are not.) I believe firmly in sinning on the side of doing to much, but I don't necessarily act according to that conviction.
That's a lot of what this svithe was about, and it made the point better, probably, and without all this whining for which I apologize.
So that's enough from me for tonight. Maybe I'll--I don't know--go blow a trumpet from the rooftop or something.
last week's svithe
I have always struggled to be gregarious. No one ever believes me because I can put on the gregarious face when it's necessary, but it's absolutely exhausting.ReplyDelete
Are you sure introverted people do a bad job Proclaiming the Gospel and Perfecting the Saints? I disagree.ReplyDelete
Loud trumpeting is not always the best method of proclaiming the gospel. I think that often, the most effective method of proclaiming the gospel is quietly living a virtuous and Christ-centered life. It may be a different form of proclaiming than the trumpet on the rooftop, but it is just as important.
It's too bad you missed Karen Duncan's talk yesterday - she went on at some length about how surprised she was at the beginning of her RS presidency calling at how much vital yet invisible service was being rendered in the ward. I've noticed this as well in the EQ - the ward wouldn't function without countless quiet acts of service, often rendered by quiet people who don't talk a lot at church.
Another way introverts contribute to the community is by their strong friendships, which hold the ward together in a different way than the gregarious yet diffuse extroverts. The relationship between introverts and extroverts in the church reminds me of concrete and rebar in construction: the concrete is extraordinarily strong against compression, but it crumbles under tension. Rebar buckles under compression, but is strong under tension. Extroverts are kind of like concrete - they keep the ward from buckling in on itself by providing an outward force. Introverts are the ones you rely on to keep the ward from being pulled apart - their strong, individual friendships are like steel bars linking the ward together. I'm a firm believer that we need all kinds of people in the church, we all have our place.
Turning to Jesus' words on the subject, how do you interpret Jesus' words about keeping the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing? To me, it is a sort of call to introversion in gospel service. Jesus is calling for introversion to encourage pure motives, since extroverts tend to do things for the sake of looking good.
So, I think the second part of your shvythe is the more important question - the crux of the matter isn't extrovert versus introvert, it is whether we can motivate ourselves to perform service without being called to do so. I think this is something all of us should aspire to, regardless of personality type. And as long as you're trying to do that, I think you can feel confident that you're contributing to the Church just as much as anyone, regardless of how much ruckus you're raising while doing so. =)
Thanks. I apologize if that came out woe-is-me--I didn't know I would be writing about what I did when I started. I'm always surprising myself like that.
Lady Steed and I watched American Mormon last week, and it made the same point you did. People said funny things, but they all knew Mormons and all respected them greatly.
I think my real question is this: at some point, stasis is reached. And further progress--is it possible without that bit of friendly bombast?
I don't think you sounded woe-is-me at all. I have also felt marginalized at times in Mormon culture for having an introverted side to my personality (especially during my mission, when I was painfully required to develop my extroverted side daily). Reading First Corinthians 12 was a revelation to me, since it seems to address this issue head on, with the conclusion that we're all useful in our own way, and that it's stupid to expect everyone in the church to have the same personality characteristics, ways of looking at the world, or methods of action. This made me feel a lot better about myself. It also makes me eager to point out to everyone who feels marginalized in the church for whatever reason that there is no place in the church for feeling second-class: God has a use for all of us, no matter how humble we may seem.ReplyDelete
This is a powerful idea to me, which is why your post set me off, not because I thought you were whining. =)
Oh, btw - about your last question: I'm really not worried about running out of friendly bombast - we seem to have plenty. ;)ReplyDelete
Clarification: "Friendly bombast" was referring to pushing a neighbor who thinks Mormons are great because you are great into actually turning that nice feeling into action.
But I like your spin on it better.