I tend to be a loner—a very private person. I grew up hearing from my parents, “That’s nobody’s business but ours.” In other words, no one else needs to know our concerns. What we do is confidential. It’s not for public consumption. I took that concept and ran with it…probably to an extreme.
Part of my problem (if you can call it that) is that I’m an introvert. One of the cruel jokes of ministry is that 85% of all pastors are introverts. (I’m convinced that is part of the curse dropped on us in the Garden of Eden. Just a wild guess, of course.)
I’ve worked hard (and continue to do so) at overcoming my introversion. Since it’s built into my personality, I will probably never completely overcome it. But I’ve done a relatively decent job of covering it up.
Actually, I really enjoy other people…just not too many and for too long. I’m telling you, it’s part of the curse.
One of the central themes of the Bible is the communal nature of the church…koinonia (Greek for fellowship or community). Loners have a hard time with that. It becomes necessary for us to break out of our mold. We have to work at being more open and accepting. One of the hardest things for me as a Christian has always been the inclusion of the whole church in my life. Even as a pastor I still work on that one.
I Am Second
There is a really good website called I Am Second. My youngest son turned me on to this a few years ago. I like to go back to it from time to time, because it’s a great site to remind us that we are truly not alone.
I sometimes joke that the church would be great if it wasn’t for the people. Obviously, that’s absurd on its face. Without people there is no church.
Christianity is a little paradoxical in its ability to tolerate others. On the one hand, you can’t even be considered a member of the church unless you believe in Jesus. That sounds a little intolerant. On the other hand, if you believe in Jesus, we can tolerate almost anything else about you.
Where some people make their mistake is when they confuse tolerance and love. We are commanded to love everyone, not tolerate them. Loving from a distance is not really an option, though.
Preaching to the Masses
What’s really strange is this. The bigger the crowd, the easier it is for me to preach. Explain that one to me. A crowded party drains the energy right out of me. A crowded worship service gets me juiced up (spiritually speaking). Could it be because I don’t have to look at one person too long? Inquiring minds want to know.
This was easy to write because I’m alone right now.