Christianity, Introversion and the church

Preachers often talk in a way that amounts to emotional blackmail to ``be nice'', ``be together'', ``be chummy'', ``build bridges, not walls''. This is all very nice for people who crave support and affirmation, or who crave contact but can't get it at the pub because people aren't on best behaviour there and can't tell them to get lost! But how do those of us who need walls (or our personal space) fit into this? Could it be that we don't matter, and that we have been put here for those who do need a umbilical to feed on?

One possibility would be for services to be arranged so that people can worship without being crawled over, but have to pay a tax of allowing people to crawl over them at some other time?

In preparation!

It only takes a moment...

My own finding (but I suspect others find this too, which is why I mention it here) is that it only takes a moment of being used for contact to break a long period of peace, and it takes a long time (perhaps longer than is available in the space of a church service) to regain that sense of peace.

It seems to happen only when the person talking to you seems to particularly want contact, as though it is the use for feeding of needs that breaks the peace, more than the act of talking.

I suspect that the person using you for "contact" or "affirmation" may get what they want for a similar length of time.

A small practical suggestion

Sidespersons, greeters, ushers etc are often right by the church door, so you can't get in without being subjected to their ministry. If they could be moved from the aisle by the porch, to the nave, and a table with the service sheets, books, etc, be put by the entrance, those who want to slip in without talking to anyone could do so, and those who preferred to be greeted could do so.

A further refinement, for those who find that "sharing the peace" in the service is disruptive, is that that aisle could be for those who don't want to go round shaking hands. I doubt that many of us will mind being thought of badly by the contact-cravers.

[John's Christianity page]
John C. G. Sturdy

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