A classic essay from Jonathan Rauch.
Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?
If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?
If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone. Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world….
This editorial hits the nail right on the head. I don’t think I have a single quibble. Here’s a taste:
THE American clergy is suffering from burnout, several new studies show. And part of the problem, as researchers have observed, is that pastors work too much. Many of them need vacations, it’s true. But there’s a more fundamental problem that no amount of rest and relaxation can help solve: congregational pressure to forsake one’s highest calling.
The pastoral vocation is to help people grow spiritually, resist their lowest impulses and adopt higher, more compassionate ways. But churchgoers increasingly want pastors to soothe and entertain them. It’s apparent in the theater-style seating and giant projection screens in churches and in mission trips that involve more sightseeing than listening to the local people.
As a result, pastors are constantly forced to choose, as they work through congregants’ daily wish lists in their e-mail and voice mail, between paths of personal integrity and those that portend greater job security. As religion becomes a consumer experience, the clergy become more unhappy and unhealthy.
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.
A Grief Observed
A classic from Bill MacKinnon: No Voices in My Head
Update– This is my favorite bit, and it hit me like a 2×4 when I first read it a few years back:
It is curious to me that if someone in a typical evangelical church stood up and said an angel spoke to him and told him that God wanted him to be a missionary to Africa, we would be very skeptical at best. Yet if that same person stood up and said that he “just really feel led to go to Africa to be a missionary”, the “amens” and applause would be deafening. Yet the former is biblical and the latter is not.
I was in the Duke Divinity School library yesterday doing some research, and noticed this theological discussion conducted via graffiti near the study carrells.
Is there poop in the eschaton?
I think I’m going to poop
I can’t! Even after ex-lax! Help!
SERIOUSLY- What do you think? Is there pooping in the eschaton?
Depends: at the resurrection, yes. Not at any disembodied intermediate state, though.
RESURRECTED BODIES WILL PROCESS NUTRIENTS PERFECTLY, PRODUCING NO WASTE
Is feces waste? It puts nutrients back into the soil. Could the interconnectivity of life needed to make heaven edenic truly be present without a little poop?
I just hope this doesn’t eventually lead to a church split. The last thing we need are poop-in-the-New-Earth Methodists squaring off against no-poop-in-the-New-Earth Methodists.
Until I know otherwise, I’m going to assume this is the work of pre-law students. Divinity students should all know the real answer already.
When I was eight years old, I was given my first Bible at Hollywood Presbyterian Church by a minister who looked like a football star/leading man. Around the same time my beloved dance teacher gave me a small bottle of perfume, which I loved too much to use. After reading the story of Mary pouring her best perfume oil on Jesus’ feet, I decided to pour my whole bottle of perfume on the Bible. Since that perfume was my only treasure at the time, it was an extravagant expression of faith. That smelly Bible was one of my first attempts to make art.