Does being a Christian mean that I need to be an extroverted person? In other words, is God ashamed of me for being a “nerd”? I listened to a lot of Mark Driscoll’s sermons and it sounds like he’s trying to guilt people from being a “nerd.” Like some how it is a sin to love my books and prefer quiet times by myself rather than going out there and mingling with other people or enjoy watching sports. Your answer will help me bring much needed peace to my heart.
To answer your first question: absolutely not.
God wants you and that’s why He made you you and not someone else.
The modern church has long been inadvertently biased against introverts (which is topic of a recent Christian book) — but since most people in general are not extroverts, that’s shutting out a lot of people.
In my own church, where we do our best to cultivate every single person, the kinds of people on “out-front” teams and “behind-the-scenes” teams come from a full range of personalities. An introvert can be a praise leader just as much as an extrovert can be the sound technician. I have stage fright yet I’m a preacher. It’s almost random, as if God can work through anybody for anything.
No one should ever guilt-trip you about how God has wired you, so throw that off and move forward. God would never ever shame you about that, because that’s never who He is and He has lovingly handcrafted you for His Kingdom.
About Mark Driscoll: I totally love his preaching. I don’t always agree with what he says and does, but I believe he is a decent man of God.
Since I’ve heard a lot of his preaching, I think what he means is that we shouldn’t do too much of one thing at the expense of the other, because after all, he is talking to a very hipster culture of Seattle dudes who are not very driven. It’s sort of like how Francis Chan talks to lukewarm Christians or Matt Chandler yells at Bible-belt religious people — they have a specific audience in mind. It’s all in context.
Mark Driscoll has also said in an interview he sometimes takes a whole day off to read books from his iPad for 12 to 15 hours straight. His teenage daughter writes book reviews on Driscoll’s website. The Mars Hill praise team looks like a bunch of dudes that never see the sun. And since most of his church is composed of Reformed Calvinists: most of them probably blog from their basement.
All that to say, if you were to sit down with Pastor Mark face to face, then 1) he is also kind of a nerd, and 2) I highly doubt he would shame you as one human being to another. I’m not totally defending Driscoll, but I want to throw him some grace here because I really do think he has a good heart about this.
What I’ve seen happen though is that many Christians are in the danger of intellectual growth while never talking to real living breathing people, which is why Apostle Paul said, “Knowledge puffs, but love builds up.” We are always on the brainy side of this slippery slope. No Christian has ever been in danger of loving TOO much.
We like to stay isolated in our religious rabbit-holes and lock ourselves up with ivory-tower-theology that only amounts to theory.
I don’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone or you have to serve at the homeless ministry or that you must go to every church event: but the Christian life will necessarily entail that you step out of your comfort zone and collide with others.
For introverts, usually they are more comfortable with other introverts, and that’s totally okay. Remember: in general, more people are introverted. So at the soup kitchen or the sports game, you might move towards the people who are awkwardly standing on the side unsure of what to do: and out of that awkwardness is born a different kind of momentum. Find them, love them, and empower one another.
You’ll also be surprised how much God will stretch you in this area AND how great you’ll do. You might constantly think, “This is not for me; I can’t do this; So many people; Someone else can do it —” but when you actually have faith and take the opportunity, you’ll not only unleash talent you never knew, but you’ll have a great time doing it. Don’t be afraid to step out a bit. God loves the nerds, too.
Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it — made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. — C.S. Lewis