“Social no longer means physical!”
Recently, the above statement came from my eldest daughter when we were having a discussion after church one Sunday afternoon. She’s 15, an avid book reader who loves THE SIMS and displays the classic sign of a typical introvert: she gets her energy from being alone.
In fact, three out of the four Mathies get their energy from being alone. Only one of us gets their energy from being with other people – my youngest is the selfie-taking, always skyping or texting or facebooking, first one on the dancefloor!
Our debate centred about why neither ’definition’ was truly correct or right … that we all have intro / extro parts to our make up … and that all we need to know & be honest about is the thing that gives us our energy.
Recently I’ve spent time in the company of my family & loved it. We spent a week in Manchester with a couple of sojourns to Liverpool. Both are fantastic cities with tons to see & do. I was a pilgrim to both Piccadilly Records in Manchester & the Cavern Club in Liverpool … and loved every minute!
I’ve also spent time watching the World Cup with friends and, ultimately, with a gathering of likeminded Germany supporters in my church. Watching the game on a wall, projected by an HD projector with 5.1 surround was something special but what made it was the people I was with. We ’oohed’ and ’ahhed’ together as one, jumping up and down when “Super” Mario Götze finally scored. It was a fun evening, one we intend on repeating with other major sporting or cultural events.
I am also preparing for my now annual trip to Huddersfield to meet up with a number of musicians who publish music through my netlabel: weareallghosts. Up until last year I had never met any of the artists on my label & this year I will meet more of them along with another ambient musician & radio host who’s work impresses me. This meet up adds meat to the bone, it solidifies already meaningful relationships & let’s us dream dreams together. By the time you read this my trip will be over and I’ll be planning the next adventure.
When Paul encouraged believers to keep on meeting together, I don’t think he could have envisioned a world where we could stop meeting together and still be considered social … but then he was a great letter-writer, bringing encouragement for his isolated prison cell, which is a remarkably social act In it’s own way.
I guess where I’m coming from is that there always is, as Paul called out, a need for the physical. While social no longer means *exclusively* physical interaction, there is still a need for physical engagement.
It’s just that some people *need* physical interaction more than others. As such, we have to be mindful of the make up of people as well as the movement of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings.
People are grey areas – no one is completely intro OR extro, we each have shades of black AND white in our make up. As such, we need to ensure that, in all we do, we provide for both poles. A ’one size fits all’ monoculture no longer works any-more & we need to acknowledge this – we need to build an inclusive ’and’ culture, rather than a disparate set of ’or’ subcultures, a culture based on and celebrating our differences in make up.
(I sometimes wonder if denominational splits are as much to do with intro / extro as much as it is about theology … a thought for another day, perhaps?)
A something-for-everyone inclusive God-honouring ’and’ culture should be our goal … but it should never be allowed to over-rule the movement of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve been in gatherings recently where it seems the Spirit is champing at the bit to be freed and, instead, He is left to canter respectfully because members of the congregation would be rather taken aback if He went wild. Now when you’ve been in a gathering where everything planned and I mean *everything* is thrown out the window when the Spirit is given free reign and really lets go … respectful cantering just isn’t good enough.
Sometimes uncomfortable is good for us because sometimes it is the only way we grow.
Sometimes introverts need to attend showings of the World Cup Final and jump up and down with their friends … and sometimes extroverts need to be alone with their thoughts and prayers in periods of quiet contemplation and meditation.
Provision for both in an inclusive ’and’ culture will ensure the best of both worlds, one where social isn’t *exclusively* physical but where the needs of people are catered for in such a way as to make it the *preferred* option.
Let’s encourage each other to meet together and provide ’and’ experiences that ensure this meeting together is a wonderfully joyous, albeit potentially uncomfortable in places, experience for everyone … and let’s do it in a way that is open to the Spirit’s feistiness, where we are able to let go of all we’ve prepared and let Him take the lead.
After all, our energy should ultimately come from Him.