Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quiet, by Susan Cain (a guest post)


Last year, I reviewed Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. And I loved it. So when I was presented with a second opportunity to review the book, I recruited my husband to read it and share his thoughts. The book is also the subject of the Book Club over at Patheos, where we both contribute to Schaeffer's Ghost, an Evangelical commentary on books and film. Here's an excerpt of his review:

I think part of the problem here is one of categorization. When thinking in terms of Christianity, the absolute categorization of either an introvert ideal or an extrovert ideal falls flat. This is because there is both an introverted and an extroverted component to the Gospel. 
On the one hand, Christians ought to be extroverted. This is true not only because we are expected (even commanded) to engage with others in sharing the Gospel, but also because the very foundation of our faith is someone external to us coming along, dragging us out of ourselves (it’s even more violent than that—the Bible uses the language of putting the old person to death) and planting us firmly in a non-optional relationship with another person (Jesus) and a group of other people (the church). In a very real sense, there is no ‘alone time’ for the Christian—something which no doubt causes many introverts to shudder in panic. In this sense, the Gospel has a quite necessary extroverted component. 
On the other hand, Christians ought to be introverted. We are responsible for our own spiritual lives—the commands to be holy and fight against sin are not Biblical charges to take up political crusades against institutional evil. They are rather directions for examining our interior lives and casting off those aspects of ourselves which continue to persist in rebellion against God. And of course part of this process is being slower to speak, being aware of our own sinful nature, and being on guard against allowing that sinful aspect of ourselves to take control of our tongue and actions (in one sense, the serpent in the Garden was the chief of extroverts—he projected his personality onto others in an attempt to remake them in his own image). Likewise, quiet meditation on Scripture, solitary prayer, and reflection should all increasingly be aspects of the Christian life. In this sense, the Gospel has a quite necessary introverted component as well.
Full review available here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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