The Power of Introverts

I’ve been writing about this book, and here is the author’s TED talk. (The book is so much better. Of course.) But the talk is well worth a quick listen, holding within it glimmers of the richness in the book itself.

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

This all leads, in some way, shape, or form, to Carmel, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by John of the Cross – Spain’s greatest poet, one of the Church’s greatest spiritual writers, with a deep and rich call to the interior life that he did not take for granted. The necessity of time away, time with one’s thoughts, time spent in one’s heart, where alone we know the Lord, who reveals Himself in majesty.

A song of the soul’s happiness in having passed through the dark night of faith, in nakedness and purgation, to union with its Beloved.

1. One dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings — ah, the sheer grace! — I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, — ah, the sheer grace! — in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night, in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look at anything, with no other light or guide than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me more surely than the light of noon to where he was awaiting me — him I knew so well — there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the Lover with his beloved, transforming the beloved in her Lover.

6. Upon my flowering breast which I kept wholly for him alone, there he lay sleeping, and I caressing him there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

7. When the breeze blew from the turret, as I parted his hair, it wounded my neck with its gentle hand, suspending all my senses.

8. I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on my Beloved; all things ceased; I went out from myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

John of the Cross

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The Culture of Personality

It’s a simple idea really, and she documents it with precision.

As Cain writes in her book, we currently live in a “Culture of Personality,” where extraversion is the ideal, a far departure from the past “Culture of Character,” which prized honor and discipline. “What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private,” she writes.

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-power-of-introverts-qa-with-susan-cain/

Thrown into the mix of a culture growing on salesmanship, the same culture in which Dale Carnegie grew to be an icon, she documents the change in advertising as a simple way to see what was growing in the popular culture of the time. Ads changed from simple advertisements, to the perceived need for a product to be accepted and loved. “Buy this Toothpaste and make the best first impression.” “Buy this scent so everyone will know you’re the best.” That sort of thing.

Business schools started gearing their classes towards extroversion, et cetera down the line until we see today the leadership courses so popular that rely almost solely on extroverted leadership as the basis and norm of action in being a qualified leader.

As priests we take these leadership courses on and off – team building, brainstorming, meetings galore. Nothing is ever said about the need for people to have time to focus and develop their ideas, and nothing is said about the fact that many of the most successful corporations and businesses have as their leaders complete introverts (think Microsoft, Apple, for starters.)

This boils down to our current situation, in the Church, where we priests being expected to be extroverted leaders in a world dominated by extroverts, aside from the fact that most priests are introverts. The culture of personality shows up very strong in such an environment where we see priests needing to be liked more than they are expected to behave in a Catholic way in private.

The reliance on a culture of personality for church leadership can, in my own consideration, lead to such things as Fr. Travis Clark and Fr. Pat Wattigny, doing everything right to be priests, yet having a bizarre double lives.

Extroversion and Introversion aside – they’re just preferences and not the ultimate shaper of one’s free will – Cal Newport writes about Deep Work. His writing is geared towards academics, but how much more necessary is it for the Church to observe his own basic and obvious conclusions? Three to four hours are required to enter into a state of thought conducive to our best work in any subject.

As a musician I would practice three hours a day at least, it was the only way to play a Bach Fugue on the organ as it should have been played. (I don’t have that time anymore, so don’t play publicly anymore – many musicians do the same once they move on.) As a leader I insisted one of our introverted workers have the free time to spend three to four hours in her work, because she is capable of greater things when allowed that time and space.

In the Church today we see everyone going from Parish to Parish for Fr. X, Fr. Y, Fr. C – it’s all about the Priest and not about the Mass. Fr. So and so is nicer, he understands me, the music is better. Parishes – most of them – are no longer formed around the Faith – they’re essentially formed around the current Pastor.

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“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” Cal Newport

Much to reflect upon in our current state of affairs.

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Being INFP

I’ve brought up the Myers-Briggs personality type assessment recently because it’s the most widely used personality type system in the world and is used by many businesses, universities, churches, etc., to help understand each other’s differences, and one’s own preferences, strengths, and weaknesses.

For Example

I’m an INFP, which is uncommon, especially in men. I can be difficult to get to know, write a lot, am good with the big picture, irritated by the details, etc. I can postpone important work to make it more of an adventure when I finally get around to it under pressure.

It’s insightful and can be very helpful. Beyond that there’s quite obviously our life in Christ, putting on the new man, and cherishing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

So many videos on YouTube,

So little time.

And because everything has a dark side… we’re not always great when we’re super stressed, or when you’ve finally poked the bear too much.

We’re seen as peculiar. 🙄 But we’re actually a treasure.

Prayer-wise

I prefer reading Scripture, Adoration, meditation, and contemplation. The daily task of praying the Divine Office, while a beautiful treasure, is also the type of highly structured routine that does not resonate with me, and a struggle. I prefer the Extraordinary Form, which is essentially a more introverted prayer for the Priest.

I’m going to be learning more about it for continued ed, and also working reading, studying and praying with Catholic spirituality – which I was doing prior to the Extraordinary Form arriving at St. Jane and had to learn – a lot.

I pray all are well. Lot’s of people are coming down with the Covid, they all are saying it’s not that bad. One was out mowing lawns in Bush. 🤷🏼‍♂️ Whatever works!

Blessings.

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The Fragrance of Christ

?”Thanks be to God, who unfailingly leads us on in Christ’s triumphal train, and employs us to diffuse the fragrance of his knowledge everywhere! We are an aroma of Christ for God’s sake, both among those who are being saved and those on the way to destruction; to the latter an odor dealing death, to the former a breath bringing life.”

I love the imagery in this quote from 2 Corinthians. We are as incense for Christ, of Christ… only much more profound.

In a profound change of imagery, this happened to me the other day:

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Poor Jen. Whoever she is.

And in important developments:

  1. I joined the Catholic Writer’s Guild
  2. I made some plans for an upcoming trip I’m getting excited about.
  3. In fact, the trip is to the Writer’s Guild Conference. I’m hoping to go before they realize I’m not much of a writer and cancel my membership. I have things to learn, and am looking forward to it.
  4. And, I changed the name of my weblog once again.

  5. I like the word ‘chronicles’.

    Via dictionary.com; “a chronological record of events; a history.’

    And that’s about all this site is.

  6. Name changes drive ESTJ’s crazy.

Fragrance is very powerful, and often very subtle; a notion worthy of contemplation.

Here We Go Again II

Ok, I changed the name of my blog again. From “Confessions”, to “The Confessional Chronicles”.

I don’t know about this.

But we all know that being an INFP means that I like to take time making prayerful decisions about these kinds of things (or everything for that matter.) I’ve written about this before. Drives ENTJ’s crazy.

I’ll probably change it again. Before I start a Facebook Page, I thought it should have a decent name. There’s no way on earth I would change the whole site to a new domain! But typing into the Setting Dialogue Box… that I can handle.

Hit me up with any thoughts. Ciao.