[Second post in a series on the book Introverts in the Church. First post is here.]
Chapter 2, The Introverted Difference, basically describes the attributes of introverts. I already know all about that, so I didn't find much worth posting from it. Similarly, chapter 3, Finding Healing, is aimed at those who've felt wounded by church for being an introvert. I long ago gave up on trying to fit in, so again, it didn't really say anything that I thought worth posting. Both chapters are still worth reading, though. Chapter 4, Introverted Spirituality, had a lot of meat in it, so the rest of this post will be excerpts from that.
Pages 70-71: There is an ancient spiritual tradition, still a central practice in Eastern Orthodoxy, called apophatic spirituality. Also referred to as via negativa ("the negative way"), apophatic spirituality focuses on what cannot be grasped about God through rational thought, words or images. It emphasizes the hiddenness of God. This is in contrast to kataphatic or positive spirituality, which is focused on what can be known about God. Kataphatic spirituality is grounded in revelation - the words, images and other means through which God has chosen to disclose himself in the Scriptures, the created world and the incarnation of Jesus Christ....Although we possess God's self-revelation in the Bible, God can never be encapsulated by words on a page or confined by precise doctrines. Words and tangible images are signs pointing to God, but they are not God himself. As useful and necessary as they are, they have a way of limiting or trying to control him.
Pages 72-73: Contemplative solitude, though, differs from simple privacy. Privacy involves moving away from something, physically distancing ourselves from the draining world of outside stimulation....Solitude, however, is as much of an internal state as it is a physical reality. In solitude we move toward something, toward an encounter with God that produces spiritual renewal....God's power is resurrection power, the very energy that triumphed over death in the person of Jesus and set the world ablaze with new creation. When we seek him in solitude we avail ourselves of resurrection power, finding restoration that supersedes any refreshment we can find in mere privacy.
Pages 74-75: There is a very animated committee in my head that produces all kinds of imaginary scenarios, has fierce verbal jousts, and wrestles with any number of personal and world dilemmas, so the challenge has been allowing God into my internal conversations My internal chatter is so constant that it becomes difficult for me to discern the voice of God...It's not that I need to silence the conversation that comes so natural to me; it's that I need to allow God to assume his place at the head of the table.
Page 83: The goal of silence is not necessarily to hear the profound word from God, but simply to spend time with our Father - in which God may or may not speak.