We cerebral, fairly quiet, self-contained types need community and avoid it. We need it socially to a smaller extent than most, but we need it spiritually more than most, because that's where our fissures are- in our willingness to stay in the mosh pit of relationship, to forgive, be forgiven, to learn not to have so many criteria about whom to love and who is allowed to love us.
Our frayed, unraveled, threadbare humanity is repaired by long, repeated exposure to a community of faith. A Godly faith community is unlike other communities because it is not
- based on age cohorts like school
- selective- just show up or don't
- rigid in its roster- people come and go
- your family of origin or even of choice
- a job.
A Godly faith community is
- mysteriously convenened- no one is quite sure exactly why it works
- an antidote to individualism
- respectful of diverse gifts
- forgiving of one another's irksomeness
- traditional- aware of the blessings and burdens of the past
- able to offer hope.
Self-contained people ("introverts" but I'm not crazy about the term) sometimes want to figure out faith before plunging into a faith community. Read, study, have deep conversations with a few trusted friends... and then go to church and be disappointed in the sermon, the people, the coffee, the music, the parking lot.
Look: You won't find out what a Christian community is until you are part of one. You don't have to join or believe or act right. But you do have to show up, be willing to be disappointed, be willing to say yes when you can, be willing to risk. If the people are awful or the theology stinks or the worship is not befitting of the Holy One, that's one thing. But try. There's a difference between reading about apple pie and eating apple pie. Taste and see. You won't love your faith community until you show up for it.