Recently finished the great book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It is a great book and I thought I’d share a few insights from it this week…
Susan Cain writes about how we’ve gone from “a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality – and opened up a Pandora’s Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover. In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honorable. What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private. The word personality didn’t exist in English until the eighteenth century, and the idea of ‘having a good personality’ was not widespread until the twentieth. But when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how others perceived them. They became captivated by people who were bold and entertaining.
Cain goes on to explain the evolution of how it happened, and how it’s not necessarily true in other countries (such as many in Asia), and it’s all fascinating. And it’s all really sad. For instance, we now vote for politicians based on their ability to give a good speech instead of their good ideas, experience, or ability to lead
It’d be nice if if God’s Kingdom was the exception to the rule, but we’re not. We choose pastors because they have a dynamic personality instead of a dynamic relationship with God. Processes designed to assess potential church planters closely examine their personality type but virtually ignore their character.
So how do we turn the tide and become counter-cultural on this one? I don’t know. But we need to.