I heard a preacher over the weekend answering questions about the LGBT community and how to reach them and love them. He, himself, lives in Boystown in Chicago. When asked on how to respond to the harsh, bigotrous, anti-Christian persecution on Facebook, which comes to anyone that stands by the Gospel, he responded with a ridiculing laugh and said that we should know better than to do this on Facebook.
A man, who lives in Boystown, going where the people are and reaching out to a community in need of Jesus laughed at people that were going to and reaching out to a community in need of Jesus online. I agreed and nodded my head with most of what he said before this statement, but then this laugh stabbed through me, a backhand across the face. Where there is an open hostility towards Christianity, a people that live in mockery of God, a people seeking meaning, us Christians ought not go?
The irony apparently is lost on him.
As an introvert, the whole approaching-those-I-don’t-know thing is very difficult. Not because I’m shy— I’m not—, but because our culture is built around extroverts. To get to any sort of real conversation, one must jump through the hoops of small talk, formalities, and fakery to seem pleasant enough to be real with. Our churches, too, seem geared towards extroverts. “Turn around and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.” “James, I don’t know you, but do you mind opening us in prayer?” “Join us Saturday for our ice cream social.” None of those seem even remotely enjoyable to me. And I’m not alone.
But where the one-on-one interaction in person is difficult, the Internet opens many of us up to be more bold, more social, more sharing. Where an extrovert shines going to Boystown, the introvert shines going on Facebook. Both locations need Jesus. Both places are hostile towards Christianity and God. Both are seeking purpose and meaning. So why is my mission field wrong?