This entry will be contemplative and personal. If you don't want to read that, move along. I'll proceed by detailing my own experiences, then posing questions about what it means to be an introverted Christian.
Where I'm speaking from:
I'm a (male) congenital introvert. While I've very seldom hated people, either individually or as a general concept, I confess that they frequently frustrate and exasperate me. When I misunderstand them, their behaviors seem senseless. When I understand them, their behaviors seem petty and/or brutal.
At the same time, I learned to read at a young age. My interests leaned toward anything that was wondrously unreal. I liked humor and peacefulness, not solemnity and aggressiveness. The interests of most of my peers weren't also mine. Sports were trivial games--to this day I struggle to care at all about what happens. Weapons, explosions, and wars weren't nearly as fun or exciting to me as they seemed to be to others--to this day I've never fired a gun, although I respect those who use guns responsibly for a narrow set of purposes. The thrill they experienced at disobeying rules and instructions was experienced by me as fear and confusion; at first I neither comprehended why people would enjoy mere (though symbolic) rebellion against caring authorities, nor how they would view guilt as fun. In short, I am a natural-born nerd. (Most of the time, I dislike the neat categories/labels people are placed in because of the accompanying simplification, limitation, and devaluation, but all the same I can't deny the many similarities between me, the "nerd" stereotype, and those known as "nerds".)
Perhaps an active and kooky imagination, a logical bent, and a notable lack of identification with my peers are all partly to blame for the phenomenon that I usually encounter when I honestly express myself (rather than answering direct questions, etc.): the hearers look at me askance and seem to be dumbfounded at the way my line of thought runs. They wonder why I'm not down-to-earth. They question my questioning of "common sense" and "conventional wisdom". They suggest that I "over-think", as if thinking is something I do and not part of what I am. They might say that reading, or indeed the consumption or production of any artistic pursuit, is for outcasts (stated in smaller and coarser words, naturally). In any case, it wasn't too long before I realized that "the crowd"--i.e. most people--and I had nothing much to offer each other. This need not be a bitter realization, and for me it wasn't, most of the time. I liked and even admired people. I just didn't feel like I was one of them.
Introversion and Christianity (Now What?):
What does it mean for someone like me, an introvert who can't envision thinking and acting any other way, to be a Christian? What does it mean for he or she to be part of the Body? How can one be an instrument of the love of God if one has difficulty being around, or wanting to be around, the majority of people? What contribution can an introvert make to the church's mission? How can an introvert please and glorify God? In an ideal society that brims with harmony, somewhere like heaven, what place should an introvert have?
I have some opinions on these questions, but I freely confess I'm unsure. My firmest certainty is that introversion isn't evil. It's a personal tendency, not a sin. Specifically, introversion isn't equivalent to egocentrism. An introvert's thought-life is dominated by more abstract things than an extrovert's. However, that doesn't imply an introvert's thought-life is necessarily dominated by his abstract self-concept any more than an extrovert's thought-life is necessarily dominated by vainness and popularity.
Introversion does have its own danger to the Christian, independent of self-obsession. It may distract him or her from maintaining a godly focus. Both introverts and extroverts can be victims of diversions; the difference is one of type. For introverts, it's potentially harder because their very thoughts can be the problem, and thoughts are hard to avoid. Thinking, imagining, creating are activities. Activities should be indulged in with moderation, according to the commands of God, and if at all possible should be utilized to advance His goals.
I'm less certain about reconciling introversion to the many mentions in Christianity about people in groups. I sometimes have the impression that the Christian ideal is for all people everywhere to be happy being side-by-side, sharing all their selves and possessions freely, feeling affectionate toward everyone, and just generally not needing much more than each other and God to be happy (does one need to enjoy camping, for instance, in order for Eden to be considered "paradise" in any sense?). I doubt I'm alone in being skeptical of the plausibility of at least portions of that vision, assuming I'm not exaggerating or misinterpreting too drastically.
I'm not reassured by the imperfect model of God's kingdom on Earth, the church, either. I participate in my local church, as opportunities arise to serve how I am capable. I support it wholeheartedly. I attend gatherings and events of all sizes--for me the resolve to serve God outweighs the temptation to retreat into solitude. Nevertheless, I'm stymied by group situations in which people are expected to "mingle" (yeah, I know, in Christian-ese it's "fellowship"). Or situations in which people are expected to intimately follow the details of others' lives and serve them accordingly. Or situations of preaching/teaching--even a kids' class, because to me much of childlike behavior isn't "cute" but unruly.
What does it mean to be an introverted Christian? Must I act completely contrary to my nature? I'm not ruled by it, and I said earlier I do appreciate people--in the abstract, in any case. This is important, since the Christian life here is meant to be a poor reflection of the afterlife. Will there be room for "life of the mind" in heaven? Will heaven have privacy? Existing in the presence of the infinite fount, will there be any puzzles left to solve? Will everyone be constantly talking, even when the conversation is insubstantial?
Introversion is so integral to who I am that I find it hard to posit an inverted, extroverted me. If introversion can have no part of my Christianity, then to me that casts doubt on the notion that Christianity is for saving all people. Although I'll admit that the sentiment "I want to save you, but I might not want to be around you all the time" appears self-contradictory.