Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, February 1, 2016

Peter Enns - The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs
by Peter Enns (Author)

Publication Date - April 5, 2016

Product Details
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006227208X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062272089

Book Description

The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.

With compelling and often humorous stories from his own life, Bible scholar Peter Enns offers a fresh look at how Christian life truly works, answering questions that cannot be addressed by the idealized traditional doctrine of “once for all delivered to the saints.”

Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide.

Combining Enns’ reflections of his own spiritual journey with an examination of Scripture, The Sin of Certainty models an acceptance of mystery and paradox that all believers can follow and why God prefers this path because it is only this way by which we can become mature disciples who truly trust God. It gives Christians who have known only the demand for certainty permission to view faith on their own flawed, uncertain, yet heartfelt, terms.

About the Author

Peter Enns is Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has taught courses at several other institutions, including Harvard University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Enns is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias and is the author of several books, including Inspiration and Incarnation and The Evolution of Adam. His popular blog The Bible for Normal People can be found at www.peteenns.com.

Buidling a Gospel Ministry on the "Sermon on the Mount" while Allowing Questions of Doctrine to be Wisely Asked, Debated, or Reflected Upon

I found the accompanying article quite interesting and felt a pain in my heart for the struggles people go through. Who must suffer the "slings and aarows" from others who are less thoughtful and more sure of their conservative dogmas. Who do not understand the passion that drives these individuals. 

Who reminded me of my own pastor's more recent journey in 2012, Rob Bell, who was much younger than myself when I began listening to him Sunday after Sunday. To a young man full of passion and zeal wishing to be heard. Who taught or preached in beautiful, soaring rhetoric, full of the wind of the Holy Spirit pleading in his voice to be heard and understood.

In many ways there will always be zealots or passionate evangelists whose message comes before the people they wish to reach. Full of hardened conviction they preach or conduct their message in such a way as to be continually in confrontation with some person, entity, or institution. Usually they have strong personalities and find it difficult, if not impossible, to back down, unless suffering from a physical malady like depression or overwhelming circumstances leading to a nervous breakdown of sorts.

And so it is with a plea that we patiently learn to listen to these disciples of God, Spirit sent in wind and fire, words and duty, preaching a bible or a gospel that might help us as the church of God better understand how to temper our words, conducts, or behaviours before the Lord and to the world of mankind.

Like Rob Bell, I hold to a progressive doctrine but not in every jot-and-title of Rob's speech or beliefs. And like the author, John Suk, who would describe himself as a weak theist, or his subject, Gretta Vosper, as a soft atheist, I need to listen to their differences with my own kind of "progressive theism." A theism which wishes to embrace, without excluding, as many as I might by mine own teachings, conducts, and actions, while attempting some kind of fellowship or solidarity with the world of the faithful, both lost and found.

Some of my dear friends, or friends I have known in other life pursuits and ministries, have been remitted from their duties as lectors, pastors, theologians, and board parishioners for speaking a gospel foreign to the church group they once had elected to fellowship with. This is ok. People change. So do institutions and traditions. And when done, to consider these times as blessings in disguise while attempting to move on to some kind of healing or resolution.

There can be personal damage in firings, excommunications, and disbandment, but also feelings of betrayal, abandonment and personal hurt. As the poet says, "These are the times that try men's souls" and in these times we must use them to crucially examine ourselves, our motives, our fears, and ghosts by the Spirit of God.

In mine own case God was mute. He spoke nothing to me for nearly nine months of dark blackness. And yet in my heart, or my spirit, I do not know which, His divinely-led assurance was there by His hand towards a new direction He was leading me towards. One that was good and full of the promise land (not unlike Abraham leaving Ur I suppose).

And so, yes, I had great confusion, uncertainty, disillusionment, doubt, and feelings of abandonment. Yet this was also a time of great healing. Gentle, Spirit-led nourishment. And finally, a letting go by the hounds of heaven to pursue my next path no other could have instructed me towards because I was the first in my tribe to begin its long journey.

After that time of deep darkness came an unfathomable burden offering irresistable direction, vision, and the deep passion to bear the yoke I had been given. And so I am sure, as many others may be able to attest, that these remarkably hard times sometimes have a greater end in sight than we can ever know.

But to walk those journeys one must start. And the starting point can be hard, evil, unwanted. So that in the great lostness of one's life there may be a great foundness unlike no other. Praise God for His gracious presence during these times of horror. Even when like Job we heard Him not God was there listening to the advice of our worthless friends come to tramp upon a broken heart with coy deprecations, slanders, and toxic words of misunderstanding.

So then, above all else, as both members of the family of God, the church, and believers in Jesus Christ, let us learn not to offend when differing with one another but seek to understand how to part graciously and live tolerably with one another. To grant people the space they need to work out the difficulties in their own heart. To listen rather than speak. To pray rather than judge. Even as John Suk would later say, in his estimation lawsuits such as the one examined today should be released and a church dispute solved in a different manner. One that might be conciliatory filled with blessings, cautions, and wisdom.

As always, dear reader, I wish you peace in the grace and mercy of our great God,

R.E. Slater
February 1, 2016

* * * * * * * * * *

"The kind of house I’d like to build... is one that is a sanctuary for people with challenges:
parents struggling with special needs kids, or poverty, or students struggling to figure out
what sexual morality is all about. The kind of house I’d like to build... is one where people
who are lonely, who are dying, who are angry, or who are confused will be embraced, and
who will in turn embrace others. The kind of house I’d like to build... is one where all
present are allowed to be unsure about God while being focused on being better people."
                                                                                     - John Suk

When it comes to the issue of post-theism or soft atheism or weak theism or even
fundamentalism, we ought to keep in mind that most of us have logs in our eyes
when it  comes to almost everything in the Sermon on the Mount.   - John Suk

Not Sure

by John Suk
January 31, 2016

Faith isn't sight, and so it can be hard to be sure. In this blog John Suk thinks aloud
about the joys, difficulties, uncertainties and ironies of faith in Jesus.

What Do We Do about Gretta Vosper?

I just preached a sermon about the Gretta Vosper controversy in the United Church of Canada. She's been in the news, a lot, lately, for her "soft atheist" beliefs. I sat down with her for a cup of coffee last week, and this is what I think, riffing off Luke 6:37-39, just a bit.

I just finished reading The Illegal, by Canadian author Lawrence Hill, who also wrote the acclaimed Book of Negroes. It’s about a black illegal immigrant, Keita Ali, in a rich white country.

The book is a terrific read. I won’t give away Keita’s story. But I do want to describe one of the book’s central characters—John.

John is a good but irritating person. For his high school graduation project, John decides to film a documentary about life in AfricTown, the slum where he, as well as many illegal immigrants, live.

John is irritating because he is incredibly smart and cocksure about it. He never asks permission. His devotion to his project is so single-minded that people get hurt along the way and he doesn’t seem to care. For example, at one point he hides himself in a closet in order to secretly film what it is like to be a prostitute in AfricTown. He accidentally films a tryst between the white Minister of Immigration, who is trying to deport all the illegals and a black prostitute. Worse, when John is discovered, the prostitute—who is a citizen—is secretly deported anyway.

This setback doesn’t slow John down. For the rest of the book John follows the Minister of Immigration everywhere, which the minister finds very threatening. In fact, everyone who encounters John feels irritated by him, even though, in the end, he turns out to be a hero.

We all know people like John—people so devoted to their vision, and so good at getting that vision “out there” that they get under our skin. Gretta Vosper is like that. She’s a United Church minister just east of here, in Scarborough, and she’s an atheist—or as she likes to say, “a soft atheist.” Soft atheism is a lot like the post-theism that Ken Gallinger used to preach from this pulpit. Gretta doesn’t believe in a God who, when asked through prayer, intervenes in our lives. She thinks that the god-stories in the Bible are myths—important, insightful, but not factual. What matters to Gretta is not the God of tradition but more the lifestyle Jesus taught through his words and actions.

This irritates a lot of people. Some people in the United Church—important people, mind you—would like to remove her from the ministry. Whether they succeed or not, the whole process looks heavy handed and coercive to anyone who isn’t a Christian; and it has created a lot of negative controversy within the United Church too.

Now, this is where it all gets a bit personal for me. I’ve had my own struggles trying to be a minister in a denomination I didn’t agree with. I tried, for several years, to stay in that denomination, papering over differences and conflicts. I eventually realized that I couldn’t do it. So I sought sanctuary in the United Church. And, I have to say, I’ve found a home here.

In the United Church I’ve come to experience doctrine not as a rigid set of required beliefs, but as a playground, as an imaginative and inspiring conversation about the meaning of life and how God fits into that—or doesn’t. Unlike Gretta Vosper or Ken Gallinger, I’m a theist—a "weak theist" in the mold of John Caputo, I’d add—though that is a discussion for another time. Still, my experience of doctrine as a playground is enhanced by Gretta’s questions and perspective. I came to the United Church for just this sort of openness and play, and I’ve found it.

In anticipation of this sermon, I sat down for a coffee with Gretta last week. We talked about her journey, how it has caused both conflict and growth in her local congregation, and a little bit about her vision for what a church should be. I enjoyed our conversation. Gretta listens well, she’s interesting, and she’s smart. Along the way I learned that her legal costs will be considerable. The Toronto Conference of the United Church—in spite of the denomination’s current financial crisis—is probably paying a lot too. Not much of a playground—this is an intense conflict. I’m really sad about that. And I could tell from my conversation with Gretta that it is taking a severe toll on her, too.

But, in all fairness, I also see that there is something about Gretta that is really irritating too, in the same way that John was irritating with his gung-ho filming. I think the root of it is that Gretta sometimes sounds less like she’s interested in a conversation and more like she’s an evangelist or proselytizer. Sometimes, in interviews or on her blog, she seems disdainful of those of us who disagree with her. For example, last year she wrote an open letter to the United Church’s moderator at that time, Gary Patterson, after the horrific [2015] Paris terrorist attacks.

In the letter she objects to a prayer for peace on the United Church website, because she blames faith in God for the Paris attacks. She argues that such faith is idolatrous, and we need to be freed from it. She further argues that our religious values have no place in the public square, and that we need to be freed from them. In this letter, she’s not content to be an atheist minister who offers her congregation an atheist model for being a church; no, Gretta insists that her brand of atheism is the one way. It comes off as more confrontational than conversational.

What is more, the thesis of Gretta’s letter is too simple. She wants to condemn all people who believe in God, and keep their values and beliefs out of the public square, because the terrorists believed in God.

But the terrorists also had political beliefs and values. Should all political beliefs and values also be excluded from the public square, then, since political beliefs and values are also held by terrorists? Of course not.

The problem is not “faith in God,” or “faith in a political ideology.” No, the issue is what you believe about God or what you believe about politics—the theological or political values that guide you.

It is impossible to avoid the fact that everyone’s actions are always going to be rooted in personal experience and learning and values—and so why should, or how could, theism be somehow uniquely excluded from playing its part, while political ideologies or economic realities are not sanctioned?

In any case, atheism unavoidably comes with its own values too.

Finally, the letter also ignores the scholarly consensus here, well argued by Karen Armstrong in her book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. Armstrong makes the point that it is only very rarely that religion or belief in God leads to violence. Rather, Armstrong argues that political powers use religion—as they use race or weapons or economics—to get their way. In fact, at root, most religions are decidedly not violent however individual adherents sometimes act.

The bottom line is that Gretta’s letter irritated people. It seemed to step beyond the, “let’s talk about this,” circle into the, “I’m right and you’re badly mistaken,” circle. Irritating—even threatening.

So what do we do about Gretta Vosper?

Nothing, I think. With respect to her letter to the moderator, I’d say that every minister stirs the pot about something or other, once in a while. Even playgrounds can get a bit rough sometimes. And when they do it is time for the adults in the park to help us kids step back, cool off, and start the game over. It isn’t time to shut the playground down. What do we do about Greta Vosper?

Nothing, I hope, unless it is to offer her pastoral support and to ask the United Church hierarchy to stand down.

Why nothing? For a few reasons, but they are deeply imbedded in the attitude of our text. For starters, Jesus says: “Do not judge,” and I think I could make a case for leaving Gretta alone—and perhaps for Gretta not writing her letter the way she did—on the basis of those words. When it comes to the issue of post-theism or soft atheism or weak theism or even fundamentalism, we ought to keep in mind that most of us have logs in our eyes when it comes to almost everything in the Sermon on the Mount.

But what really sings for me in today’s passage is its central concern with doing right rather than believing right. Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” And he goes on to explain that anyone who hear his words but does not do them is like someone who builds a house without a foundation, so that when the floods come, it is swept away.

For Jesus, in other words, calling him or God “Lord, Lord,” isn’t the main thing. An orthodox Doctrine of God isn’t what saves the house—the church. Not at all. Rather, trying to put Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount action priorities into play is what Jesus really wants.

So the kind of house I’d like to build here at LPCC is a Sermon on the Mount House. Our house should be refuge for all, especially during storms that threaten us: racism directed against First Nations or immigrants comes to mind. The kind of house I’d like to build here at Lawrence Park is one that is a sanctuary for people with challenges: parents struggling with special needs kids, or poverty, or students struggling to figure out what sexual morality is all about. The kind of house I’d like to build here at Lawrence Park is one where people who are lonely, who are dying, who are angry, or who are confused will be embraced, and who will in turn embrace others. The kind of house I’d like to build here at Lawrence Park is one where all present are allowed to be unsure about God while being focused on being better people.

If you want to make the ideals and values of the Sermon on the Mount, which transcend any single religion but are firmly rooted in our faith too, then you are welcome here—whether you say, “Lord, Lord,” or not.

Listen, I’ve left a lot unsaid in this sermon, even if I’ve preached on such themes at other times. For example, I have not explained, today, my own theistic views on God. I have not explored the practical skills we need to enjoy and benefit from each other’s company at Lawrence Park, even if we have large doctrinal disagreements amongst ourselves. And I have not explored here what we are to make of scripture, or its presumption that there is a God, if some of us don't think that scripture is right on that score. Gretta has written tons of stuff and it would take a year of sermons to go through it all and we can’t do that today or even this year.

But this much I know. Even if Gretta isn’t crying out, “Lord, Lord,” she is trying to follow the best of the program that Jesus laid out. Like us, she’s doing so imperfectly. I won’t –can’t—judge her for that. But as long as she’s trying like I’m trying to do what Jesus did, I’d like to keep her and her friends in the playground. I hope that in the end, the United Church agrees, and remains a sanctuary for both of us.

Being Loved - "Things Someone Who Loved You Should Have Told You"

Things Someone Who Loved You Should Have Told You

by John Pavlovitz
February 1, 2016

Words can do incredible damage, but they can’t hold a candle to silence.

Often it is those words that have been withheld which leave the greatest scars upon us. It is in that terrible absence that we are dealt the harshest blow by those who claim to love us.

Somewhere along the line you were denied something you needed to live; something destination-altering and hope-giving that you deserved.

At some point on your path, someone should have encouraged you, but refrained.
  • They should have defended you, but did not.
  • They should have released you, but chose not to.
  • They should have said something—instead of nothing.
Someone should have told you that you were beautiful far beneath the surface, so that you didn’t grow up believing that you were defined by your waistline or by the scale or by the affection of someone else who may have cared far too little for you.

Someone should have told you that you were more than your worst mistake, so that you weren’t still imprisoned there in the spot of that momentary failure so long after it; still stuck trying to undo something that could never be undone and believing it made you less than.

Someone should have told you that God was not angry with you, so that your faith was allowed safe passage to grow and fearlessly move toward the One who made you and adores you without caveat or condition; the One who delights in you as you are.

Someone should have told you that it wasn’t your fault, so that you were relieved of the wasteful, crushing burden of what you were never meant to carry or deserve to still be saddled with; all the guilt and regret that unfairly declare you culpable.

Someone should have told you that you were a bona-fide, freakin’ miracle; a once in history collection of atoms and color and sound, so that you never doubted for a second your inherent worth, and the beautiful mark you’ve made in the places where your feet have landed.

Someone should have told you that you were forgiven, so that you didn’t cling to a vicious grudge against yourself which pronounced you dirty; so you were not tried for the same crime again and again in the court of your own head.

Someone should have told you that your sadness wasn’t a sickness, so you could have allowed yourself to grieve fully; to feel and speak the depth and breadth of your pain, instead of daily burying it beneath a brittle facade of okayness and pretending you weren’t devastated.

Someone should have told you that your best was good enough; that the honest desires of your heart and the diligent work of your hands regardless of the results, made your efforts successful. If they had, you may not have felt failure in anything less than perfection.

Someone should have told you that you were not what people said you were. That might have emancipated you from the expectations of a million voices judging you from a distance, which you believed as gospel. You might have found your identity independent of the shouts from the crowd or the cutting words of the critics.

Someone should have told you that you were loved as you were; not because of anything you did or won or achieved or made, but simply because you were lovable. It may have saved you from so restlessly striving to earn what you already deserved.

I can’t undo the brutal omissions you endured in the past, or the time you’ve squandered or the peace you’ve surrendered as a result.

I can only give you these words now, as a firm and steady spot to plant your foot and pivot as you begin again down another road, one with far fewer demons hiding in the shadows to ambush you.

So stop to listen to the whisper in your ear, that breaks the long and heavy silence and says that you are free. Feel the lightness that only love brings.

Somewhere along the road someone close to you should have told you all this, but they didn’t.

So I am telling you.

Be encouraged.

- JP


10 Signs Your'e an Outgoing Introvert (Ambivert)


by Jenn Granneman
October 28, 2015

So you just found out you’re an introvert. Now you have a new way of understanding yourself and how you relate to the world. You can’t get enough of your new identity, so you’re reading every listicle and blog post about introverts that graces your Facebook news feed. Some articles describe you with frightening accuracy: you like spending time alone, you prefer calm environments, you often think deeply and reflect, and you’d rather text than call.

Yet other articles don’t resonate with you at all: you don’t sit home alone every weekend watching Netflix in your pajamas and you actually enjoy the occasional party. You start to wonder, am I really an introvert?

Bottom line: if you need downtime after socializing, you probably are an introvert. What you actually are is an outgoing introvert.

Introversion and extroversion are not black and white. Think of a continuum with introversion on one end and extroversion on the other. Some people fall closer to the introverted end, while others are near the middle. There’s actually a word for these middle-of-the-road people: ambiverts. An ambivert is someone who displays characteristics of both introversion and extroversion.

Are you an outgoing introvert (or an ambivert)?

Here are 10 signs that you might be:

1. Your energy level is closely tied to your environment. You’re sensitive to how your surroundings look, what kind of music is being played, how many people are present and the volume level of the room. The ambiance of a bar or restaurant can either energize or drain you, depending on if the place fits your preferences. Likewise, a loud rock concert in a crowded stadium might be overwhelming but an up-close-and-personal acoustic set at your favorite local music club relaxes you.

2. You find people to be both intriguing and exhausting. People watching? Yes. Meeting new people and hearing their life stories? Fascinating. Spending every weeknight hanging out with a different group of friends? Not a chance—as much as you enjoy people, you can only endure so much socializing before you need downtime. After a busy weekend or a long day at work, you feel the need to disappear and recharge by being alone or with just one other person (a best friend, a trusted roommate or your significant other).

3. Certain people and interactions drain you while others actually recharge you. You have a few friends who you could hang out with for practically forever. It seems like you never run out of things to talk about and being with them is just easy. You actually feel better after spending time with them, not drained. Other people eventually tire or bore you and you need to get away. Being alone is better than settling for second-rate company.

4. You can be charming but also deeply introspective and reflective. You make small talk when it’s expected of you because you know it can lead to deeper, more authentic conversation. People feel comfortable around you, and you easily get others talking and opening up about themselves. When you’re out on a Saturday night, you make sure your friends have a good time. However, most people don’t realize how “in your head” you really are. Although you appear easy-going and chatty, inside, your mind is always going.

5. When you feel rested and recharged, you reach out to others. Often you’re the one who gets all your friends together on the weekend. Or maybe you organize the weekly after-work happy hour or throw parties at your house. Playing the host allows you to socialize on your own terms. You get to set the parameters, like what time the event starts, where it will happen and who is invited. But when you’re feeling drained, like a true introvert, you go silent and hibernate at home. This is when the Netflix + pajamas thing makes sense.

6. You need time to warm up in social situations. But once you feel comfortable with someone, you have no trouble chatting. Likewise, you won’t spill your entire life story to someone within the first half hour of meeting them, but you will reveal personal details when trust is built up. The more someone gets to know you, the more your quirky personality (and your cherished inner world—the part of you that feels most authentic) comes out.

7. It actually takes less energy to say what’s on your mind than to make small talk. Introverts like talking about ideas or connecting authentically. Fake small talk bores you and drains your life force.

8. You’re selectively social. It’s hard to find people you click with, so you only have a few close friends. But you’re okay with that. You’d rather make your limited “people” energy count by investing it into relationships that are truly fulfilling.

9. You have no interest in trying to prove yourself in a crowd of strangers.“Working the room” isn’t your thing. Nor do you feel the need to draw a lot of attention to yourself. You’re content hanging out at the edges of the party, talking to just one or two people.

10. You’re often confused for an extrovert. Your friends and family don’t buy that you’re an introvert because you’re just so social. In fact, it may have taken a while for you to realize you’re an introvert because you play the extrovert so well. Now you find yourself constantly having to explain your introversion and how you get your energy, but people still don’t get it.

Keep in mind there’s no wrong way to do introversion. It’s all about understanding your needs and honoring your own style—even if that means being the life of the party one night then binge watching Netflix alone the next night.

Are you an introvert? What’s your personality type? We recommend this free, quick test from our partner Personality Hacker.