Typecast?

At church at the moment we are gearing up to talk about spiritual types – both as the theme of our upcoming church retreat and as a wider theme in worship in July. There are various forms of personality “typing” out there in the secular world (e.g. Myers Briggs which is based on Jung), as well as more spiritual approaches (e.g. The Enneagram). We are using a specifically Christian framework conceived by Corinne Ware – it looks something like this:

spiritual types

Because the diagram above, by definition, is probably more attractive to someone who likes words and theories (type 1?), here are some other images that might help…

allfourtypes

I have a feeling I’ll write more about this later, so for now suffice to say I find it intriguing, challenging and more or less convincing based on my mood (yep, you’ve guessed, I’m mostly “type” 2, or at least drawn towards the bottom half of that circle…but I act in a lot of ways “belonging” to type 1, so go figure!)

How about you? Do you find personality typing helpful? Is there any particular system that works well for you? Does it help us to understand our spiritual needs? Or can it feel too limiting? Do we run the risk of “typecasting” people we consider to fit into a certain category?

Remember: the type someone seems to be may not be the type they are…!

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2 thoughts on “Typecast?

  1. Mike Farley says:

    Fascinating! What’s her methodology for determining the types? Is it an MBTI-type questionnaire? (Can’t imagine I need a sophisticated methodology to determine that I’m type 3, but still…)

  2. There are questionnaires included in her book, both individual ones like the MBTI ones and one that you can use for a whole church to get an idea of the mix of “types” you have. She points out that most traditional churches are likely to have a lot of “type 1s” and more contemporary churches tend to be aimed at “type 2s”. This can of course be problematic for “type 3s” who are attracted to silence, meditation etc, although there are the lovely Quakers and also some of the “Fresh Expressions” and “Emerging” type churches as well as silent orders and the like. She says that “type 4” is the rarest and tend to be spread out in a variety of different church backgrounds – they’re the visionary movers and shakers that start reforms and can be quite challenging, but in a good way!

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