One of my favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome, hosted by Megan Tietz, where she has three regular; but, different co-hosts each week (Kelly Gordon, Rebekah Hoffer and Laura Tremaine). In the recent installment, episode 19, of Sorta Awesome, Megan talks about the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas when talking about various personalities relate with God.
One thing I have in common with Megan is our deep seeded desire to talk about Myers-Briggs all the days, so it really shouldn't come as a surprise that I did a bible study in college on the nine temperaments Thomas discusses in Sacred Pathways.
Gary Thomas happened to be an alum of the campus ministry I was apart of and attended the same church, so it would seem his name and books were common knowledge. Although his book Sacred Marriage depressed me and his most popular, it would be Sacred Pathways where I found my heart strings resonating. "What! An opportunity to know thyself and help others to know thyself! Sign me up."
Although there are hints of personality types echoing throughout the book, I found it was more about how we connect with God. It opened a new gateway to seeing how the body of Christ is large and wide, and yet how we relate with Him looks differently.
As one of the co leaders of a small group of young women, we explored these nine pathways. There was great response from the ladies saying things like, "This is so helpful in knowing it's okay that I don't always enjoy the music in a service," or another saying, "That makes sense why I always tend toward being outside." What I found was it gave room for us to see the other and not feel guilty for being different. It also gave room for us to not make it all about us in our worship. We could say, "although I'm not particularly fond of connecting with God through activism/social justice, I can see why it's needed and why my sister or brother does it."
Here are the Nine Temperaments found in Sacred Pathways:
1. The Naturalist: This person loves God by being outdoors.
2. The Sensate: This person loves God through the senses; overwhelmed with smell, sight, touch, hearing, tasting.
3. The Traditionalist: This person loves God through rituals, symbols, sacraments, and disciplined lives of faith.
4. The Aesthetic: This person loves God through solitude, simplicity, and meditation. This person enjoys being off by themselves.
5. The Activist: This person loves God through confrontation, fighting against the forces of evil--battle. They also tend to be against apathy.
6. The Caregiver: This person loves God by loving others or through interaction with others.
7. The Enthusiast: This person loves God with mystery and celebration. They love to praise and worship God and feel God's power. If they don't experience the power of God, they can become frustrated.
8. The Contemplative: This person loves God through contemplation. This person is deeply in love with God. They have a huge adoration for the Lord.
9. The Intellectual: This person loves God with their mind. They are interested in studying theology and deep issues. They see faith as something to learn and are into doctrinal statements that are founded on biblical truths.
This is merely an introduction to the Pathways. You might find that more than one resonates with you, which is very typical. You might also find in different seasons of your life you sway toward one you normally didn't before. Like most areas of our lives, we can leave room for fluidity in who we are and who we are becoming. I will post an activity for you on the nine types, so be sure to join in.