What’s personality got to do with it?

 

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Something that has always proven to be a great tool for dialogue is personal experience.  I have noticed that people love to learn about themselves (and some people really love to talk about themselves – me, for instance).  These observations have often lead me to wonder why the church does not incoroporate the role personality plays in achieving its goals more often.  In fact, I often find my self wondering how much better equipped I would be to deal with my close relationships, if they just walked around with a myers-briggs acronym stamped on their foreheads.

So, let’s have some fun as we go into the summer months.  Take one or more (usually more than one is good) of the following myers-briggs based personality tests and post your results for discussion.   If you like, offer the group a brief description (or offer a link to said description) of your personality type.  Of obvious importance to our group: What practical help do you think this type of practice would bring to the Church?  What would a “Theology of Psychology” or “Theological Psychology” look like?   Do those “Spiritual Gifts” quizes count as personality tests for the Church? 😉

Here are a few links to free, on-line tests and my own personality type and its description.

Short Quiz:

Quiz 1

Longer Quizes:

Quiz 1

Quiz 2

Quiz 3 – Results have to be sorted out of a list of greatest strengths in the left column

 Quiz 4

I took all of the quizes, and was identified as ENTJ by all of them but one (only a slight deviation ENTP)  Here is the brief Myers Briggs definition of an ENTJ:

Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

(Sorry for the double-post, Reed, but I figured both posts were light hearted enough that they wouldn’t detract from one another)

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18 Comments

  1. I must say that I don’t much like the way the questions are asked. There are too many ways I would want nuance things. They seem too rigid.

    So for instance, on the first long test I was an ENFJ, an ideal teacher. But in the second I was an INTJ! For instance, I both get energized around people, and think well off of other people, but genuinely need and enjoy time alone to think and be. And so on.

    There was another test I took a few years back, I forget what the name of the test was, but I am a “Choleric” first and “Sanguine” second. I found there to be enough flexibility in the Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic criteria to fit me a bit better.

    What do you think?

    Reply

  2. I think the nuance you are looking for gets teased out in the real MB personality index test. There is definitely a range in which each person exhibits one trait or another to varying degrees, but I understand implicitly what you mean. When asked whether I would like to be out having fun meeting new people or at home quietly relaxing with my family – the answer is both. Quiz #2 of the longer quizzes asked the questions in that format (are you “A,” “B,” or both).

    As for the personality tests that divide personalities into some iteration of four categories, I prefer the MB index, For the same reason you’d like more nuance in the internet quizes.

    Reply

  3. What is wrong with me.

    I got two INTP and two ENFP.

    The last test shows percentages…and it looks like I have a hard time being either/or in those categories of Intro/Extroversion and Thinking/Feeling.

    Actually, the percentages show that I’m just a bit more perceiving than judging, but I must be so consistently across the tests.

    In other words: I have no personality.

    Reply

  4. @ Josh,

    Yes, INTJ’s unite – unite under the ENTJ’s! 😉

    @ Joey,

    It doesn’t mean you have no personality, it means you have multiple personalities.

    On a serious note, though, no really – you have multiple personalities. In some personality indexes, testers will ask you to answer questions within a context. In other words, they want you to answer the questions “at work” or “at home.” It is not uncommon at all for someone to assume one role and commensurate personality traits at work, and a different one at home/leisure.

    Then, of course, there is the reliability issue surrounding these internet quizzes. I have been wondering if they are any more reliable than the FB “Which Hogwart’s House Will You Be Sorted Into?” quizzes.

    I always got sorted into Slytherin…

    Reply

  5. INTP

    Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.

    ENFP

    Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

    We could put it up for a vote – which one is “blogging Joey”?

    Reply

  6. _______
    | INTJ |
    |-@—@-|
    | _ |
    | ___ |
    \_____/

    I always test as an INTJ on these things. I’ve always been ambivalent about it, since — according to this list — I find myself in the company of both Jane Austen and Donald Rumsfeld.

    Reply

  7. That jumble of text up there was supposed to be a face with “INTJ” stamped on the forehead. I forgot WordPress likes to remove excessive white space.

    Reply

  8. There are a number of denominations that have personality tests as part of the ordination process, and I personally think that’s valuable.

    And there are folks who do psychological theology. One of the interesting ones is Thomas Keating who–the more he practiced contemplative prayer–wanted to get better language for what he was seeing down inside himself, so he sought formal psychological training. His synthesis sees contemplative prayer as bringing some of the unconscious to light, which can tend to make us very uncomfortable.

    Then there’s the world of CPE, but it’s always a difficult integration, where either psychology trumps theology or the other way around.

    To me, the most interesting questions are what psychological assumptions are being made by theology. Sometimes psychology proceeds as if the modern behavior sciences are the first time people tried to describe their inner workings. But plenty of theologians are trying to do that exact same work, with different results and different language.

    Reply

  9. Any blog that discusses Myers Briggs personality types is thoroughly Episcopal. Congratulations, you have obviously been confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

    Many dioceses require a much longer psychological test, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Passing the “psychologicals” is usually a higher bar to ordination than the General Ordination Exams. Seems anyone can pass the GOEs, but my experience as a clergy spouse is that those who fail the psychologicals end up in another denomination.

    Roman Catholics and Methodists just don’t understand the theological implications of navel gazing. 😉

    Reply

  10. ENTP is where it’s at! Though, as you mentioned Shawn, even according to the official MB test (which costs 70 bucks to take!) each personality trait is a continuum wherein the individual oscillates between extremes given their situation. I like to think of my MB personality as normal me, or me “at my best”.

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  11. I’ve also imagined how much easier it would be if everyone had their types stamped on them haha. Some will complain the MBTI is not accurate enough for their tastes. But it isn’t the only system. If we combined a few different ones and had our various scores more available it would be interesting.

    Of course with technology, this is more and more possible without stamping. I can see people who choose having their types on their cell phone signal so it can be picked up by those around them that want to. Of course that raises lots of other controversial issues. But it is a pretty fascinating concept.

    Reply

  12. Howard,

    Thanks for visiting/commenting – you’ve got some great ideas. I was clearly being a little tongue-in-cheek, but only a little. As an ENTJ I love to have a handle on the “landscape,” and it seems like MBTI stamps would just be more efficient than spending all of the time necessary to tease out people’s real feelings on issues. 😉

    Reply

  13. Jordan,

    Yes – extremely stressful situations bring some interesting thing out in all of us.

    As I said to Joey previously the notion of a “shadow” or “mirror” self that comes out in some situations is fascinating to me.

    For instance those who are closest to me, will know that the ISFP does in fact describe me in some situations

    “ISFP – Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.”

    Reply

  14. Thanks Shawn,

    It’s pretty in keeping with both INTJ and ENTJ, I think, to prefer to get straight to the point and avoid fluff. So no wonder we find it kind of a relief to imagine people just having their types available like that. Yes it’s kind of tongue-in-cheek. But I do think mobile technology is moving us more and more toward things somewhat like this. We already see people who use mobile technology to signal they are available for dates to people nearby who meet criteria. And with augmented reality, we are moving into a very interesting era of these types of things. It all has its pros and cons for sure though.

    Reply

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