Monday, July 02, 2007

Perfect

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know how devoted I am to the Myers-Briggs personality types. I’ve tried other personality-typing systems – the Enneagram, the animals, the colours – and all of them suffer from one basic flaw: my personality is not on them. The Myers-Briggs, on the other hand, provides me with a niche in which I feel eminently comfortable: I am a classic INFJ, intuitive, emotional, prone to exaggeration and metaphor. Although most tests reveal in me only a slight preference for F (Feeling) over T (Thinking), I know that I lack the precision and objectivity that characterizes the true T. I’m the kind of person who falls in love hard and fast; I am attuned to my emotions and use that awareness in my decision-making: I’m a Feeler more than a Thinker (and, really, I consider myself a fairly thinky kind of girl).

All that is true except when it comes to matters of faith. In my approach to religious belief I’m all head and no heart. Expressions of religious emotion make me uncomfortable. Technically, yes, I love Jesus – but I’m far more comfortable talking about my belief in the doctrine of the atonement or, better yet, my preference for medieval ransom-theories over the judicial model of substitutionary atonement. I read tomes on the philosophy of religion, enjoy debates about the attributes of God, and relish a good theological sermon. Give me "Immortal, Invisible" over "Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate!" any day.

For that reason, the times of greatest spiritual vitality in my life have been those in which I have been learning – in which I have been driven to worship by the discovery of new truths, ideas that challenge and reorganize all my preexisting conceptions. The problem with that approach is that at some point, heresy becomes tempting purely for the sake of novelty. Orthodoxy cannot appeal to one’s curiosity, one’s sense of intellectual adventure, in the same way that a good, creative heresy can. I don’t want to abandon my faith purely for the sake of variety, but new ideas are hard to come by within the confines of orthodox belief.

That’s why I love Veronica Mitchell so much. She writes about her faith without cliché or formula. Her words about God are new and arresting, not because they challenge or reject the tenets of orthodoxy, but rather because she goes deeper within them, uncovering new layers of wisdom. This month, she wrote about how breastfeeding her newborn daughter has renewed her appreciation for the Incarnate God:

It has become theologically fashionable to speak of God as Mother, a metaphor I haven’t much use for. But I am moved beyond words to know that God made the world in order to have a mother. I look at my tiny helpless baby and I remember God became this, too, and I rest my eyes in praise.

All I can say to that is …Perfect.

June 2007 Perfect Post Awards

19 comments:

Antique Mommy said...

I could not agree more about Veronica Mitchell. And I had lunch with her and AZ on Saturday! Nanny nanny boo boo! So there.

Jenn said...

Thanks for the lead; I'll have to check her out.

painted maypole said...

Yes, that post of Veronica's was great. It's actually the one I was looking for to link to my Grace post, when I found the newer one, and linked to that, instead.

My husband is a firm believer in the Myers-Briggs tests. I am an ENFP, which I will point out is EXACTLY the opposite of my husband's. This makes for lots of fun and games at my house. ;)

As I'm only a 50 on the Feeling scale, I spend a lot of time thinking, too, and find that my faith has a pretty active life in my head, probably more so than in my heart. At least on most days.

And now I leave you, humming to myself "Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise..."

Lawyer Mama said...

I'll definitely go read her post.

Also a big fan of the M-B here! (INTJ)

Mary-LUE said...

Great choice. I made my way over to Toddled Dredge via your blog and have been grateful for your good taste ever since. I think that Veronica has a devotional book in her that will come out some day--is coming out, a little at at time on her blog.

Oh, and your description of your T/F preference is very similar to how I view my own. I test very closely on the T/F and there are those who might insist I am really a T. What convinced me once and for all is the Nurture by Nature book. When I read the description of an ENFP as a child, I knew with certainty I am an Feeler.

Anonymous said...

fyi: www.INFJ.com

Glory Laine said...

ENFJ here. Gosh I took this my freshman year at college. (Way back in 95) I would love to take it again to see if all the letter are the same.

Veronica Mitchell said...

Wow. Thannks. I'm out of town right now, so probably won't get a post up for a few days.

Di said...

I am an ENFJ...and I remember a consultant I worked with telling me that my "J" was the strongest he's seen.

I guess I'm kind of like you...just annoyingly outgoing!

Kyla said...

Wow. That line was perfect, indeed. I think I'll click on over and read the rest.

AnneK said...

I am an INFJ as well. And with you on "... relish a good theological sermon. Give me "Immortal, Invisible" over "Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate!" any day." And relish is SO the right word for it-like a tasty morsel. Your post "Church" was interesting, and I WANTED to comment, but I kept thinking and typing and retyping it and finally gave it up as a bad job. :) Wanted to let you know that it got me thinking quite a bit, and those are the kind of posts I like the best!

Julie Pippert said...

I agree with you about M-B (INTJ here, self-proclaimed Queen of, LOL) and will check out the blogger you mention. Very cool!

Blog Antagonist said...

I read that post, and I too thought it very worth of a PP nomination. She is very thought provoking, but never an in yer face with the praying and the thanking Jesus kind of writer. I like that.

Beck said...

Good choice - that post WAS transcendently perfect.

Christine said...

ok, this is very un-thinky here, but i have never done a personality test that i can remember. it would probably depress me

Jenifer said...

I just took the test again and it came out as ISFJ, when I always thought I was INFJ! Maybe I have changed over the years...

I will check out Veronica's post once I get a few chores done...thanks for the link it sounds right up my alley.

Kelly said...

That post of Veronica's is truly a beautiful post, one that left my largely negative view of those early constant breastfeeding days shaken. In a good way. God bless the blogging world, for sure.

cinnamon gurl said...

I'll have to check that post out. In the meantime, I tagged you in a do it if you feel like kind of no pressure way.

Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, I so agree. I whole-heartedly and whole-headedly agree. I heart Veronica, and you, for speaking truth to faith in a way that I struggle to.