2.05.2013

INTJ Christians

I was first introduced to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test in a Christian leadership setting.  It made for a fascinating discussion.  People are unique, and they sort into certain groupings that, once you understand the characteristics of those groupings, makes understanding those people easier.  Not that we don't ever strive to improve, but that we respect that we are fundamentally predilected towards certain tendencies and our awareness of those tendencies helps us to co-exist and cooperate. 

As an INTJ, then, as with any other four-letter combo, there are certain things about me that it helps for others to know about so they know why I am why I am.  Again, not that I shouldn't be called on these things if I need to change - indeed, part of why I'm making this list is to enlist others in helping me be better in these areas - but to provide some context as to where I'm coming from.  In this regard, this post about being an INTJ Christian isn't that different from a post of mine from last year about being an INTJ boss.

1. Thinking internally.  Extroverts think outside their heads; introverts inside.  In a Christian setting, thinking outside can be more helpful, since community is so important.  Processing internally first and externally later (if at all) can seem unsocial and un-Christianly.

2. Needing alone time.  Extroverts draw energy from being with others; introverts from solitude.  Again, Christian community is so paramount that it can seem more spiritual to always be in the company of others, and less spiritual to withdraw from social engagement.  People are easily offended, perhaps rightfully so, when they are energized by spending time with you and you reciprocate by being sapped by spending time with them.

3. No sacred ideas.  INTJs can be good prophets to groups, poking holes in things that have been sacrosanct that do not necessarily deserve to be so.  But it is not hard for an INTJ to do this in an abrasive or matter-of-fact manner that rubs people the wrong way.

4. High pain threshold.  INTJs can also be good prods to groups, calling them out of the comfort-seeking mentality that has poisoned much of American Christianity.  But, again, it is not hard for an INTJ to be oblivious to the very real need for people to seek comfort, and to do so in a dismissive and judgmental way.

5. Grand narratives.  INTJs dig the big story themes that Christianity consists of, but can easily frustrate in the weeds of everyday life.  Authentic Christianity, of course, is about both the big stories and the little aches and pains.

6. Meritocracy.  INTJs are ambivalent if not sneering about artificial hierarchies.  Merit matters most if not exclusively.  So feathers can get ruffled when people who ought to be honored and deferred to are instead not treated thusly. 

7. Let's move on.  The J part of INTJs, combined with all the other parts, makes for a strong desire to come to a decision and then move on.  But Christian community is about journey and process, so it is not uncommon for INTJs to feel like more discussion isn't warranted when it fact it is.

That's all I can think of at this early hour.  Maybe other INTJs can chime in?  Or others who know INTJs can point some things out for us? 
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