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Invitation to a Journey - part 5

This is part five of some excerpts and reflections from "Invitation to a Journey: a road map for spiritual formation" by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

His proposed definition of Christian spiritual formation is:
"Spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others".

If you have ever done a Myers Briggs personality type test you might like to look at some of the suggested preferences for the spiritual life for the standard preference pairs extraversion(E)/introversion(I), sensing(S)/intuition(I), thinking(T)/feeling(F), judgment(J)/perception(P).   Remember, people are on a continuum between these preferences and they are not right or wrong.  But they may help us understand that others may be just as spiritual as us, they just tend to approach it in a different way.

Remember, Mulholland is careful to warn that psychology is no substitute for spirituality and neither is spirituality a substitute for psychology.

Introvert Preference
Tend to adopt models of spirituality that
emphasize solitude, reflection, mediation
contemplation etc.
 ----  Extrovert Preference
Tend to select models of spirtuality that
bring us together with people in worship
fellowship, prayer groups etc.  Will want
corporate rather than private spirituality
Intuition Preference
Creative use of our imagination, recreating
bible passages in mind's eye, listening to
thoughts and ideas that emerge from within
 ---- Sensing Preference
Spiritual forms will use senses - chanting,
incense, listening to inspiring music or
sounds of nature, working with paint/clay
may be worship, use symbols and
Thinking Preference
Tend to cerebral spirituality, appreciate
reason, tend to analytical and theoretical
wrestling with scripture, tend to theologize
abstractly rather than personal struggle with
its personal application.
 ---- Feeling Preference
Tend to focus more on relationship with
God and others, encounter God through
relationships and the emotions that come
with them, prayer emerges more from
feelings than thoughts, incarnate our
spiritual insights in relationships
Judging Preference
Spiritual life highly structured and regulated,
devotions planned and follow a pattern,
systematic reading of scripture, want to be
'in control' of our relationship with God
 ---- Perception Preference
May find difficult to develop a regular
structured set of spiritual practices, take
our spirituality where we find it or an
opportunity comes up, appreciate
spontaneity in both individual and
corporate forms of spirituality and become
restless with regular/ordered forms of

David Wanstall, 01/04/2009