Stronger Together

“What Iconic Movie Heroine Are You Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type?”  Those words came across my Facebook feed this week, and I instantly clicked on the link.  I needed to know.  Which heroine am I?  I was really hoping that the answer was going to be someone exciting like Princess Leia.  But, according to this article, I am Maria von Trapp from The Sound of Music. Not bad, but not very exciting. I chose not to share this link on Facebook because it didn’t really feel like me. I didn’t instantly look at the picture of Maria and think, “Yes! That’s me. I am such a Maria!” like I have with some other articles and quizzes. I am sure there are many reasons why I don’t feel like a Maria, but it also made me think about all the times I do find myself agreeing with these kinds of personality inventories.

Since the first time a took a Myers-Briggs type test in high school, I was hooked. I loved learning about myself and trying to find other people who were like me. It helped me fit myself and others into the world and give me a way to better understand how we all fit. There is something powerful about knowing that someone is like you, even if that person is a fictional character. There is a reason that “birds of a feather flock together” has been said so many times.  We like things that are like us.

However, if we only spend time with or work with people who are just like us, we limit our collective potential.  I am an ENFP, Enneagram type 2, Ravenclaw, lawful good, chaos Muppet*.  If you are familiar with any of these personality labels, then you understand why a committee full of people like me would be problematic. We would get lost in possibilities and never do anything concrete. We would also be rather loud. Instead, the best groups are those which recognize and value diverse gifts.

Paul writes about this same concept in 1 Corinthians 12.  He gives a list of various gifts of the Spirit and reminds the Church that the different gifts are all important in the Body of Christ.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20, NRSV)

We need one another to be the Body of Christ in the world. All the gifts we bring to the Church are important, each in their own way. We are not called to be identical but unified. Or as John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement wrote, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works.”

*These are my types according to: Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, Hogwarts House, Dungeons and Dragons alignment, and the Muppet Theory.

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