Stock photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Topics: Spirituality | Society

What is your spiritual type?

This model can give you insight into how you and others connect with the divine

 | 

When Brenda Black discovered that people had different spiritual types, she found it helpful for her volunteer work.

“I had an ‘aha’ moment that helped me understand that not everyone sees things like I do,” she says. “You have to understand that people are seeking different things from the church, not the things you’re looking for, so it helps you to avoid conflicts or work through big decisions.”

Black, who lives in Gilbert Plains, Man., learned about people’s four spiritual types in an Ontario workshop led by spiritual director Miriam Frey. The workshop focuses on Corinne Ware’s book, Discover Your Spiritual Type and explores why different people find a variety of spiritual practices and worship styles meaningful.

You can check your spiritual type by taking an online test here that combines Ware’s work with the Myers-Briggs personality test. You answer a series of questions and find out if you are a lover (focused on relationship), sage (intellectual), mystic (contemplative), or prophet (social justice focused).

Black thrives on the relational aspect of church and is often organizing or preparing meals for groups ranging from her congregation’s movie club to the Out of the Cold dinner for the homeless. For her, spiritual practice and service is about bringing people together to build community.

QUIZ: What is your spiritual type?

Her husband, David Black, who also attended the workshop, says it affirmed he was a sage. “Reading. That was the door opening,” he says of his own spirituality after he discovered authors like John Spong, Marcus Borg and Amy-Jill Levine. Participating in study groups also helped him question and understand what prompted the early Christians to follow Jesus and how faith and spirituality still apply to people today. “That gave me some ‘aha’ moments,” he adds. “I’ve only felt something in a religious way three times since going back to church – twice in Israel and once at Bible study.”

While David prefers quieter services and music, such as Gregorian chants, he recognizes that others may like rock music. “We are all trying to go to the same place,” he says of the religious or spiritual experience. “But there are many rivers to the ocean.”

Rev. Dr. Brice Balmer, who lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, discovered his prophet – or social justice – sense of spirituality while working with the civil rights movement. “I saw God in the cry for justice. I saw God in the action,” he says. His spiritual growth came from working with marginalized people and those who are addicted but then break free. “As I walk with other people, God becomes more present, real and hopeful as we find joy, love and liberation together,” he says. He also loves seeing his congregation become more ethnically diverse.

More on Broadview: 6 spiritual practices to start in 2020

“Following Jesus is really important for me, but it’s following Jesus in the middle of the social structures. Trying to break oppression and open doors for people who are marginalized,” he says. “What draws me is moving into community. I get energy in it, and not just because it’s successful, because sometimes it’s not. It’s where I see the presence of God and how we can be closer to that presence.”

Miriam Frey, the spiritual director who taught the workshops that the others attended, has also found freedom in Corinne Ware’s model. She learned that she’s a mystic – one who is often more intuitive, values silence, and may find walking in the woods or meditating more valuable than attending church. She’s Mennonite, but says she really loves the Quaker tradition because “no one is talking. I can sit in prayer with people who love to sit in prayer.”

“I used to feel out of place,” she says, “because I didn’t like long sermons or really heartfelt songs. Once I realized I was a mystic, I could sit in a sage service and understand they value the Bible, tradition and order. They have a different way of understanding the divine and can approach it with intellect. I’ve also been in services that are much too emotional and spontaneous for me because that’s the way some people connect to their God.”

Frey, who trains spiritual directors in the Ontario Jubilee Program and counsels seekers on their spiritual journeys, says Ware’s model has allowed her to view spiritual practice and prayer in a broader way. It also means she can encourage people to experiment with new ways to experience the divine. “Going on a peace march or having a potluck is as meaningful to some people as my silence is to me,” she says.

Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.

Noelle Boughton is a Toronto writer, editor, spiritual director and spirituality workshop facilitator.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  • says:

    Like the Myers-Briggs personality test, results are subjective. If you had trouble answering one of the questions, it shows circumstances can dictate different results. I often times enjoy quieter hymns, but I love to have a full on orchestra playing modern Christian songs I can sing along with as well.
    Note, results will also vary during our lifetime. Loss of a loved one, illness, children, or active ministry can easily change the answers. So your Spiritual life shouldn't be based on a few ambiguous questions.
    Under the guise of being Mennonite, Miriam Frey, I think, is involved in the New Age Movement (whether she agrees or not). So as a Christian I would hesitate to see the validity of the above exercise.
    Acts 2:42 Luke tells us the Church met for fellowship, they were devoted to it. We are to have fellowship to share and build our common denominator - fellowship with Christ. We all have something to bring into fellowship, and St. Paul uses the humourous analogy of the body, 1 Corinthians 12.
    The above article tries to show what YOU can get out of spirituality. However, we must work together so ALL can get the best of OUR Spirituality collectively.

  • says:

    Very interesting! The test confirmed what I already knew about myself, but it helped me see how I appear to others.

  • says:

    James Fowler had one prestage and six full stages of spiritual development. M. Scott Peck boiled these down to four but either way, each of us is unique and therefore have different ways of experiencing the divine in our lives. I value solitude, contemplation and the experience of feeling my connection with God. I am of God as all things are of God and because of that I am in constant relationship with God. I have my own sense of spirituality and have moved away from organized religion. It doesn't mean I am right or wrong; it just works for me. I do, however take offence at those who try to tell me that I, somehow, need what they have. I don't. Spirituality is a personal matter and each one of us must find his or her own path. Alas...some never do find a path because they don't look but even that is a choice they make.
    I took the test. I appear to be a mystic which is fine by me.