Celebrating diversity : a seminar for the local church using Jungian psychological type theory to promote tolerance of divergent opinions on non-essentials of the faith
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This project is a series of nine seminar study units designed to provide the information local church members need to understand and appreciate diversity of opinion on non-essentials of the faith which results from personality differences as described by Jungian psychological type theory. Each unit contains a group discussion guide. The material can be used in nine individual sessions or in a retreat setting. The research for the project was carried out during work with hundreds of people involved in ministry at Friendship Chapel in Jenison, Michigan.
The first three study units present a biblical perspective on diversity of opinion in the church. Unit one is an investigation of diversity in the New Testament church designed to demonstrate that a romanticized conception of the early years of the Christian era as a time of uncomplicated unity and undisturbed unanimity of opinion is inconsistent with the testimony of the biblical material. Unit two is an examination of New Testament unity "in Christ," a unity which creates an atmosphere of acceptance for other believers who may have widely divergent views. Unit three is a presentation of the strategies, attitudes, and skills necessary to promote the celebration of diversity of opinion in the local church.
The second set of three study units presents a psychological explanation for diversity in the church based on the personality type theory of Carl G. Jung. Unit four contains an introduction to Jung and his type theory, style, and religious attitude. Unit five is a detailed explication of psychological type, including sections on the psychic energy of the opposites and the core quaternity of psychological functions: sensing, intuiting, thinking, and feeling. Unit six offers descriptions of the sixteen psychological types isolated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a psychometric instrument based on a slight modification of Jungian theory. These type profiles are specifically written for use in an ecclesiastical context.
The final three study units present applications of psychological type theory to three areas of significant diversity in the church. Unit seven addresses differences in worship and prayer styles, demonstrating a correlation of the four functions of psychological type with the four divisions of the Holmes-Sager phenomenology of spirituality. Unit eight investigates different approaches to biblical interpretation, including an explication of the relationship of the four functions of psychological type and the fourfold sense of Scripture. Unit nine describes different concepts of ministry according to a four part Sloat-Bailey ministry gird and demonstrates a correspondence between these divisions and the functions of type theory.
Four appendices are added to the project. The first appendix includes "ThePreferenceSelector," a personality assessment tool I designed to assist participants in determining their psychological type. The second appendix contains "The Personality Castle," a guided process through which participants can ascertain the order of the psychological functions within their personality type. The third appendix is a collection of presentation materials which are designed for workshop distribution or overhead transparency masters. The final appendix contains pretest and post-test information gathering tools and an evaluation of the field testing of the project materials. This evaluation demonstrates that an acceptance of individual personality characteristics and a tolerance of different opinions on non-essentials of the faith can be significantly increased in the local church by means of an application of Jungian psychological type theory to issues of diversity.