Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Truths Hidden Behind the Pictures

Sometimes an obvious truth can jump out at you . . .

If you've attended one of my fiction classes, you know that I'm big into Myers-Briggs as a personality analyzer/character creator. I've seen dozens of personality tests, and the MB simply the most accurate and the most simple. And if you've been in one of my character workshops, you know that we always analyze Jesus in class.

Now don't tell me that since Jesus was perfect he can't be analyzed. The Myers-Briggs test doesn't analyze a person's perfection, it analyzes personality and Jesus, who was fully man and fully God, definitely had a personality. So--I'll try to make this brief--here are the four definitive Myers-Briggs questions:
1. Extrovert or introvert? The deciding factor is 'where do you go to relax? To a party or do you need to be alone?' Scripture repeatedly tells us that Jesus went off by himself, so this indicates an I for introversion.
2. Intuiter or sensor? Meaning did He base his decisions on things he picked up through his senses, or a gut feeling? This one is a little tricky because you're dealing with an omniscient mind, but I think Jesus went with his gut instincts. Appearances can be deceiving. Call that one for N.
3. Thinker or feeler? Again, this one is a little tricky, but Scripture tells us again and again that He was "moved with compassion." Yes, he knew everything about people, but he was never ruled by what he knew. He felt, deeply and truly. Even though He knew Lazarus was only temporarily dead, still Jesus wept. Indicates an F.
4. Finally: judger or perceiver? (Translated: "piler" or "filer?") Did he fly by the figurative seat of his pants or was he more organized? I'm going to vote for organization. Remember the feeding of the 5,000 men? He made them all sit down in groups of fifty. Very well organized, not pell mell chaos. Jesus was the creator, and we see definite order in creation. Indicates a J.

So--I think Jesus's personality probably best fits the profile of an INFJ. I could type out lots of material about INFJs, but listen to this excerpt from Please Understand Me:

"As with all NFs, the ministry holds attraction, athough the INFJ must develop an extroverted role here which requires a great deal of energy. INFJs may be attracted to writing as a profession, and often they use language which contains an unusual degree of imagery. They are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex. Their great talent for language is usually directed toward people . . ."

My point--and I do have one--is that Jesus would have been a great novelist. (VBG). For what is a novel? It is a microcosm that says "life is like this." It is not real life, it is one author's view of life tied to his or her guiding principles. A novel is an extended metaphor.

When I wrote Unspoken, I wanted to talk about how Creation and the animal kingdom testify to the creator's power, genius, and love at every hand. When I worked on The Novelist, I wanted to demonstrate how God's sovereignty and man's free will operate in tandem. In Magdalene, I want to illustrate the power of forgiveness . . . and the destructive power of a hard heart.

Jesus was a master of metaphor. I've been reading C.S. Lewis for the past few days, and I think he must have been an INFJ. He is such an intelligent thinker, but he brings his great intellect to bear in simple, digestible bits by saying, "x is like y." And suddenly a great and complicated matter is amazingly simple.

So--as you read this week, look for the metaphors hidden in the story. As you write, look for places to picture great and lofty truths in simple pictures.

The face of God might appear to you when you least expect it.

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