Our Response to the Story (1)
Story: People of the Dream
Music: hand things around
Responses to the story:
- wonderful, but difficult to hold onto with our hearts and heads?
Looking for abundance, treasure.
Creating a picture of abundance for ourselves.
One point of abundance in our lives.
Affirmation: We have come from God
Receiving a present:
- What is it like to receive? Receiving enriches our lives.
- Giving and receiving creates a relationship – are we comfortable with that?
- How do we receive? We pay attention.
- What are the fears that prevent us receiving? Fear that we cannot handle it.
That we are seen with love, regarded with love, embraced with love, held in love.
This is where our confidence is generated.
Personality Type and Storytelling
Source. Francis. Personality Type & Scripture: Mark’s Gospel
Carl Jung & theory of psychological type - affects the way people “hear” a story - indicates their preferred ways of thinking. Preferences described by the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator. Jung identifies 2 main mental processes:
The way we gather information: perceiving process. Some prefer sensing, others intuition. The way we look at the world.
The way we make decisions: judging process. Some prefer thinking, others prefer feeling. Have different ways of coming to decisions about the world.
We also differ in the orientation with which we prefer to employ these two processes.
Outer or extroverting world// inner or introverting world. Where we draw our energy from.
And differ in our attitude to the outer world, using either a judging or a perceiving process.
Introverts: inner understanding, quiet concentration, solitude, reading, writing, ideas behind outward task, need to negotiate unpleasant encounters, need to be brought to opportunity to act.
Extraverts: variety, action, turn outward, focus on people and things, meeting people, learn by trial and error, talking things through, clarified through communicating with others, how others are getting on, scan the environment for stimulation, enjoy the unexpected stimulus, quick action & decisiveness, need to be helped to face the inner world, need to be helped to deal with long, slow jobs where patience is needed.
Intuitives: possibilities, meanings and relationships. The big picture. Insight into complexity. See the abstract, symbolic and theoretical. Future possibilities. Inspiration rather than past experience. Interested in the new and untried. Trust their intuitive grasp. Follow hunches. See beyond the information given to new challenges and possibilities. Discontented with the way things are. Enjoy learning new skills. Bursts of energy and enthusiasm, followed by slack periods. Dislike taking too much time to secure precision. May reach conclusions too quickly, see too much complexity, raise questions rather than find answers. Striving for an overview. Use memory and association. See patterns and meanings. “let the mind inform the eyes”
Sensing: uniqueness of every individual event. Reality as perceived by the senses. Good techniques of observation. Practical way things work now. Established ways of doing things. Repetitive work does not bore them. Work steadily. Realistic assessment of how long jobs will take. Step by step decisions. Careful observation of each piece of information. Get facts right, good at precision. Good at current reality. Not given to speculation. May over-simplify. Details. Senses. Present moment. Attention to what is said and done. “let the eyes tell the mind.”
Thinking: clear powers of logical analysis. Weigh facts objectively. Predict consequences. Stance of impartiality. Fairness and justice. Logical order. Put people in their place. Tough decisions. Tough with themselves. Respond to ideas rather than feelings. See logical outcomes of others’ choices. Expect justice. Spectator. See humour in others’ decisions. Objective and impersonal criteria to reach decisions. Cause and effect. Sceptical.
Feeling: personal emphasis on values and standards. What matters to me/others. Understanding, affiliation & harmony. Warmth, empathy & compassion. Take others’ feelings into account. Effect on others. Dislike making others feel bad. Need to have their own feelings taken into account. Expect praise & affirmation. Empathy. Interested in others’ values. Enjoy pleasing people. Life from the inside. Committed participants. Do not find it easy to be objective. Good at applying personal priorities. Weight human values and motives. Prize harmony and trust.
Judging: planned and orderly approach to life. Settled system. Need for closure. Schedule projects. Finished and settled. Finished product in place. Plan work in advance and follow that plan. Lists, agendas, structures, diaries. Dislike being derailed or interrupted. Reluctant to leave the task in hand for something more urgent. Satisfied by decisions taken, judgements reached, work done. Dislike having to revise decisions or take new information into account. Get on with it, once essential elements to hand. Can act too quickly. Controlling, organised, regulated. Goal-oriented. Want to move towards closure, even when data is incomplete.
Perceiving: flexible and spontaneous. Minimal planning. Open. Adapt well to changing situations. Make allowances for change & new information. May have trouble making decisions: never have enough information. May start too many projects and have difficulty finishing anything. Postpone unpleasant tasks. Want to know all about a new task before they begin it. Prefer to explore the options before beginning something new. Use lists as a way of seeing the possibilities in front of them. Able to leave room for last-minute changes. Work best under pressure, work well up to deadline. Receptive to information, adapting and changing, curious and interested, open-minded approach, resisting closure.
Related to Preaching, Storytelling and Writing.
Sensing: Needs facts and information. Details and clearly defined images. Needs to see the thread. Needs to feel “earthed” in the specific. Close analysis of the text. Grounds us in the reality of the passage of scripture. Creative visualisation. Sights, sounds, smells etc. Handling things - actual experience.
Intuitive: Challenges to the imagination. Varied, arresting ideas. Theories and possibilities. Imaginative associations. Draws out the wider implications, makes connections and develops them. Key themes and strong threads, presented in a suggestive manner that helps people make other links.
Feeling: Issues of the heart, human relationships. Human interest, loving concern for people. Attuned to issues of values and human priorities within the narrative. Focus on what it feels like from the inside. Personal stories. Individual instances of human experience.
Thinking: Issues of the head, logical analysis. Hard intellectual issues. Challenges and contradictions of the faith. Erudition & carefully argued nuances. Face theological challenges and address intellectual issues. Raise important questions. Accept conflicts and challenges.
The calling voice is loving and generous. Graces are given with our vocation. These are, in essence, a vision of an abundance that is available to us; a story that casts us as heirs to this promise; and a way whereby, whatever our circumstances, we will discover the resources we need for what we are called to do. Confidence comes from realising that the call to the journey comes from God, who takes to the road with us, and who provides us with all that we need along the way.
The call is God’s way of claiming us, a way that leaves us free to respond, or to refuse. It is offered as an invitation to a feast, as the gift of that abundant life we have always dreamed of enjoying, and that treasure we have always sought, rather than as duty, obligation, burden. The freedom is real: God allows us to wander off and explore our own ways of doing things, leaving the call as a sign of who we are, and of the One to whom we belong. The call is God’s means of staying in touch, the resonance that reminds us of an embracing, unfolding, resilient love. However far we roam, we are seen, remembered, known and understood. So while we may feel the repeated call as a challenge we must defy or a bond we must deny, it is intended to give us a way out of trouble: if we become confused and anxious because we feel separated from others, scattered amongst strangers or lost in a wild land, then the call helps us find our way of return - into a more profound connection with ourselves, with others, with our context, with the world, with the cosmos, with the One who is the ground of our being.
The call is simple: the chime of a bell at midnight. But it may not always be answered; or the response may be made reluctantly, or may be delayed. Our humanity is complex and the world around us is full of confusion, distractions and obstacles. If we answer the call, we must make a journey. The decision to respond is only the first step: it must be followed by many others. Our “way of return” or our “path of convergence” is complicated by distance, diversions, distractions, hazards and even adversaries. It is these complexities that deter many from beginning the journey, or completing it once they have begun.
This is why the call is repeated. It retains its simplicity and clarity, and at intervals we may emerge from the thickets long enough to hear it, but in the midst of everyday life its voice is muffled as we grapple with the joys and sorrows of the road. These demand our full attention, an engagement of body, heart, mind, soul and strength. And yet if we are alert; if we listen; if we are paying attention not only to the way our experience affects us and the way it makes us feel, but also to the way it is shaped and shadowed, the way it falls into patterns and planes, then we will hear the call resonating through all we know, all we see, all we undertake, all we suffer, all we celebrate. We will discover the truth that our personal road is a purpose-filled life of discipleship.
The Story and the Song
Image: Circle – Story, dance and song
Questions: How do we celebrate life in the midst of death?
Discussion: Only through faith in the power and goodness of God, only by being willing to walk through our fears, only by taking risks, only by taking ourselves lightly, only by playing the fool.
Meditation: Foolhardy God, with foolish friends
Prayer: God the artist, acrobat, craftsman, singer, actor, jester, clown
Human beings are complex, multi-layered personalities. In addition, each one of us carries wounds from our past. So the faith-process is never straightforward. Indeed it is likely that all our story-telling originates in our need to make sense of the human journey, of the way in which we need to see, think, speak and behave if we are to live life to the full. Despite the vast diversity of stories we tell, they all touch on a single, universal theme: how do we gain abundant life? And what happens if we fail?