Chess Pieces I’m battling a cold at the moment… my wife is blaming germs picked up on my trip last week. She’s probably right, she’s like that. Typically right, I mean. Which is a good introduction to the other thing she said yesterday. Last week I was talking about masculinity and gender and what it means to be a Man™. I had pre-posted it to appear while I was traveling, but on the idea that sometimes men just don’t know what it is that women want from us, I dropped in a few questions about what a “real man” was. A few people riffed on it on their own blogs, and there were some good comments. But my favorite, of course, was my wife’s, yesterday. I’m in the kitchen, (mostly) minding my own business, and in response to something I said, she whirled around, jabbed her finger in the air in my general direction, and said, “Okay, that’s a man!” I was somewhat stunned, but now I have the answer.

A “Real Man™” must be able to wield the largest carving knife in the house, waving it around carefully to the necessary hand gestures of conversation while slicing a pineapple and attempting to teach his oldest daughter how to meditate on a Psalm and tricking her into learning the first stanza (2 verses) of Psalm 121 to prove to her that she can remember Bible verses, and not just Veggie Tales songs, and that in thinking about verses like this she can understand them better, and the same thing would work for the prayers of the Daily Office, all the while holding in abeyance the answer to her question of what a “conspiracy” is.

A caveat. It’s my blog, and if I only choose to make mention of the times I do something right, that’s my prerogative. Believe you me, the other 97¾% of what goes on around here that involves me is stuff I’d rather not admit, thank-you very much.

While I’m on the “subject” of miscellany, I’ll give you two snapshots of conversations from my recent Seabeck trip. I flew in and out of Vancouver BC, and caught a ride down to Seattle with an old friend. Along the way we caught up a little after a 13-year gap. When we got onto the subject of personality types, she said, “Oh, you’re a ‘green’.” All I could think was, “Well, it ain’t easy, bein’ green…” She explained in brief what that meant. From her brief description, I deduced that she’d probably nailed it, and I had no need to take the test. Turns out, the test is another variation of the Jungian personality types which also manifests itself as MBTI and KTS. So now I’m Green as well as INTP and The Architect. Oh, and I’m also an Enneagram Type 5, the “Investigator” with “4-Wing”, making me “The Iconoclast.” (Try to contain your shock and disbelief.)

On the way back, I rode with Bill & Imbi Kinnon, who drove. I mean, they drove as a couple, Imbi operating the vehicle and Bill providing step-by-step instructions. Wonderful to see that sort of cooperation in a married couple… probably because they also work together, but I digress. Talking to Pete Askew, the fourth in the car, we got onto the subject of the MBTI, and worked out that by some very strange coincidence, we had too many INTPs in the car, he being one as well as me. Bill is that as well, or very close, and we began to worry about having all of us traveling in the same vehicle, being as rare a breed as we are. It may have been a little irresponsible of us, but we were all exhibiting confidence in Imbi’s driving, and arrived safely in Al Roxburgh’s garage where I took the opportunity for one last road-trip “burn” at Bill, who was good-natured about my sudden bout of verbal sparring. It was a good “burn” but you probably had to be there.

Back to the story, Pete told us about MBTI “Shadow Types”, which I’d never heard of before. Pete didn’t know a lot about them, but the general gist of it is that the inverse of your “natural” type is how you relate spiritually. So if I’m INTP to the physical world, I would be ESFJ to the spiritual world. Or something along those lines. This is a fascinating idea to me… it suggests that in matters of spiritual practice, the “I” in me becomes an “E” that wants to experience things, such that symbols and interactive things are appealing… incense and prayer, for example. It’s a fascinating line of thought. Is this a familiar concept to anyone else? Have a good link or two explaining this more fully? Comments are wide open…. go ahead, get miscellaneous with me….

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