24/03/2006

From Image to Likeness (by W Harold Grant, Magdala Thompson & Thomas E Clarke)

'From Image to Likeness' is a fascinating book by three authors whom I'd never heard of before: W. Harold Grant, Magdala Thompson and Thomas E. Clarke. The book revolves around two paradigms: that of Christianity, with growth from being made in God's image through to becoming more Christlike, and secondly that of the Jungian functions as popularised by Isabel Briggs-Myers and the MBTI personality system.

The authors propose that all four of the main Jungian functions (Thinking, Feeling, Sensing and Intuiting) are part of who God is, and that we can only become Christlike as we develop and exercise them all. A chapter looks at each function in both the Extraverted and Introverted directions, with many referenced Scripture verses to illustrate their points.

I found it interesting, but rather heavy going. I tried reading a few pages at a time, and looking up all the Bible references, but found myself rather losing the thread as I did so. Some of what they say is obvious, some less so - but on the whole it was a bit too theoretical and academic for my tastes. In the end I skimmed the last three or four chapters to get the gist rather than trying to absorb it all.

The appendix is perhaps the most helpful part, following as it does the theory that we develop our primary function in childhood, secondary in the teenage years, tertiary in our 20s and early 30s, and inferior from about 35 to 50. It outlines how this would most likely work out in people of each of the 16 Myers-Briggs types, and I found it surprisingly accurate for myself (INFJ) and my family (ENFP, INFP, ENTJ).

Recommended to those wanting a deeper, more thoughtful and academic look at Jungian functions from a Christian perspective. But this is not for beginners to the theory, and probably of little interest to anyone outside the Christian world.

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