Bru

A brief bioÖ

I am a husband, father, son, and friend, as well as being a pastor at a Lutheran community in Saskatoon, Canada. My lovely bride of 24 years shows preferences for ESTJ. She is an x-ray instructor at a local post-secondary technical school. My son, the ESFP poster boy is twenty, my daughter (as yet uninitiated to the world of type, and I refuse to guess) is eighteen.

Being a pastor is both awe-full and awful, yet I cannot imagine another way of being. As I write this, I am coming to the end of a life-giving 4-month sabbatical, and will be returning to work in a few days.

Prior to attending seminary and receiving a graduate degree in 1999, I was a stay-at-home dad for five years Ė easily the most rewarding job Iíve ever attempted. While doing that I started an advertising/production consulting company, making far too much money for doing very little that benefited humanity. (Can you intuit why I quit?)

And before that, I worked in commercial radio as a writer, producer and announcer. Most of my career was spent in Calgary. For 7 years I worked at an album rock FM station which amazingly, still exists! 

When & how did you learn your type pattern, and what difference has it made in your life? 

I first encountered ďtypeĒ in the late 1980ís, when I was looking at alternatives for my life. At the age of 30-something, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

ďTypeĒ was a revelation. It was comforting to know I was not alone Ė there were others who felt/intuited/thought/reacted as I did! And I was amazed that so much could be gleaned from so few questions. Later in seminary, I encountered the world of type again as we explored personal spiritualities. My exclamation at the time was, ďWow! Iím not weird, Iím gifted!Ē

What do you love about having INFJ preferences??   

I love being able to creatively contemplate, and to ďintuitĒ how others may be feeling.

What do you dislike about having INFJ preferences?

As an INFJ male, I hate it when my emotions are transparent and seemingly outside of my control. I know itís a gift; itís also a curse.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for INFJs? and how have you addressed it?

Well for this INFJ, the biggest challenge is caring too much about what others think of me. In the last decade, Iíve been realizing that working to be attractive to others is a form of manipulation Ė and manipulation of people is something that I despise.

To make things more complicated, as a spiritual leader, it often behooves me to say and do things that will make me ďunlikeableĒ. Speaking the truth, even in love, sometimes causes irritation! So Iím learning (slowly!) to be less worried about what others think of me.
(Was that OK?)
;-)

What was school like for you?  (Say something about science, math, English)

I love to learn, and I enjoyed school. I used to joke that school was certainly better than working on our family farm, which is what I would have to do if I wasnít in school!

I sadly discovered that not all those who show preferences for INFJ are poor at math. I thought it was a signature trait! Of course, that means physics was an impossible challenge. But biology was fun. And English? I aced it.

Say something about learning for you?

My wife and I are life-long learners. Sheís working on her graduate degree as I write this. Then it will be my turn Ė probably a vocational doctorate as opposed to a PhD. Iím 50, so by the time Iím done the doctorate maybe I can retire!
;-)

Could you share a little about your career path, especially any "wrong turns"?

Iíve taken several strange turns! But one of the worst mistakes was to leave a radio station where I had great working relationships and many opportunities for creativity. I was working with a producer (pref. ENFJ) who is one of my closest friends. But I chose to go to a new start-up, where there was conflict, condemnation and confusion about priorities. I lasted 3 months. It took me years to recover.

Looking at the long view: One of my guiding principles is that I must be true to myself and others. Another guiding principle is that a healthy life should be life-giving, contributing (somehow) towards the betterment of the world.

As a radio announcer, I could convince myself that I was living according to my values Ė I was providing a form of entertainment that could conceivably help people. But I was a much better writer/producer than I was as an announcer. Writing and producing commercials is much more lucrative than being ďjust another pretty voiceĒÖbut who does it help? No one. (It's part of the big lie Western society tells itself Ė that if you can acquire enough stuff, youíll be happy.)

If I had not given up a career in advertising when I did, Iím sure I would have subconsciously found a way to sabotage the success I was experiencing.

What's your relationship with money like?

Fleeting.

What environments support or undermine you?

To re-charge, I need to spend a significant portion of my time in solitude. In my office, I surround myself with plants, there is an aquarium to ponder, my trusty Mac and many books. Itís an oasis.

Large groups of people with a need to make Ďsmall talkí are a challenge for me. So are large meetings with angry conflict.

Please share a few words about your religion/spirituality.

I could write pages. In fact, I want to write pages.

Iíll try to be concise.

I wonít say Iím a Christian, because it is a term easily misunderstood and often misused.

But I understand God best when I look at Jesus.

I know God is at work in the world constantly, but it is only in rare, blessed moments when I can witness Godís Spirit moving and when Godís presence is palpable.

I yearn for those times.

Part of my struggle with God is remembering that God loves me exactly the way I am. That I donít have to change a thing about myself or my behaviour in order to be loved. Itís too late. Iím already loved.

Thatís grace. And thatís why itís so amazing.

As you know, relationships are important to INFJs.  Could you say a little about relationships and relationship challenges along your life path, perhaps self-disclosing a little?

I grew up in a family of SJís. Iím still recovering!

A relationship that profoundly changed me? I once fell in love with a woman who must have preferred INTJ. It is only recently, while becoming MBTI qualified, that I learned why INFJ and INTJ types have such affinity. I think it was the first time that I really got to know another iNtuitive, and that was part of the magic. Sadly, we were not good for each other. Happily, we discovered this before we got married.

Being in love with and married to a woman who prefers ESTJ is sometimes challenging, because we think and approach life very differently. Meeting as many about-to-be-weds as I do, Iíve discovered that itís common for people to be attracted to their shadows.

My wife and I have been together for almost 26 years, 24 of them as a married couple. We are a team. And we are still learning to appreciate each otherís strengths!

Say something about "popularity."

I sometimes admire it, more often am puzzled by it.

How many "come get me out of jail" friends do you personally have?

Until recently, I would have answered ďfewĒ. But while I was travelling this year, my basement flooded. A dozen friends showed up to rescue my belongings and solve the problem. What a gift! So I have more ďget out of jailĒ friends than I believed! Itís one of the benefits of being a part of a spiritual community.

And I treasure all of my friends, probably more than they know.

Tell me about a difference you made in someone's life.

Ah! One of the primary joys of being a pastor! However, at best I believe that I am a conduit. Any positive change in someoneís life is a result of the grace of a loving God. And if Iíve played at part in someoneís growth, it means mostly that Iíve succeeded in staying out of Godís way!

What are your hobbies? And what do you do for fun?

I love reading, and I read almost all genres.

I write. A lot. During my sabbatical, I wrote a book-length manuscript. Who knows what will happen to it?

I love music, and listen to all genres.

I enjoy movies, but donít own many because for most, once or twice is enough!

I play pool, go for walks, and play with my aquariums.

And even though Iím not primarily a visual (and more an aural) person, I enjoy photography.

What things drive you utterly crazy?

  • Inconsiderate drivers, who donít signal.

  • People who park in front of the apartments across from my house, and blow their horns to get their friends to hurry.

  • Short-sightedness

  • Selfishness

  • Intolerance

(And this is a good day! On bad days, the list is longer!)

Do you have any sensitivities, weaknesses, or soft spots you'd own up to?  Do you have an achilles heel you're willing to share?

During my seminary training, I took a unit of Clinical / Pastoral Education, an intense 14 week experience. There were two big learnings that Iíll share

  • For some reason, I am far more willing to defend someone else than I am willing to defend myself. I think this is largely because I have difficulty recognizing when I, personally, need defending!

  • When my personal integrity is questioned, I am rocked to the core.

Could you say something about your physical health?  How is your relationship with your body?

For some time, Iíve suspected that I was created out of spare parts.

While I think Iím reasonably healthy, I am required to go through a litany of past ailments whenever I donate blood and that keeps me humble. That said, I seem to have recovered from all of those ailmentsÖ  a positive sign, I think.

Do you engage in any sports or other forms of exercise?

Slow-pitch. Would love to play The Ultimate, if I could find a league that would accept an old guy. But generally, team sports arenít worth it.

I exercise 2-3 times a week, both cardio and weights. Because itís no fun getting old!

Please something about food (comfort food, favorite food, problem food, anything).

Heaven is a place where you can drink all the Coca Cola you want, and you never get fat and your teeth never make you pay.

Ditto for Oreo cookies and milk.

What's your favorite form of entertainment?

The first answer that leaped to mind was: ďSexĒ.

But I also consider sex a profound form of communication, even a mystical bond between two people in love, so that does complicate things, doesnít it?

Say something about shopping -- and what's the coolest thing you own?

I generally donít shop unless I need something. But I occasionally need the latest techno-toy available!

The coolest thing I own is a kickass hifi sound system.

And iPod, therefore iAm.

What special something would you like for your birthday?

A digital camera body for my Nikon lenses.

And a trip to Israel, Egypt and Greece. Including a cruise, if you donít mind.

Where are your favorite places?

I love the Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, the Okanogan valley in British Columbia.

Or anyplace with a windmill. Or a resplendent sunset. Or both!

How do you deal with uncertainty or the unexpected?

Better than my children do! For myself, Iíve found fretting is always a good fallback.

What do you beat yourself up about?

Lots of things. But generally, they all have to do with perfectionism.

Could you say something about what integrity is for you?

Itís integral. See above.

Please name some of your favorite influences (books, speakers, blogs, whatever)?

This was much fun to think about! Consider this a sample, not a complete list!

Books:

The Letter to the Philippians Paul
The Gospel of Mark  Unknown
Almost anything by Garrison Keillor
All of Annie Dillardís short stories
Most of Arthur C. Clarkís fiction
Diana Gabaldon and Jean Auel are guilty pleasures
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein
The Prophet Kahlil Gibran

Music

Standards:

The 7th Symphony Beethoven
The 9th Symphony  Beethoven
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Mozart
The Messiah  Handel

Pretty much anything by:  Mark Knopfler, Loreena McKennitt, Vangellis, Mike Oldfield or Jesse Cooke

Movies:

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

  • The Right Stuff

  • For the Love of the Game & Field of Dreams (great stories, even though I donít love baseball, and I think Costner is so/so)

  • Star Wars (esp. episode 5)

  • American Beauty

TV

  • Star Trek stuff

  • Almost anything by Aaron Sorkin or Ken Burns

Who's the most interesting person you've met and why?

Well, if I said ďJesusĒ would you squirm? Then again, I like it when people squirm. (Sometimes.)

Do you have any role models?

See the preceding answer. Do I set myself up for disappointment, or what?

What inspires you?

Eloquent writing, transcendent music, seeing someone make a difference in the world

Please describe a "peak experience" you've had.

Holding my children in my arms when they were just a few minutes old, and glimpsing the immense miracle of life.

How do you use type?

Iíve recently become Ďqualifiedí to administer the MBTI and I am looking forward to using it as part of my work, especially for explorations of spirituality and for marriage preparation.

Until now, Iíve used Ďtypeí mostly to try to understand the differences I see in people, and to try to understand why I look at God and the world the way I do.

How many other INFJs do you know personally (guesstimate)?

In ministry, one meets quite a few. I can name 8 colleagues without breaking a sweat. Thereís likely more.

And did you know that per capita, there are twice as many INFJís in Canada as there are in the USA?

What advice might you give to other INFJs?

Youíre not as alone as you think you are.

Where will you be in five years?

Hopefully, doing a lot of the stuff Iím doing now, but with more opportunity to write.

What do you "just know" about the future?

It will be far more surprising than we can imagine.