What is Your Spiritual Temperament?

(From “Sacred Pathways” by Gary L. Thomas)

Score the following statements on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not true at all and 5 being very true. Record your results in the space provided below each section.

1. I feel closest to God when I’m surrounded by what He has made — the mountains, the forests or the ocean.

2. I feel closest to God when I’m in a church that allows my senses to come alive — when I can see, smell, hear and almost taste His majesty.

3. I feel closest to God when I’m participating in a familiar form of worship that has memories dating back to my childhood. Rituals and traditions move me more than anything else.

4. I feel closest to God when I am cooperating with Him in standing up for His justice: writing letters to government officials and newspaper editors, picketing at a place of injustice, urging people to vote or becoming informed about current issues.

5. I feel closest to God when I am alone and there is nothing to distract me from focusing on His presence.

6. I feel closest to God when I see Him in the needy, the poor, the sick and the imprisoned. I feel God’s presence most strongly when I am sitting quietly by the bed of someone who is lonely or ill or when I am taking a meal to someone in need. You can count on me to offer a ride or to volunteer for helping activities.

  1. I feel closest to God when my heart is sent soaring and I feel like I want to burst, worship God all day long and shout out His name. Celebrating God and His love is my favorite form of worship.
  2. I feel closest to God when my emotions are awakened, when God quietly touches my heart, tells me that He loves me and makes me feel like I’m His closest friend. I would rather be alone with God contemplating His love than participating in a formal liturgy or being distracted by a walk outside.
  3. I feel closer to God when I learn something new about Him that I didn’t understand before. My mind needs to be stimulated. It’s very important to me that I know exactly what I believe.
  4. I feel cut off if I have to spend too much time indoors, just listening to speakers or singing songs. Nothing makes me feel closer to God than being outside.

11. I enjoy attending a “high church” service with a formal communion.

12. I begin to feel closest to God when I lay something on the altar, sacrificing it for Him.

13. I get very frustrated if I see apathetic Christians who don’t become active. I want to drop everything else I’m doing and help the church overcome its apathy.

  1. I would describe my faith as more “internal” than “external.”
  2. I grow weary of Christians who spend their time singing songs while a sick neighbor goes without a hot meal or a family in need doesn’t get help fixing their car.

16. God is an exciting God, and we should be excited about worshiping Him. I don’t understand how some Christians can say they love God, and then act like they’re going to a funeral whenever they walk into church.

17. The most difficult times in my faith are when I can’t feel God’s presence within me.

18. I get frustrated when the church focuses too much on feelings and spiritual experience. Of far more importance is the need to understand the Christian faith and to have proper doctrine.

19. I would rather worship God by spending an hour beside a small brook than by participating in a group service.

20. I’d have a difficult time worshiping in a church building that is plain and lacks a sense of awe or majesty. Beauty is very important to me, and I have a difficult time worshiping through second-rate Christian art or music.

21. The words tradition and history are very appealing to me.

22. The terms courageous confrontation and social activism are very appealing to me.

23. The words silence, solitude and discipline are very appealing to me.

24. The words service and compassion are very appealing to me.

25. The words celebration and joy are very appealing to me.

26. The words lover, intimacy and heart are very appealing to me.

  1. The words concepts and truth are very appealing to me.
  2. If I could escape to a garden to pray on a cold day, walk though a meadow on a warm day and take a trip by myself to the mountains on another day, I would be very happy.

29. The words sensuous, colorful and aromatic are very appealing to me.

30. Participating in a formal liturgy or “prayer book” service, developing symbols that I can place in my car, home or office, and developing a Christian calendar for our family to follow are activities I would enjoy.

31. Activities such as confronting a social evil, attending a meeting of the local school board to challenge the new curriculum and volunteering on a political campaign are important to me.

32. Taking an overnight retreat by myself at a monastery where I could spend large amounts of time alone in a small room, praying, studying God’s Word and fasting for one or more days are all activities I would enjoy.

33. I sense God’s power when I am counseling a friend who has lost a job, preparing meals for or fixing the car of a family in need, or spending a week at an orphanage in Mexico.

34. I would enjoy attending a workshop on learning to worship through dance or a worship session with contemporary music. I expect that God is going to move in some unexpected ways.

35. I really enjoy having 30 minutes of uninterrupted time each day to sit in quiet prayer and “hold hands” with God, writing love letters to Him and enjoying His presence.

36. I feel close to God when I participate in several hours of uninterrupted study time — reading God’s Word or good Christian books and then perhaps having an opportunity to teach or participate in a discussion with a small group.

37. A book called Nature’s Sanctuaries: A Picture Book would be appealing to me.

38. I’m naturally drawn to museums and concerts more than I’m inclined to take a walk in the woods, work in a soup kitchen or read a book by myself.

39. A book titled Symbolism and Liturgy in Personal Worship would be appealing to me.

40. The book written by Franky Shaeffer, A Time for Anger (or a book like it), would be an important book for me to read.

41. I would enjoy reading the book A Place Apart: Monastic Prayer and Practice for Everyone.

42. A book titled 99 Ways to Help Your Neighbor would be very appealing to me.

43. I would enjoy reading the book The Mystery and Excitement of Walking With God.

44. I would enjoy reading The Transforming Friendship.

45. A book on church dogmatics would be appealing to me.

46. Seeing God’s beauty in nature is more moving to me than understanding new concepts, participating in a formal religious service or participating in social causes.

47. I would really enjoy drawing exercises or classical music playing in the background to improve my prayer life.

48. I would really enjoy developing a personal rule (or ritual) of prayer.

49. I would rather stand in the rain for an hour to confront an evil than sit in a room by myself for an hour and pray, take a walk through the woods or spend an hour reading a book.

50. I would really enjoy spending time on a night watch, taking a short vow of silence or simplifying my life.

51. I would rather nurse someone to health or help someone repair someone’s house than teach an adult Sunday school class, go on a prayer and fasting retreat or take a lonely walk in the woods.

52. I spend more money on music and worship downloads than on books.

53. When I think of God, I think of love, friendship and adoration more than anything.

54. I spend more money on books than music.