« Duluth Playhouse Promo | Main | Butter that Makes You Laugh Out Loud! »

The Chaotic Good Preacher

alignment chartAs a rule, I enjoy taxonomies, typologies, personality inventories, and the ilk. I've been Meyers Briggsed, Strong Campbelled, Corinne Wared, Gallup Strengths Findered, Enneagrammed, and the list goes on.

But, honestly, I'm not sure any of them are much better or worse than the good old D&D alignment matrix. In old school D&D you choose an alignment to describe the ethos of your character. You can, on one axis, be Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic in relationship to your adherence to authority, and on the other axis be Good, Neutral, or Evil in what, in game terms, boils down to your own sense of altruism. In D&D terms, Evil characters are always out for self enrichment and use other people to achieve their own ends.

When applied to real life the alignment grid becomes very interesting. As a pastor in a major, mainline denomination (perhaps two of them) you might predict that I'd be Lawful Good, seeking to maintain social order and promote the common good. It's the classic Paladin alignment after all. But, actually, in testing and in practice, I'm Chaotic Good, and not accidentally so.

I'm fairly suspicious of institutions, whether governmental or ecclesiastical, and not that I doubt the good intentions of the leadership, though sometimes I do. Moreso I question the overall efficacy of such institutions and their ability to really do anything of worth. The bigger the institution, the more out of touch it is. And that's not just my experience, it's my theological reasoning as well. A key biblical text for me in this regard is 1 Samuel 8 which describes what a king does to his people.

Also, I'm just suspicious of moral frameworks in general. After all the fall was caused not by eating an apple, but eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Morality is a curse in the context of Genesis 3 and one could argue that the rest of the Bible is dealing with that curse.

So, I'm a Chaotic Good Preacher. I believe that Good is best expressed in individual actions of compassion and justice and not in institutional expressions of the same. Sometimes the system works, sure, but even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile.

Practically this means I preach about grace and joy found in concrete expressions of individual's life and charity found in the life of the community. As a leader I try to be sure that my institution for which I'm paradoxically responsible is a permission giving body that tries to chart a course for the body, and then pretty much stays out of the way, giving resources and support, rather than micromanaging. In other words, I try never to let the rules stand in the way of a good idea.


I like this; it makes a lot of sense. Shouldn't the rules come from the Bible, and the individual's knowledge of it, and relationship w/God, and not from an institution?

It also means you can wear Iron Manacles, which go so well with your eyes.


I am with the ask for forgiveness instead of permission crowd sometimes. However, I know there has to be rules to have some type of order in society. Moreover, you must have faith that others will abide by these rules. There after if one does not abide by rules there needs to be a reaction.
I by no means think that big government is good. I just feel that without standards “rules” the society we live in would be in such a state of chaos that I, nor my family, would be able to function.
It goes back to Simon and changing the green light to mean stop and the red light to mean go. If he decided to make this life change then “we” would have to take issue with him.
So, before we get all chaotic out there, let us make sure of the reasons and if the reaction is worth the rebellion then by all means.
Oh, I am generally Neutral Good, but when I play a thief all bets are off. Hehe

This is fascinating.

I find myself wondering, though...can one give the appearance of "chaotic good" where one is really just "lawful good" but following a set of laws other than the one supported by the larger society in which one lives?

(Bearing in mind that I don't know you from Adam, of course) If the Reign of God is already-but-not-yet...I'm wondering if maybe you ARE Lawful Good from the POV of the Reign of God but Chaotic Good from the POV of the 21st century world?

(Sorry, I love throwing this stuff around, feel free to ignore me! :-)

--Jenn, INFP Enneagram 5 basically Neutral Good :-)

Post a comment