The dictionary defines ‘personality’ this way: “The combination of characteristics or qualities that form a person’s distinctive character.”
In a sense, it becomes incumbent upon Father Dino Sinos to capture and celebrate the exclusivity of his personality. Why? Because, according to the classic Myers-Briggs personality test he took, the priest breathes rarified, spiritually scented oxygen juxtaposed with Denver’s reputation as the Mile High City.
The 46-year-old associate pastor at St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in suburban Greenwood Village learned that of the 16 personality types that make up the classification, his is the most unique. The findings place him in a category inhabited by just 1.5% of the population – two out of 200 people. Others who famously share that identification include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and singer Lady Gaga.
Father Dino’s personality rating thrusts him into a grouping where members are focused on “meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. They seek to understand what drives people and are insightful about others. They are conscientious and committed to their firm values.”
The test, developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs, was inspired by the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of personality types, strengths, and preferences. Isabel Myers took special interest in the concept of introversion, which was what she learned she was: idealistic, loyal to their values, a potential catalyst for implanting ideas, adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.
The 93-question, multiple-choice test, asks questions such as a) I keep my thoughts to myself or b) I speak up. And a) I like to cooperate. Or b) I like to compete.
Regardless of how much credence people put in the test – and it has worldwide following – Father Dino emphasizes the test is merely a snapshot. “There’s a lot of mystery to people,” he maintains, particularly introverts. He highly recommends the bestselling book ‘Quiet’, where author Susan Hart asserts that society deeply undervalues introverts to its detriment. “I’m not an expert,” he continues. I’m just a student. It just is,” he says, a summoning, a soothing inner core.
In addition to the Extraversion/Introversion scales, The Myers-Briggs system is composed of three other preference pairs that reflect different aspects of personality, focusing on how energy and information is directed and received: Sensing or Intuition; Thinking or Feeling; Judging or Perceiving.
According to information provided by the California-based company, “most people find that one preference, in a preference pair, best described their natural way of doing things, where they feel the most comfortable being themselves, outside of any roles they play in life.”
Blessed with a calm, likable essence as soothing as a cup of lavender tea on a frigid Rocky Mountain morning, Father Dino is energized by his position as a spiritual leader. It’s the same interior fuel he burned growing up playing drums in a rock band in his native Omaha, Nebraska. (His father is a familiar face in ‘Tas Zorbas’, a popular Omaha Greek band.)
“I always felt I didn’t quite fit in,” he says, smiling. “I was a teenager not into the mainstream experience.” He dismisses the stubborn image of rock musicians dabbling in drugs and other temptations. As a student at Creighton Preparatory School, a Jesuit facility in Omaha, the friends in his circle didn’t limit their fascination to music.
They would ponder other subjects beyond music such as literature and creative writing. He compared his adolescent lifestyle to ‘The Breakfast Club’. The 1985 film is a coming-of-age comedy-drama where five students from different groups spend a Saturday in detention.
At the same time, Father Dino knows those public moments he draws such deep joy from must be closely measured.
“The Lord’s given me comfort in public speaking,” he says. “I enjoyed doing that on stage when I played music.
“Extroverts get totally rejuvenated from crowds of people,” he says. “I need time alone.” Without sufficient time to retreat, to meditate and re-energize body and soul, people like him “will go batty!”
The Myers-Briggs findings kick in when Father Dino and wife Rachel engage in decision making. “We’ll pause and say `let’s look at all the angles.’ If there’s no urgency, I won’t have an epiphany about something until days or weeks later.”
Father Dino, who holds a degree in English and creative writing, attended law school for a year. But upon hearing the call to serve God in fulltime ministry, he answered it. After receiving his Master of Divinity degree in 2005, he spent a year in a clinical pastoral education residency as a hospital chaplain. He was ordained in 2007, and when he’s not doing work in the parish, he says he loves thinking, reading, writing, fishing, learning, and composing original music.
His parting counsel overflows with the reach, the conviction, and clarity of an ancient olive tree: “Accent our different temperaments. Accent the different gifts the Lords sends us.”