08.08.2019

I am number one?

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When I first encountered the Ennegram eight years ago, I was told that I was probably a type two, the helper.  This made sense as I like to help people and I cared a lot about what people thought of me.  My type was confirmed six years ago when I took my first Enneagram profiling test.  And confirmed again three years ago when I took the test once more and had a week of Enneagram training.  In fact, every time I have ever taken any Enneagram test the results have indicated I was a type two.  So, I, naturally, thought I was a type two, and I have applied myself to spiritual and psychological growth through the Enneagram with that understanding.

But, in recent years, as I learned about myself and the different Enneagram types, I began to have some inklings of doubt.  The first was learning about the Enneagram instincts.  The instincts connect with the Enneagram types to produce subtypes, but I didn’t really seem to fit any type two subtypes.  Plus, my daily Enneathoughts - https://subscriptions.enneagraminstitute.com/subscribers/create – were fairly hit and miss.  While I certainly had, and have, plenty of issues, I didn’t seem to have some of the key issues of most Enneagram twos.

Yet, I was still settled on my type.  I know that nobody fits all of the descriptions for a type, and I assumed I was an outlier, but still a type two.  However, the more I grew in self-awareness, the more the doubts and questions continued. 

This last fall I received an email from a friend who heads up a spiritual direction training course.  This article - https://www.equip.org/article/tell-me-who-i-am-o-enneagram/ - had been passed on to him by a student in his course, and he wondered if I had "any kind of solid biblical/theological response to this."  

Here is my response.

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I don’t like this article because it picks ideas, history, and events that are sure to alarm many Christians, but are not necessarily part of what a person will receive in teaching about the Enneagram.  Given the whole of Christendom to choose from, it would not take long to assemble a similar group of objectionable facts and ideas about Christian leaders and teachings.  As in Christianity, with the Enneagram not everyone believes and teaches the same, you cannot paint every Enneagram teacher and teaching with the same brush, nor can you make the teaching itself responsible for people’s abuses and misuse of it.  However, this article identifies three areas where the author takes exception to the Enneagram-- its origins, its theology, and scientific support – which are also identified in other articles.  I’ve been doing some thinking and writing on these lately, so here are some thoughts for these three areas.

As I am a Christian, and I have been a pastor and leader in a number of churches, some friends who know that I teach about the Enneagram asked me to share my take on the Enneagram and Christianity.

You may or may not be aware that some Christian leaders have written articles against the Enneagram, discouraging their Christian readers from following Enneagram teaching.  Here are a few articles along that line

(Image by Julie Drew)

I’ve been trying to decide how to present the journey that led me to invest so much in learning and teaching the Enneagram, and I finally realized that the old adage, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” probably describes it best.  This makes the point that the Enneagram isn’t necessarily for everyone at every time in their lives, which was certainly true for me.  I think of times in my life when the Enneagram symbol alone would have turned me off and other times when I was just too busy to bother with it.   And the idea of being “ready” prompts me to consider what had changed in me and the ways in which I was ready for this new teacher.

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