Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Enneagram Part 4

After my diversion into the Enneagram for Hummingbird last week, I want to get back to the application for the people of God.  Again I am drawing primarily on the work of Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert — The Enneagram, A Christian Perspective. 

As I noted previously, I believe the strength of the Enneagram compared to the Myers Briggs Typology is the possibility of redemption which it offers.  As much as both systems are valuable for understanding ourselves and our world, what do we do once we have developed more fully that understanding?  Rohr and Ebert speak of root sins which accompany each type.  It is not all that popular to speak of sin in many circles today but I believe that is because of the moral implications which are attached to it.  Either people disregard sin entirely in the reductionist world of scientific atheism a la Richard Dawkins et al or believe that we should not call a spade a spade in the religious sphere and avoid looking at the log in their own eyes and rather condemn the speck in those terrible people across the street or the country or the other side of the world.  

Rohr/Ebert define sin as, “our primary emotional compulsion or mistaken attitudes.”  This perhaps is a little too much psychologizing but they define it further as ‘a separation or failure to reach a goal’ which is, to my mind’ more to the point.  Sin for me is primarily those things which separate us from God — as has been said elsewhere.  It can be moral sins but it can be in any aspect of life.  Much of sin is because of ego-based desire which puts ourselves ahead of God and God’s creation.  As Rohr/Ebert note the sins “promise advancement in life, but in reality they produce just what they are trying to prevent; loneliness, absurdity, emptiness”.  In effect it promises the world at the cost of our souls.  This mistaken attitude is the ‘false self’ which is Ego driven.  Rohr/Ebert identify a root sin for each type — these are based on the ‘seven deadly sins’ plus two additional ones — fear and deceit:

Type one — anger 
Type six— fear
Type two — pride
Type seven — intemperance (gluttony)
Type three — untruth (deceit)
Type eight — shamelessness (lust)
Type four — envy
Type nine — laziness
Type five — Avarice

Being a (I hope partially) redeemed nine I can certainly identify with the root sin of nines.  I find it very easy to avoid undertaking what I want to accomplish — such as writing this.  I also find it easy to fall into the couch potato mode of operating. 

The first step in redemption is to accept ourselves.  As Rohr/Ebert note God loves us unconditionally including our dark side which we want desperately to hide form the world and as much as possible form ourselves — ultimately without success.  Those aspect of ourselves which we do not acknowledge (our shadow in Jungian terms) come back when we least expect it to bite us in the backside.  The Enneagram is not a source of redemption.  The source of redemption is from the false self is a gift of God’s grace. 

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