I was introduced to John Mark Comer maybe a year or so ago through his podcast with Mark Sayers, This Cultural Moment. My sense is that Comer and Sayers really have their finger on the “cultural moment” we currently find ourselves in as citizens of the Western, and American, setting. Western Europe is already there, and has been for a long time. Some major urban metropolitan areas of the US are also. But more and more, we are emerging as a postmodern, post-Christian context in America, though places like the Bible Belt where I reside are white-knuckling to hold on to a “Christianized” past. Their podcast has been so good that I now have my students listen to it in courses related to mission and ministry.
With that, not too long ago, I picked up John Mark Comer’s recent book Live No Lies. He also has a podcast connected to the book as well.
The focus of the book is how to properly recognize and resist the three enemies of the soul – the world, the flesh, and the devil. I know, I know. Sounds fundamentalist, doesn’t it. Preaching against those wicked enemies.
The Enneagram is the personality fad of today. It’s everywhere, and especially within Christian circles. Some love it; some roll their eyes at it; and some still may not know what it is.
I have been personally studying the Enneagram for the past three and a half years and believe it to be a unique personality typing system. Of course, there are many other personal and professional typing methods available—Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder, and DiSC profile, to name a few. Still, I’ve not yet found a tool as helpful in understanding not just the what or how of one’s personality, but also the why. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the motivation behind why we live and view life the way we do. This creates a helpful framework of understanding self, as well as understanding others. I’ve found it so unique that I have made it part of the curriculum in a leadership class I teach.
One book that I have recently revisited is Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram, by the Calhoun’s and Loughrige’s. Alongside Chris Heuertz’s The Sacred Enneagram, it is one of my favorite’s thus far. I particularly enjoy the emphasis of utilizing the Enneagram for spiritual formation. Not that the Enneagram is some intrinsically Christian tool. But it is a tool nonetheless, one that I believe can help with understanding self – how one was created, what pains (and trauma) we are dealing with, all in order to connect with our loving Creator and find wholeness.
This year I spent some time reading Henri Nouwen’s Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith. I am more and more drawn to Nouwen’s writings and I am particularly interested in thoughts on spiritual formation and direction. Thus, this work was an important part of my journey.
In the book, there is a very interesting chapter entitled “Who Is God For Me?” And, while Nouwen addresses some more well-known aspects such as “God Is with Us” and “God Is Personal,” he also offers insights on a not-so-talked-about characteristic: “God Is Hidden.”
I have been studying and teaching on the Enneagram for the past three and a half years. For me, it is a unique personality typing system. It’s also extremely fashionable these days, especially in the Christian church, I understand that—which can allow for it to be disparaged by some. Of course, there are many other personal and professional typing methods available—Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder, and DiSC profile, to name a few. Still, I’ve not yet found a tool as helpful in understanding not just the what or how of one’s personality, but also the why. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the motivation behind why we live and view life the way we do.
With this in mind, I was grateful to receive a review copy of A.J. Sherrill’s new work, The Enneagram for Spiritual Formation. Sherrill is formerly pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but has now moved into Enneagram and spiritual formation coaching. I am grateful to Brazos/Baker for a review copy.
This morning, as I sat quietly in my office—meditative music in the background, journal open, pen in hand—I began to feel the weight of so much. Continue reading