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.”
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
Just this week I finished reading Friend of the Soul: A Benedictine Spirituality of Work by Norvene Vest. Vest is a spiritual director and author who focuses much of her work on Benedictine spirituality. I was looking for some more resources around vocation and calling as I develop a new course called The Religious Dimension of Work, so this work was recommended to me by Chris Smith of the Englewood Review of Books.
Who is this friend referred to in the book’s title? It is work. Through the Rule of St. Benedict, Vest offers that work is to be our friend, a friend of the soul. For me, this was a beautiful, fresh insight!
Not that I don’t already know that work is good and all work of all types can be done to the glory of God. But seeing work as our friend calls us to see it as something very personal, very intimate. Even more, rather than seeing work as something we simply deal with or, worse yet, despise, I have come to better appreciate work as our companion of the soul. Continue reading