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Rohr Ebert the Enneagram a Christian Persepective Condensed 1

Rohr Ebert the Enneagram a Christian Persepective Condensed 1

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07/26/2013

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THE ENNEAGRAM: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
 
by Richard Rohr & A. Ebert
(Excerpts)
Preface: A Mirror Of The Soul
(Andreas Ebert)
I see a danger of a typological model like the Enneagram being misused to thoughtlessly force oneself andothers into a schematic mold, and thereby
not 
grow, but become fossilized. When misused, the Enneagram can bemore of a curse than a blessing.Self-knowledge is tied in with inner work, which is both demanding and painful. change occurs amid birth pangs. It takes courage to walk such a path. Many avoid the path of self-knowledge because they are afraid of  being swallowed up in their own abysses. But Christians have confidence that Christ has lived through all theabysses of human life and that he goes with us when we dare to engage in sincere confrontation with ourselves.Because God loves us unconditionally—along with our dark sides—we don‘t need to dodge ourselves. In thelight of this love the pain of self-knowledge can be at the same time the beginning of our healing.”The ego would be glad to have something, and would be glad to know something and to will something. Untilthis threefold 'something' dies in us, we have a wretched time of it.” (Johannes Tauler, German mystic)As a mirror of the soul the Enneagram is not the answer, but one signpost among many. Signposts show theway, but we have to take the way ourselves.Our knowledge, as Paul says (1.Cor.13), remains
 partial” all our lives. Until God perfects us and the world, itis advisable to realize and do what can be realized and done – and leave the rest to God.
Discernment: How to See, How to Hear (
 Richard Rohr)
The vast majority of Christian ministry has been concerned with ”churching” people into symbolic, restful, andusually ethnic belonging systems rather than any real spiritual transformation into the mystery of God.Religious people are even harder to transform because they don‘t think they need it. They are ”Catholics”! I findmuch more openness and response at the county jail than among the typical group of churchgoers. Theincarcerated know that the separate self has not served them well. One wonders if this typical religious in-transigence is not what Jesus is referring to by ”the sin against the Holy Spirit.”Much of what is called Christianity has more to do with disguising the ego behind the screen of religion andculture than any real movement toward a God beyond the small self, and a new self in God.Much of the present attraction to other religions is quite simply because Christianity
has not succeeded in naming the real evils well 
that are destroying Western society.We cannot be quiet about this any longer to protect the institution. Nor was Jesus:‘You blind guides, you strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!” Matt. 23:24).”The great tragedy of our age is the fact, if one may dare to say it, that there are so many godless Christians— Christians, that is, whose religion is a matter of pure conformism and expediency. Their ”faith” is little morethan a permanent evasion of reality—a compromise with life. In order to avoid admitting the uncomfortabletruth that they no longer have any real need for God or any vital faith in Him, they conform to the outwardconduct of others like themselves. And these ”believers” cling together, offering one another an apparent justification for lives that are essentially the same as the lives of their materialistic neighbors whose horizonsare purely those of the world and its transient values.
(Thomas Merton,
The Living Bread 
)The Enneagram is forcing many of us to
a
 brutal and converting honesty about good and evil and the ways thatwe hide from ourselves and therefore hide from God. It tries to address this ”compromise with life” and this”evasion of reality” that the ego is so invested in and that religion often promotes. Another contemporary seer,Ken Wilbur, says that the vast majority of religion is ”translative” rather than transformative. It is concerned with bolstering up the separate self with meanings, rituals, moralities, and group conformity rather than ”dismantling”
 
the separate self so it can fall into the Great Self of God. We have had far 
too
much priesthood and almost noroom for prophets.The church, strange as it seems has always been a bit uncomfortable with saints and mystics; it is content just tohave people ”in the pews.” Let‘s be honest, we would sooner have control than real conversion; we would sooner have well-oiled church societies than transformed people. Cosmetic piety takes away our anxiety about God andabout ourselves, but it does not address the real and subtle ways that we ”lose our soul.”When religion is the conscience of society instead of its lapdog, culture is also healthy. If our culture has be-come soft and superficial, it is because religion did first with regard to those,
oh, so subtle ways in which people slowly stop seeing, loving, trusting, and surrendering.
It seems that human beings cannot see what they are not
readied 
to see. We cannot hear what we have not been
 prepared 
to hear. The ”obvious” seems to have little correlation with our acceptance of it. We have an amazingcapacity for missing the point. ”The issue is hardly ever the issue.”Religion has always distinguished education from transformation. Being informed is different from being formed,and the first is a common substitute for the second. Supreme Court justices, shops, and heads of state are ofteninformed with facts but not formed anew. They often have correct data, but not a new viewpoint or a new self.They read the situation ”correctly,” but somehow it is all wrong and we know it. But we can‘t prove it—toourselves or to them. This is the powerlessness of saints and geniuses.All knowing of truth can happen only inside a previous ”tacit knowing”
that
is silent, unconscious, andunspoken. Text is always untrue or at least incomplete outside of context. We are all partial knowers; allverbalizations are led with biography, preference, genius, and past hurts. This leads us to a necessary humility. Itseems we mustsomehow
 
”kneel” to hear and see correctly. The great geniuses had an ability ”to dwell inside of things” that wasmore art than science, more poetry than prose, more spirit than rational control of the data. And more letting gothan holding on.Geniuses, saints, inventors, discoverers, prophets, all truly creative people somehow have the ”feel” for their areaof giftedness. And it is almost impossible for them to know how they get that ”feel.” That‘s why they themselvesknow it is a gift. Some people say all the right words, but they still don‘t have it. You can be a perfect technician but create nothing. You can be a priest or bishop without having led a single person to God.
Only those who love rightly see rightly!
Text plus full context equals genius. Only the true believer can trust that larger context: reality..., the world..., it isall going somewhere.Eric Hoffer, the street philosopher, put it this way: ”In times of great change [which is always], learners inheritthe earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.” Faith itself,like the discernment of spirits, is actually a way to keep us learning, growing, and being transformed into God— not just a security blanket of doctrinal statements and moral principles.If we are unwilling to live askew for a while, to be set off balance, to wait on the ever spacious threshold, weremain in the same old room for all our lives. If we will not balance knowing with a kind of open ended
not knowing—nothing 
new seems to happen. Thus it is called ”faith” and demands living with a certain degree of anxiety and holding a very real amount of tension.S
uffering 
and
 prayer...
These two golden paths lead to a different shape of meaning, a different sized universe,a different set of securities and goals.The practice of prayer we can choose to do ourselves; the suffering is done to us. But we have to be ready tolearn from it when it happens and not waste time looking for someone to blame for our unnecessary suffering.”It is the things that you cannot do anything
about 
and the things that you cannot do anything
with
that dosomething with you.” When the first disciples of Jesus wanted to make the whole process into right rituals andright roles, and by implication right belief systems (common to all religion), Jesus told them, ”You do not knowwhat you are asking. Until you drink of the cup that I must drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I will beimmersed in” (Mark 10:38), you basically do not know what I am talking about. You have nothing to say. It is notthat we have a message and then suffer for it. It is much more the opposite: We suffer, come through it
 
transformed, and then we have a message!As Paul made so clear both in his letters to the Romans and to the Galatians, law can give you correctinformation, but only God‘s Spirit of love can transform you. It must have been a pretty important point to spendtwo letters of the New Testament in making it.As Peter Dumitriu so perfectly said, ”Jesus is always on the side of the crucified ones, and I believe he changessides in the twinkling of an eye. He is not loyal to the person, or even less the group; Jesus is loyal to suffering.”The Enneagram does not disguise the pain, the major surgery, or the price of enlightenment. By forcing us to faceour own darkness, it soon leads us to address that same darkness as it shows itself in culture, oppression,injustice, and human degradation.But the sound of the Indwelling Voice, which many of us call the Holy Spirit, will invariably sound different,unpredictable, scarily new, and often with unexpected demands. To hear this Voice often feels like an obedienceto another 
(obedio,
to give ear 
).
If we are not trained in responding to others, if we are trapped inside of our owncontrol issues, we will seldom be able to hear this Voice.So how do we try to hear this Deeper Voice? When God speaks, it is fi
rst 
of all profoundly consoling and,
as aresult,
demanding! Ideas inform us, but love forms us—in an intrinsic and lasting way. God is always willing towait for the lasting transformations brought about by love.We are hoping to teach activists and doers this very important work of ”discernment of spirits,” which is teachingon how to see and how to hear, how to subtly discern the patterns of good and evil.Our seeing and our hearing need to include, forgive, & reconcile what the rest of the world rejects, dismisses, and punishes.God saves humanity not by punishing it but by restoring it! We overcome our evil not by a frontal and heroicattack, but by a humble letting go that always first feels like losing. Christianity is probably the only religion inthe world that teaches us, from the very cross, how to win by losing.The global issues of injustice, the culture of death that we are a part of, the sufferings of the oppressed, all of these demand that we bring the Voice of the Spirit to these well-denied and disguised situations, and not just our own tiny judgments or anger. This is the difference between true Gospel and mere political correctness. Napoleonis supposed to have said, ”We men of power merely rearrange the world, but it is only people of the Spirit whoreally change it.”The Spirit of truth itself, will always set you free, but first it will make you miserable! So don‘t bail out in themiserable stage, as many fearful church people do. Wait for the truth and freedom stage. As Mark‘s Gospel sowell puts it, first the ”wild beasts” and only then ”the angels” (Mark 1:13).
Part I - THE SLEEPING GIANT
 A DYNAMIC TYPOLOGY 
The Enneagram is a very old map. Like other typologies, it describes different character types. But that is onlythe beginning. Beyond the description of conditions, the Enneagram contains an inner dynamic that aims atchange. It demands a lot and is exhausting, at least when it is taught and carried out as originally intended. It isconcerned with change and making a turnaround, with what the religious traditions call conversion or repentance.It confronts us with compulsions and laws under which we live—usually without being aware of it—and it aimsto invite us to go beyond them, to take steps into the domain of freedom.The starting point of the Enneagram is the blind alleys into which we stumble in our attempt to protect our lifefrom internal and external threats. The person, as created by God, is according to the Bible very good (Gen. 2:31).This human essence (one‘s ”true self”) is exposed to the assault of threatening forces even during pregnancy andat the latest from the moment of birth. The Christian doctrine of original sin points to this psychological fact byemphasizing that there actually is no undamaged, free, and ”very good” person at any point of an individual’sexistence. We are from the outset exposed to destructive powers and hence in need of redemption. Even thegenetic material of which we are composed already contains programming that helps to shape our way of being

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