About 15 years I was first exposed to the spiritual tool/diagnostic known as the “enneagram” and found it somewhat interesting, but the exposure was so minimal that I did not really do anything with it. But it introduced or reinforced the notion of core sin patterns that different profiles of people live out.
This summer I listened to a seminar on the enneagram and interacted with a couple people that had been exploring it as well so I’ve been exploring it further and learning about what it is, where it came from, what it entails, and the scope and limits of its application.
The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey To Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile was a recommended book to get an overview. From what it sounds like it’s a good overview and more humor involved than most of the overviews and books that are emerging out there.
I am not going to unpack what it is – only that I know there’s plenty of watchdogs that look to shred the use of anything that remotely facilitates contemplation in the spiritual life and assert it’s all new age or the demonic. For years I actually thought the enneagram was the scientology tool so didn’t rush to learn more about it. That is something else.
I am interested in it because I’m always looking for things that help surface self-awareness and guide people into root heart idolatry or heart sin that drives a lot of behavior but that goes unnoticed without intentional reflection or courageous community. From what I’ve explored thus far, this is a really helpful tool toward that end – rooting out the false self in its many different expressions and guiding to a deeper surrender to Jesus at the innermost level that can result in an authentic and free worship of God as an image bearer of God.
I have an idea of where I fall in this, but it’s not crystal clear yet. Two of the nine profiles look pretty familiar to me and resonate fairly deeply to my core. But I have been impressed as a basic knowledge of the profiles has already helped me re-assess how I approach certain relationships of mine and how to handle tricky leadership development moments.
Like all tools, it’s not something that should be used to label or take an expert position. It should result in humility and compassion and I think this really helps facilitate greater orientation to truth and increased grace towards others. There are other books that unpack things with more spiritual depth, but this was a comfortable and easy read for an overview and introduction.
It’s worth saying that not all uses of the enneagram are grounded and integrated in Biblical truth and foundations. It’s origins are quite ancient and it’s been appropriated in different ways, but in its raw origins from what I understand, it was the source of what became known as the seven deadly sins.
Anyway – I’ll be reading a few more books on this because as one who is invested daily and weekly in Biblically rooted spiritual and leadership development and formation, there’s a lot of insight and wisdom to be gained here.