Questions for Further Study
Here is a link to “The Greatest Temptation of All” – Part 1 of Me, Myself and Why. If you are gathering with friends or family, share this link, and toss out one or two of these questions for discussion…
- I gave a very basic one-sentence description of each Enneagram type. Did any of them sound familiar to you? If so, which one? And why?
- I described three “centers of intelligence,” or three basic ways we seem to view and do our lives—from the heart (twos/threes/fours), from the head (fives/sixes/sevens), and from the gut (eights/nines/ones). Which of the three “triads” do you sense may be your primary way to enter into the world?
- I suggested that every Enneagram type has a kind of “superpower” that serves some need in the world. But I also said that each superpower comes with its own “kryptonite” that can cripple us if we are not attentive to it. What does that mean to you? Where have you seen this to be true?
- In looking at the temptations of Jesus, Henri Nowen has suggested that His greatest temptation is ours as well: forgetting who we were made to be! Do you agree? Why or why not?
- In my message I connected each of the three temptations of Jesus to one of the three Enneagram triads.
- For example: Stones to bread=Head Triad (unconscious motivation of fear/scarcity);
- Nations bowing down=Gut Triad (unconscious motivation of anger/need for control);
- Jumping from temple=Heart Triad (unconscious motivation of shame/need to project image).
How does this observation impact your hearing of Hebrews 4:15?(For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.)
Here is a link to “Twos” – Part 2 of Me, Myself and Why. If you are gathering with friends or family, share this link, and toss out one or two of these questions for discussion…
- Based on Suzanne’s description of Enneagram Twos, what individuals in your life come to mind? What do they do to make you think they may be a Two?
- Twos tend to be experts at recognizing and meeting the needs of those around them, often at the expense of recognizing their own needs. Sounds selfless and noble, right? But how could this trait actually create more problems for Twos and others in their lives?
- Of all the Biblical characters who might demonstrate “Two behavior,” I suggested Martha was a prime example. She was “worried and distracted” with what she thought was worthy and needed work—even at the expense of tending to her own need to “choose the better thing,” as Mary did. Question: How can “humble service” sometimes masquerade as pride?
- In reflecting on the story of Martha, Suzanne said, “Sometimes we can think we are serving the Lord when actually we aren’t.” What do you think about that statement? How does this truth play out in your own life?
- The wounding message that Twos carry within is “It’s not ok to have your own needs.”
The healing message Twos need to hear is “You are wanted.”
Do you have any Twos in your life? How might you offer them the gift of hearing the healing message that they are wanted–regardless of what they can DO for others?
Here is a link to “Threes” – Part 3 of Me, Myself and Why. If you are gathering with friends or family, share this link, and toss out one or two of these questions for discussion…
- 1. On the Enneagram, Threes are known as The Achievers. They are highly capable and competent. They set goals and achieve them. They climb to the top of whatever ladder is in front of them. They are driven to succeed at whatever task they tackle. Who does this sound like in your life?
2. While the superpower of a Three is this drive to succeed, this super power comes with a “kryptonite” that can cripple them. The Kryptonite is the “deadly sin” of deceit. Not that Threes are necessarily liars…but rather, they are so good at “shape-shifting” and positioning themselves in order to win, they often deceive themselves about who they really are and what they really feel. Question: If gone unchecked, what impact would this pattern have on a Three?
3. The Biblical character we studied on Sunday was the “Rich, Young, Ruler.” He runs up to Jesus and asks the ultimate Three-question: “What must I do…” In the sermon, I said, “Threes may have the hardest time of all remembering that we were created to be human BEINGS, and not just human DOINGS.” Why is this a struggle for Threes?
4. We usually relate this Biblical story to wealth or materialism. But what if it’s not? Jesus told him the one thing he lacks is to sell it all…to rid himself of all trophies and evidences of his success. We are told he then walks away sad. Looking at this story through the lens of the Enneagram, how do you read this part of the story?
5. The wounding message that Threes carry within is ” It’s not okay to have your own feelings and your own identity.” The healing message Threes need to hear is “You are loved for yourself (for who you are and not for what you do).” Do you have any Threes in your life? How might you offer them the gift of hearing the healing message that they are loved for WHO they are, and not what they do?
Here is a link to “Fours” – Part 4 of Me, Myself and Why. If you are gathering with friends or family, share this link, and toss out one or two of these questions for discussion…
- On the Enneagram, the Four is known as “The Individualist” or “The Romantic.” These folks are drawn to the dramatic/creative/expressive in life. They pride themselves in being unique. They are capable (and comfortable) with the full range of human emotion. Their highs are high, and their lows are low. And they make the world better by knowing how to see and embrace both the beautiful and the tragic in life. Does this sound like anyone you know? Who? And Why?
- While the superpower of a Four is to embrace the full range of human emotion, and to “feel” deeply, this super power comes with a “kryptonite” that can cripple them. The Kryptonite is the “deadly sin” of envy. Fours can carry a deep belief that they are missing something that others have. They struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out). This can cause them to get “stuck” in their emotions, and never fully experience the joy of the present.
Question: If gone unchecked, what impact would this pattern have on a Four?
- The Biblical character we studied on Sunday was “King Saul.” Though there were none like him in all the land, he slips into a deep despair when “better” songs were written about young David. In the sermon I said that fours can be “vexed by other peoples’ songs.”
What did I mean by that? In what ways have you struggled with envy over someone else’s blessings? In what way have you ever been “vexed by other peoples’ songs?”
- The wounding message that Fours carry within is: It’s not ok to be too functional or happy. (Because they believe the world is too complicated to be happy. Something is going to go wrong sooner or later.) Question: Have you ever struggled to be truly happy with the present, out of fear that the happiness will soon “run out?” How might a person with this struggle learn to release such a fear?
- The healing message for Fours is: You are seen for who you are. In my interview with Jackson, he said there is a difference between “I love you for who you are.” and “I love WHO you are.” What did he mean? Do you agree? How can someone learn to see behind another’s persona, to love WHO they are? What would that look like in your own life?
You were born because God thought you were a good idea.
You–with all your strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and idiosyncrasies.
You were fearfully and wonderfully made—in the holy image of God.
(And, for what it’s worth–you still are.)
Live long enough, however, and you begin to wonder.
If I am so fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s own image, then why do I do the things I do?
Why do I keep falling into the same traps, repeating the same self-defeating patterns of behavior?
When asked what was the greatest of all commandments, Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
But what do you do when engrained patterns of behavior get in the way of even your best efforts to love God, love others, or even love yourself?
For millions of Christians throughout the ages, one powerful tool in understanding our own behaviors and hidden motivations is the study of the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system–but it is far more than that.
It is a lens through which to observe your own life, and in the light of nonjudgmental self-observation, recognize the engrained patterns that keep us from living freely and loving fully, as God intended.
For this pastor, I can say with confidence that no other resource outside sacred scripture has been as fruitful in my own spiritual journey with Christ and in my personal relationships with family and friends as the Enneagram.
That is why, beginning Sunday, February 2nd, I will begin a new sermon series entitled “Me, Myself, and Why?” Each week we will look at individuals within the Bible who seem to embody the strengths and weaknesses of each particular Enneagram number. We will consider the particular wounding messages that we carry around with us, and proclaim the healing message each number needs to hear in order to live freely and love fully, as God intended.