Well, it’s Friday. So that is something. Let’s see what we have.
I’ve been listening to Richard Rohr’s book on the Enneagram all week. I only have three and a half hours left of an interminable thirteen. He’s finally gotten to the nines, after laboriously describing one through eight, and giving the same sort of meandering introduction that he does in this talk here. I really hesitate to say anything, of course, because I know lots and lots of people adore this thing, and that if I say anything about it immediately all of my readers will go trotting away elsewhere. But I can’t help myself. And actually, if you know me at all, you won’t be that surprised that of course, I hate it with the hatred I feel for the smell of pumpkin spice being pumped into the entrance of every grocery store, with the hatred of a thousand blazing suns, with all the hatred I nurture for whatever wretched insect that devoured my lilies this year. What number does that make me?
I hate it so much I wanted to start a hashtag on Twitter: #ThingsIHateAboutTheEnneagram
Then I would go on and on saying all the things I hate, loosing more and more Twitter followers. Ever notice how when you get some new Twitter followers, for whatever reason, half of them go away the next time you tweet anything? I know, this is a stupid thing to notice since Twitter is not an important thing, even for me, but it does always make me chuckle, especially when I’ve only posted a picture of a flower.
Anyway, I really hate this book. It’s hard to focus enough to enumerate the ways in which I hate it in a decent and orderly way. What number does that make me? The quick test I did online said one wing nine which only made me hate everything all the more.
One thing I particularly hated yesterday–as I was wildly stirring a cheesy bechamel sauce into which I distributed a lot of white fish, but then cooked it slightly too long, so that though the sauce still tasted divine, the fish was too dry, and then I overestimated the love of everyone for creamed spinach and made two times too much, and then the kitchen (or was it just me?) was too hot most of the time and I had to keep going outside and trying not to strip off every single piece of clothing–was this:
Faith in the biblical sense does not mean maintaining that certain assertions are true, rather it is a relationship of trust between humanity and God. God believes in us. This is the basis on which we can believe in God without thereby losing our human dignity. God trusts us and hopes that we return the compliment. Because God has confidence in us, we can develop healthy self-confidence.
Before I say what I hate about that quote, let me just say that it is these kinds of little throw-away lines, along with the blitheringly blind missuses and misapplications of scripture, that makes me absolutely and completely distrust everything Dr. Rohr is saying about human personalities. Moreover, the triteness of his descriptions of types (really? Twos often have weight problems, and fours, or is it fives, like to buy their clothes in thrift shops, really?), the posthumous assigning of numbers to the famous dead, and the overreliance on stereotypes makes me just loath everything he says about humanity and God.
But anyway, in case you don’t know what’s wrong with that brief snippet about faith, let me just annesplain it to you. First of all, there should be no self-serving dichotomous chasm hewn out between intellectually assenting to certain truth propositions associated with Christianity and the heart trust that the believer has in Jesus. Those to things are supposed to go together (if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth etc. etc.), not be placed in opposition so that you have to choose one. Second, and I am sorry to say this because it pokes a giant hole in the fabric of all the strongly felt feelings of this age, God does not “believe” in us. Neither does he “trust” us, hoping that we will return the compliment. That assertion is from the very pit of hell.
No, human pride and self-confidence are absolutely opposed to true faith and trust in Jesus. It is only by finally admitting that you have nothing, that you cannot do anything to save yourself, to avoid death and hell, to admit that you are the beggar by side of the road covered if not in actual sores than at least spiritual ones, that you can actually be saved. In cosmic terms, as regards eternity, you are not trust worthy. You have no reason to be confident. You will die and your body will go into the ground and it won’t matter what number you were. Unless you fling yourself upon the mercy of Jesus, you will go on dying forever. So no, God isn’t waiting for you to “return the compliment.” If you trust yourself at all, you are in grave spiritual danger.
Of course, in human terms, it’s fine to try to figure out what kind of person you are, I guess. Although I think that is very boring (what number does that make me?). And competence and confidence in ordinary life are some of the common gracious gifts that God gives to us. We get up in the morning. We figure out how to organize our lives. We get on with it. We have friends and family. But if, as Dr. Rohr is proposing, you are using the Enneagram in any spiritual sense, as a way of getting to some divinely awakened knowledge of yourself, then you should pause and consider how badly he uses scripture, how useless are so many of his assumptions about the true nature of God and humanity, how the road “back to you” is broad and wide and will lead to your eternal destruction.
And on that note, have a great weekend and go check out more takes!