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We can be mesmerized by our own patterns of thought, but they mask our true selves. The awareness that the Enneagram provides helps us get free.
This week’s post is adapted from my audio program, “Know Yourself to Know God.” Romans 12: 2 says, “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing o…
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New blog post: Nine Types of Leaders
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Let's take a look at the various factors that come together to make Type 5.
We’re leaving the Heart Center and moving over to the Head with Type Five. Let’s look at the various components that make up a Type Five personality. Center: Head/Thinking (underlying emotion is fe…
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A few insights on what makes Type Three tick.
On we go with the “Putting It All Together” series. It’s time to turn our attention to the Type that exemplifies the Type of our nation. Let’s look at the various components that make up a Type Thr...
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It's a milestone - my 50th blog post! It's about how our personality type influences what we see and don't see.
It is said that when Columbus arrived on the shores of what would one day be called North America, the indigenous people literally could not see his huge ships because they had never seen anything ...
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I promise that this post is not slimy opportunism. It's me learning how to grieve, and how not to be afraid.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the world and its sorrows. A tiny sampling includes: The death of a friend in his early 20s and the widowhood of his pregnant wife. 9/11. The death of my precious fr...
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KJ Always's profile photoHeath Davis Havlick's profile photo
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HI - just saw your comment! My post took an overall look at personality's constructs rather than how it plays out in Enneagram Types. What I am trying to do, always, is to go beyond the level of personality to the essential self, to what is ultimately real and true. For instance, my normal Seven response is to ignore what is painful until I can't anymore, then get overwhelmed, then fear that I'll be trapped in that emotional overwhelm. Then I figure out a way to flee again - or get really depressed. (Yes, that happens to Sevens.) But if I understand that I am not my personality and that what I'm experiencing is not objective, I can create distance from my false self. I am able to see that pain, suffering and death will not rob me of my essence, my true self. I am able to experience and bear these things will more presence and less fear. Hope that makes sense!
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New blog post: How Each Enneagram Type Can Boost Their EQ
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It sounds so easy, but it is very hard to change your self.
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New blog post: Why Self-Awareness Matters
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If you believe in the power of the #Enneagram to change lives, please take a look at this video and consider supporting this campaign. It's about half-way funded with ~11 days to go.
Today is Day 14, and we are about 44% to the goal.  I changed the page around a little bit so that it's a little easier on the eyes.  The "About" section has been changed, and the previous content there has been moved to the FAQ section of this page.I've had an outpouring of support from so many individuals both wanting to contribute money to this project but also those who can't contribute but have shared the link anywhere and everywhere on soci...
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Ever gotten--or given--bad advice? Here's why, and how to avoid it.
“Just do it.” “If you can believe it, you can achieve it.” “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” (Thoreau) Peyton Manning Asked John Madden For Advice on …
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Time to take a look at what's going on under the hood for Type Seven - how their Object Relation, Hornevian and Harmonic Groups interact and combine to create the 7 perspective.
This week, we end the “Putting It All Together” series on the Enneagram types with an exploration of Type Seven. Here are some of the various components that make up a Type Seven personality. Cente…
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New blog post: Self-Care Strategies for the Enneagram Types 
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New blog post: Effective Goal Setting for Your Enneagram Type 
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New blog post: What to Celebrate About the Enneagram Types
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Jeff Erbskorn

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HEALTHY CONGREGATIONS - IT'S NOT JUST FOR CONGREGATIONS....I am a trained Healthy Congregations workshop facilitator, but the video at the link below is a must see for all organizations because the basic concepts which help us see a congregation as an emotional system are applicable to all work settings.  Are you looking to reduce workplace drama and increase productivity?  Check it out at http://www.personalityportfolios.com/healthy-congregations.html
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New blog post: How Enneagram Types Work in Teams
Strong collaborative skills are more crucial in the workplace today than ever before. According to the New York Times, jobs with a strong social component continue to increase, while more solitary occupations have lost positions. Additionally, modern workplaces of all … Continue reading →
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New Enneagram blog post: 5 Benefits of Supporting Emerging Leaders
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New blog post: Meeting the Instinctual Needs of Different Organizations
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Jeff Erbskorn

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         FEAR: THE OTHER FLAG WE NEED TO ADDRESS
On June 17th 9 people were shot and killed in my home state of South Carolina at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston while attending a Wednesday night Bible study. Among those killed were SC State Senator the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney and the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., both graduates of the of the same Lutheran seminary I attended, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. The shooter himself is a member of a Lutheran Church in Columbia, SC and so as the Bishop of my denomination (Evangelical Lutheran Church In America), the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, stated in a letter to other Lutherans, all of a sudden this is an intensely personal tragedy.
And so, it has prompted me to write this blog entry. Investigating officials have said the shooting was racially motivated. In a statement Bishop Eaton calls for each of us and all of us to examine ourselves, our church and our communities, saying, “We need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us.” I do not disagree. In my work with the enneagram, I would add, however, that we need to examine and be honest with not only the reality of brokenness within and around us but also we need to examine and be honest about the specific concrete nature of that brokenness.
The enneagram (symbol itself) is not only useful as a map of personality (the enneagram of personality). It also has been used to map human brokenness. The enneagram of vices and virtues is a spiritual tool which, I believe, God can use to help us be honest with the specific, concrete ways that we are broken and break our relationship with God, self and others (see http://www.personalityportfolios.com/spiritual-but-not-religious.html ). The enneagram of vices and virtues maps what early Christian monastics referred to as the seven deadly sins.
Early monastics, particularly Evagrius Ponticus, understood what the Apostle Paul was wrestling with when he said, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” They understood it (as Paul goes on to say he understood it) to be a law of human nature related to specific patterns of human thinking, feeling and behaving that get in the way of or distort our relationship with God, self and others (see in context at Romans 7:15-25). One need only consider the “The Parson’s Tale” in Chaucer’s The Cantebury Tales, the Purgatorio section of Dante’s Divine Comedy or Homer’s Odyssey (see Bea Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge) to note that the human struggle between vice and virtue can be seen throughout history. And, one only need listen to the song “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic to note that it is a struggle understood even today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT_nvWreIhg).
Basically, what gets in the way of our relationship with God, self and others is us. I believe it’s time for us to take a deeper look at ourselves. It troubles me that the Charleston shooter was a Lutheran, because Lutherans ARE honest about their brokenness. Lutherans confess each Sunday in worship that the state of the human condition is one of being in bondage to sin and unable to free ourselves. So honesty is not the problem. It is honesty about the concrete particular nature of our sin / brokenness. I was proud that my Bishop named the sin in terms of the concrete particular sin of racism. But racism I believe, is the “fruit” of another sin, one we don’t often think of as being a sin, that being fear.
As the early monastics looked at the “seven deadly sins” (eight in some lists, 9 + in others) what they were on to was the fact that there are specific concrete ways that we can look at human brokenness (http://www.personalityportfolios.com/spiritual-but-not-religious.html ). I think it is helpful to note that the word for sin that the Apostle Paul uses is an archery term for “missing the mark.” If you think about it, it makes sense. If you give the arrow too much energy or too little you will “miss the mark”. We get into a lot of trouble by giving something too much energy or too little. So we come back to phrases like, “Everything in moderation.” Or caution one another not to “over do it.” And we know, do we not, what happens when we give too little time to our relationships?
The nine vices / sins of the enneagram point to nine ways that we miss the mark by giving too much or too little energy to a particular area. Fear in and of itself is not all bad. It’s downright good for us. But fear when it is given too much energy…especially mental energy…now that’s another thing. Too little fear leaves us undefended. Too much leaves us over defended. Too much fear causes separation and suspicion that can tear relationships and communities apart. I think racism is a sin motivated by fear. It and others come from fear.
It causes walls and not walkways to be built. Globally we seem to understand this as we tell ourselves that if we give into our fears the terrorists have won. But what do we mean by that? How do we live that out? How do we encourage our children to live that out? How do we strike a balance? Does it always have to be an either or proposition? Is there not a middle way? A way to respect walls (boundaries….differences…diversity) and yet meet each other on the walkways? Can we not understand that our existence is dependent upon our finding unity in our diversity? That the Somali Bantu expression “Umbuntu” (I am because you are…”) is crucial to our survival?
For the protestant reformers it became important simply to say that we are all sinful or “broken” and simply speak of Sin as the human condition. Father Richard Rohr and German Lutheran Pastor Andreas Ebert in their book The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, say that the Protestant Reformers were justified in pointing out that an over focus on individual sins detracts from the main problem, that being that human beings are by nature sinful and in need of God’s saving grace. However, they also point out that, “This justified criticism of the Roman Catholic understanding of sin had an unhappy consequence in Protestant practice: Protestants understood themselves quite generally as “sinners,” but this term lost all concrete content.” (See The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, pg. 33-34).
Again, it troubles me greatly that the young man who took the lives of nine fellow human beings in Charleston was a Lutheran who had confessed many a Sunday that he was in bondage to sin and could not free himself and so needed Jesus. But somewhere along the way, the “generalized” need of Jesus did not translate into the specific and concrete. He did not acknowledge or was not called to examine the specific concrete need we all have for Jesus to move us out of our fear of “those people” so that we might love ALL people. It has me thinking about whether or not we “settle”. We speak of sin in broad sweeping terms. Are we as specific and as direct as we need to be?
When your fears get a hold of you and cause you to think, support or do things that rob others of life and human dignity, you don’t only need to be honest about that in a general way. You need to examine that in a concrete and specific way. At the root of racism and all other isms is fear. What kind of people could have done this to other human beings? See what Former Nuremberg trials prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz has to say from the 34:33 mark to the 35:44 mark of the following   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skmQgtaFjRM and again at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f5nhPrSCso . An “honest” examination leads to the realization that we all come from “those kind of people.” See Maya Angelou’s reference to Terrance at the 1:25 mark of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePodNjrVSsk May the Creator of all that is grant us the courage to live in and out of faith, not fear.
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