5 Common Enneagram Errors

The Enneagram has become the bandwagon of all bandwagons.  This is not without merit.  The tool has insightful power at both the surface level and in the work of transformation.  Perhaps that is why its proliferation can be so irritating.  It’s usage in common forums can seem like a hyper-spiritualized personality test. Setting out to reawaken my own inner work, I began to see how I’d twisted the Enneagram to my own devices, dulling its scalpel-like ability to carve out the cancer in me.  Join me as we explore five ways I’ve misused the Enneagram and what I learned in the journey.

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Nick Richtsmeier Comment
There Is So Much Beauty Left

We long desperately to tap into some kind of do-something energy as a way of powering over these dark days.  The metaphor of renovation rings true because it means that with a little elbow grease, some money and a chipper attitude maybe we can make all this better.  It is difficult to recognize that we are in our own kind of Tower of Babel.

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Nick RichtsmeierComment
We Don't Have to Fight in This War

We fly to the battlefields of the war because they require more armor, more weaponry and more certainty, all things which help us bury the cries of our own fragile wounded hearts. The pain of this week is found in the hundreds of thousands whose traumas have resurfaced past their defenses, those who saw in Kavanaugh the possibility of their own undoing project, and the incredible opportunity we all had to stand together and weep with those who weep.

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Nick Richtsmeier Comment
God Is Only Ever Here

God is never in the future you are imagining.  Because that future will never exist.

God is never in the past that you are regretting.  Because that past has been manicured of its truth, simplified, in order to match the narrative of your regrets. God is never in some next place waiting for us to arrive.  And he is never parked in some past version of ourselves waiting for us to get back there.  God is only ever here.

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Nick Richtsmeier Comment
Only Idols Fall

Men, with all their charisma, confidence, winsome ability and charm, even the ones who are not hiding nefarious secrets, are no stand-in for Jesus.  The human leaders who rise to prominence (and there will be more, whether they seek it or not) will always be less than our broken hearts want them to be.  They will be more insecure, frailer, more confused than we want them to be.  They will be—in some part—hidden by the mask of ego which we all hide behind.  As I am; as you are. 

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Nick RichtsmeierComment
Most of the Time

So many of our stories hold onto us longer than we'd want.  As we face resurrection day, we must remind ourselves that the loss of the old life and the rising of the new is not license for amnesia.  Being made-new in Christ doesn't mean forgetting the past.  It means remembering it in light of what we now know to be true.  All our stories are vague generalities--most-of-the-times--which we inflict on every new day that rises.  Resurrection Day (Easter) is the reminder that there is an "all of the time" story which doesn't erase, but re-interprets the most-of-the-times we are so busy remembering. 

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You're Not the Boss of Me

As long as we equate freedom with increased options, we will always pay a high personal price for those options. The freedom to be anyone, choose anything and any time wages deep war against our evolutionary psyches, hard-wired for community, intimacy, geographic constancy and the safety of the familiar. It is my hope that over time we realize that fewer is more. A world where we accept a poverty of options in exchange for the richness of the moment we are already in, the life we are already living, the people we have already found.

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Nick RichtsmeierComment
Be The Man.

The Man: A piece of him is pulled toward his animalistic brain stem: fight or flight, sexual conquest, genetic procreation at any cost.  But he is awakened by God to a higher calling.  He is surrounded by beauty and possibility, by a world already alive in all its verdant hope.  His job is not to make a world for himself, but to tend to a world already provided. 

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Nick RichtsmeierComment
Applying the Bible to Your Life (and Ruining It In the Process)

If you have been a participant in the American Christian religion in the last 30 years, you likely are more familiar with the Bible as prooftext, as quotation, as inspirational anecdote, as feel-good story.  You are accustomed to a truncated and neutered text, made innocuous for easy and quick application so we can all go get on with our lives. With such a view of the text, it is impossible—I would argue—to be awakened to the Gospel itself, a revelation of God’s loving claim on every human life.

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Nick RichtsmeierComment
The Joy and the Bullshit

We’ve got to get clear about the game we’re playing.  I say all this not to shame you (or me) or anyone else who is quickly fabricating their better self for 2018.  I say this to liberate us from the fog of self-deception and a cultural milieu of bullshit that we have unwinkingly accepted as unavoidable.  We—for lack of an alternative—believe all this public and private pumping ourselves up is required despite how repulsive we may find it in others. (And how ineffectual it annually becomes.)

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Nick Richtsmeier Comment