Do congregations have Enneagram types? My friend who leads workshops on the Enneagram, thinks so and has helped two of the congregations I’ve served to determine their number. Lately I’ve been wondering whether different religions also have different Enneagram types. What got me thinking was a friend who is a Religious Scientist (not a Christian Scientist or a Scientologist) and a Seven on the Enneagram. Listening to her one day, I realized how compatible her theology was with her personality. Then I had the stunning revelation that the same could be said about me as a Lutheran One.
So I went looking to see if anyone had done any work in this area. The best I could find (at least in a pretty quick search) was an article about a book called Travels In Consciousness by David Hey. It confirmed my thoughts about me as a Reformer One and my friend as a Positive-Thinking Seven. I have to do more thinking about some of the others.
Then I also started to wonder about how these insights might be useful to us in our interfaith relationships. If Islam mirrors the Type Four (Idealist or Romantic) personality and Judaism is akin to Type Six the Questioner or Skeptic) and Karma Yoga from the Hindu tradition reflects Type Three (the Doer, Achiever or Performer) and Buddhism reflects Type Five (the Sage or Observer), how do these personalities interact?
I also wonder how this relates to our intrafaith relationships. What do the diverse Enneagram types in our congregations bring to the conversation? How might a One and a Seven view such things as grace, salvation, social justice, etc. differently?
Of course where one is on the continuum of integration and disintegration is a factor. When I’m at my perfectionistic, sarcastic worst is not the same as when I’m in my healthy range. And the same is true for all of us.
It’s an interesting rabbit hole to dive into today – gets me away from politics for a little while. Although I do believe that we as a country are dealing with an unhealthy Eight (but that’s a subject for another day).
2 thoughts on “Enneagram Types and the INTRAfaith Conversation”
This is fascinating. It could explain why some people “click” in some congregations, and not in others, just like you “click” with some people and not others.
I love this idea! (I found this site because I wrote a book review on my blog on your book, thanks to Speakeasy). I’ve actually written a couple of posts on the subject. Definitely agree with you on Type One: in my own post I talked about Luther and atonement theory and type Ones. I wrote on Quakers for Type Nines, but any peace tradition would, I suppose, qualify. I like your thoughts for some of the other religious traditions and their types! Fun to think about.
You can find my posts here if you want: https://christinegreenwald.com. The Enneagram posts are much older, but your book review is (at this moment) my newest post.