Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
IVP Books, 220 pages
The Enneagram is ancient tool that helps people gain a greater understanding of themselves and their relationships. Not to be confused with the once popular Meyers-Briggs personality system, the Enneagram has deeper roots in esoteric philosophy and even theology. The history is a bit murky but often associated with Evagrius, a Christian monk of the 4th century and the Desert Mothers and Fathers who reportedly used it in pastoral counseling. It is also associated with Sufism and in the 20th century was renewed by George Gurdjieff. Eventually it made its way to an American psychiatrist, Claudio Naranjo. Naranjo began using it in teaching seminars that included Christian priests and pastors. Hence, the Enneagram entered more fully into Christian spiritual practice.
Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile are active Christians and master teachers of the Enneagram, former students and now colleagues with Richard Rohr. This is an excellent introduction to the history as well as the dynamics of the Enneagram typing system. Each of the nine numbers are carefully described along with the various ways in which each number relates to the others. Neither author believes the Enneagram is the only way to understand life, and thus approach it with humility and wisdom. “The Enneagram is not the be-all and end-all of Christian spirituality. At best, it’s an imprecise model of personality … but it’s very useful.” I completely agree with their assessment. This is a very useful book to help guide one into greater self-understanding. I highly recommend it for personal and group study. For those who may hesitate on the threshold, remember what Calvin said: The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self go hand-in-hand.