The ONE in me…

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Exploring the Ennegram at AC3…personally

Several things intersected in the last few days which led me to consider this little 9 week project. First and most obvious is our new sermon series on the Enneagram titled “What’s Your Number”. Second, is the season of reflection and transition in which AC3 is living these days as we process our recently completed church-wide evaluation. Finally there’s what I will call “God Winks” – small events, conversations, “co incidents” which blend otherwise unrelated experiences into more-than-the-sum-of-their-parts. This week, I’m confronted with The One in me.

All of these things have drawn me to look at myself and AC3 through the lens of the Enneagram types. Let me begin by confessing that I am a type TWO with a THREE wing. But every type tends to share characteristics with both it’s neighbors. This means I am naturally conversant with the ONE. I have more than a few ONE qualities; both helpful and unhelpful.

Every type tends to share characteristics with both it’s neighbors.

It may not be Enneagram “cannon” to assign types to groups of people, but I’m going to do it anyway. This week, I have been confronted with a “suite of stuff ” that defines the shadow spaces in the ONE in me. But not just in me: in us as a church. If I had to compress this stuff into a word it might be “ego”.

Ego is God given. A sense of “self” is not just required for life, it’s a blessing. But ego can go sideways. I have been confronted with multiple cases of folks around AC3 who are being pushed down and having their lunch money taken by their own egos. I’m one of them.

The ONE in me is secretly critical of just about everything and everyone else. Judgment. For example, I’ve been struck by how poorly we actually listen to one another around here (and everywhere in American culture these days). Until recently, I missed the fact that I’m not listening very well either. I’m too busy getting ready to answer and evaluating the impact on me or make the needed “corrections” to just take in what the other is saying. A good friend pointed that out to me this week. Man, that hurt to hear, but I’m so glad she said it.

I’ve been struck by how poorly we actually listen to one another.

For years, I’ve looked at other churches and while I say I’m a fan, while I work with them and appreciate many of the things they do and the way they do them, I’m secretly judging them. The truth is, I think they should be more like us. I know it’s not Godly thinking, so I submerge it. But recently, God has shone a light on it.

The truth about me is I get jealous when I walk past the much bigger and completely full parking lot of the big church in town…because secretly, I don’t believe they “deserve” all that success as much as we do. We work harder. We’ve “earned” it.


“The OTHER Church”

Is the “collective ONE” in us at AC3 resentful about the apparent success of churches who “don’t love outsiders as much as we do”? Or is it just me?

Do we get hurt when our flaws are pointed out? Are we listening poorly…preparing to defend our ego against the truth of an external analysis rather then leaning forward, ready to hear the voice of God? Or is it just me?

Is it just me?

AC3, are we getting an “ego check”? This series, this season of evaluation feels very much like an opportunity for us. Let’s not miss it. Let’s listen carefully, not just prepare to respond. In fact, let’s extend our listening to our internal world and gauge our responses. Are we defensive? Why? Are we hurt? What is it in us exactly that is vulnerable? Are we mad? What prompted it?

…or is it just me?


57 year old husband of 31 years, father of two, drumming Gardner.