- I have spent many years in the thinking of Anthony Thiselton, and so am very interested by his views, not least on prophecy (note the spelling here!).
- The best place to look for Thiselton’s views on this subject, which I regard as authoritative, is in his large commentary on 1 Corinthians: see, Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to The Corinthians (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2000). A good place to start is p. 829, which I quote in my book, Relating Faith (a free copy of which is yours on request).
Below are the teaching video’s of the great spiritual writer Richard Rohr, as he explains the Enneagram and its implications. Wonderful stuff, and a few hours WELL SPENT.
Here is the superb book that gave rise to the lectures.
And here is the link to his website, The Centre for Action and Contemplation.
And the page that offers the Introduction.
And the page where you can pay to take the Test.
The Enneagram is a dynamic system. It was developed primarily in an oral tradition, in the context of relationships between students and teachers. A “dynamic system” is one that recognizes that humans are far too complex and nuanced to fit easily into simple categories; it supports the evolving, maturing human journey.
The Enneagram is not a strict law or code. Its categories are not meant to bind or restrict you to a certain way of being and living. People who know the Enneagram in a superficial way think it’s about putting people into boxes, but it actually works to free people from their self-created boxes.
The Enneagram is a powerful tool for self-discovery and spiritual transformation. But it shouldn’t be your only tool. The Enneagram is most helpful when used in conjunction with other practices like study, meditation, spiritual direction, and life in community with others.
The Enneagram is not just a personality typing system. Yes, there are tests and quizzes that help you identify your primary Enneagram type, but that is often just the first step. This tool is meant to help you over a life-long journey.
While self-discovery is important, it is not the Enneagram’s final objective. The Enneagram’s purpose is to help us uncover the traps that keep us from living fully and freely as our True Self so that we will use our unique, authentic gifts for the good of others and the world.
Don’t skip the introduction. Set aside plenty of undisturbed time and take it in.
1. The Trinity is not an optional doctrine, it is essential. God’s unity is not behind God’s threeness, God’s unity is in God’s threeness. This is not speculative mathematics, it is a descriptive theology of revelation.
2. The Trinity is not an academic doctrine thought up by clever scholars, rather it grew out of the Christian experience of worship, i.e. it expressed the early church’s pattern of prayer tothe Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.
3. The driving force of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity was Christological and soteriological, i.e. it served to articulate the Christian experience of salvation in Christ. The first Christians already knew God; through Jesus they came to know God as Jesus’ Father and Jesus as God’s Son; while in the Spirit Jesus continued to be present to them, forming a family of prayer to the Father and building a community of witness to Christ.
In the area of discovering God’s will how do you and how should we distinguish between what we want and what God wants? Do you regard the Bible as the inspired word of God and if so how should the Bible influence our decision making?
One of my favourite places to go to is St. Fagans in Cardiff. When my three children were children in the 1990’s, my wife and I virtually lived there – I mean, we took the children there a lot, not that we went there to escape them!
We went back a year ago with our adopted fourth child, and just loved it; especially to see what had changed and what had delightfully stayed the same. One of the additions to the Museum, was what looked like, at first glance (or even a long stare), was a plain looking, church-like, chapel kind of building. It was new to the museum and us, but old in the sense of centuries. It is St Teilo’s, and it looked very plain and unassuming:
This was a Catholic Church built around the time of the great Thomas Aquinas (late 12th or 13th century), so is very old. It was now restored and had been relocated to St Fagans, just outside Cardiff. Inside, it was breathtaking. A blaze of colour and images telling biblical stories. All the pictures had been restored – not because they had faded over time, no, no, no. But because at the 16th century Reformation, the “Reformers” decided that they had had enough of colour and art and imagination, and so, whitewashed the walls (that’s why many Protestant churches and chapels are plain, oh so plain)!!
I was irked and very annoyed to be a Protestant at that time. It was quite something to experience – and, to sooth my ontological angst, the member of staff on duty was excellent and up-to-speed on her Reformation-Catholic knowledge, which helped, so well done St Fagans!
Having said all that, another favourite place of mine was visiting the Reformation Wall at Geneva, built between 1909 and 1917, during my 2017 Sabbatical from pastoral ministry, What a place and what a city (very expensive cheese – but so worth the inevitable cheese-sweat)!
In the city, I found the magnificent Wall, Calvin’s church (near Purgatory Street); the Reformation Museum and even Calvin’s grave:
Below is a picture of me at the Wall taken by my daughter (above):
It was a very special time, and although I’m a (UK) Baptist, I’m certainly not a card carrying Calvinist, as my tradition would suggest. But, to be in that place was wonderful. So, what’s the connection?
I. HOW TO AVOID TRINITARIAN HERESY
#1. Start by abolishing Trinity Sunday, that fateful day on which preachers think they have to explain the Trinity
#2. Teach children to make the sign of the cross when they say the words “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
#3. When someone offers to tell you the practical implications of the doctrine, just smile and move along
#4. Have you come up with a really helpful analogy of the trinity? Well done! Now please don’t tell anyone about it, ever
#5. The doctrine is not a mystery. It is simple & precise. The reality it points to is the mystery
#6. Don’t try to get rid of the biblical words. Don’t try to stick to them exclusively either
#7. In this doctrine every word is used in a very limited way. Even the numbers 1 and 3 can’t be taken literally
#8. Don’t partake in meaningless debates about whether “oneness” or “threeness” is more important (see #7)
II. TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY, EAST AND WEST
#9. Don’t worry about whether you prefer Augustine or the Greeks. You don’t have to pick a favourite, it’s not Masterchef.
To count up every slight.
The world’s a moral wilderness,
And I have felt its blight.
Self-pity ruled, resentment reigned;
No one understood my pain.
I spiralled down in murky night,
Insisting that I had the right
To hate and hate again.
I am ashamed;
O, my Lord, forgive.
But then the gospel taught me how
To contemplate the cross.
For there Christ died for me—and now
I’ve glimpsed the bitter cost.
He bore abuse, and blows, and hate;
He did not retaliate.
Triumphant malice sneered and tossed
Blind rage at him—he never lost
The love that conquers hate.
I am ashamed;
O, my Lord, forgive.
To make no threat, to smile, forgive,
To love—and not because I must,
For Jesus showed me how to live
And trust the One who’s just;
To suffer wrong and feel the pain,
Certain that the loss is gain—
O God, I want so much to trust,
To follow Jesus on the cross,
To love and love again.