James Meehan - What Should Christians Think About the Enneagram?
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Ariana Lane: Hey guys! Welcome back to Culture Makers.
James Meehan: We're so glad that you're joining with us. My name is James. This is our cohost, guest host Arianna Lane. Today we're talking about Enneagram, Jake Paul and Ben Askren, and how to find motivation when we're feeling unmotivated. Excited to hang out with you. Arianna, how are you?
Ariana Lane: I'm really great.
James Meehan: So everybody loved you so much on the show last time that we felt like let's just kick Vince out.
Ariana Lane: I don't think that's a wise decision
James Meehan: Well, it would also not be true. We're not kicking him out. Vince is traveling this week. So thankfully, Arianna stepped in to help us navigate these conversations so that hopefully by the end of it, we can all think a little bit more Christianly about the things that are happening in our world. So to kick things off, we had a fantastic question from one of our viewers, Hope Martin. Here's the question, you ready?
Ariana Lane: Ready.
James Meehan: What are your thoughts on the Enneagram? Bum bum bum. She goes on to say, I have a lot of friends who love it and a handful of people who say we shouldn't engage in it because it came from a cult background. Can the Enneagram still be used as a tool or should we avoid it altogether? Arianna?
Ariana Lane: That is such a great question, especially because the Enneagram is so popular. I feel like I see it all over Instagram, every time I scroll through Instagram. So for me, I feel like I've used the Enneagram to get to know my husband better, to get to know some of my friends better. It's kind of funny 'cause we were just talking about this the other week. I know that you know a little bit about where it started and how it became so popular.
James Meehan: Yeah, I mean Enneagram, first and foremost rhymes with pentagram, therefore it is directly from the devil. I'm totally just kidding. So I do think it is funny because there are a lot of questions about where did it come from. Now, there are some people who trace it back to a 4th century Christian mystic by the name of Evagrius Ponticus. I believe it was in the 1900s. There were a handful of other people who took some of those ideas and principles and reformed it into what we now know as the modern Enneagram. And I think because of that, there are potentially some questionable influences that have gone into creating the Enneagram as we know it today. But I think the question that I like to ask is not just where did something come from, but what is it pointing toward? Not where did it come from, but what does it pointing toward? Great example, if you've ever seen the Harry Potter movies, back whenever they were first being released, you may not know this but there was a lot of drama about children's movies including wizardry and witchcraft, because the first two Harry Potter movies specifically starred the stars of this movie when they were like 12 years old. And oh my goodness, I remember hearing about all of the chaos surrounding it and all the people that were so upset that the witchcraft and wizardry in Harry Potter would lead these young, innocent, Christian kids into more witchcraft and wizardry in real life. But then when most people watch the movies, they realized, oh, these are like really family friendly. Okay, this may be not as scary as what we thought it was. And so for me, I like to ask the question, not just where did it come from, but what does it point towards? So when I think about Enneagram, I think when it's used wisely, it can point towards really, really valuable empathy for others and understanding of yourself. So my wife, she is an Enneagram two, which is the helper, which basically means she wants to serve, to help and to care for other people. Unfortunately, it can come at the expense of taking care of herself. And so me knowing this about my wife, I'm able to cheer on and celebrate the really, really good things. And I'm also able to kind of step in and help remind her that, hey, you also need to take care of yourself too. Now for me, I'm an Enneagram one, which is the reformer slash perfectionist, which I know means that I have unrealistic standards and expectations for myself and others. And if I'm not careful, I can become incredibly critical and very unempathetic. And so I try to be aware of the good and the bad to better love and care for other people.
Ariana Lane: I also think that anytime you're using any tool to learn about yourself or people that you care about, don't base everything you know about yourself and others on that tool. Like, I mean, some pieces of it are really great to know and help us get to know people, but that's not where our real truth is at.
James Meehan: It's so funny 'cause the first time I was ever introduced to any personality tool, it was used by someone who 100% used it as an excuse for their bad behaviors and as a weapon to put other people in a box. And it made me so hesitant to have anything to do with anything personality. So for those of you who are into personality tools or Enneagram, please know that you are more than your personality type. You are more than your Enneagram number. And that is actually one of the things that I value about the Enneagram way of thinking is the entire idea is that whatever that number is that you are is not who you are. It's who you think you are. And that real maturity and wisdom comes from moving past that number to becoming more integrated, which is encompassing all of the positive qualities of the different numbers, which I think is very much in alignment with the idea that throughout the gospels as Jesus is inviting people to come and follow him, he tells them, hey, if you're gonna be my follower, here's what you have to do. You have to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. And I think that when we can understand the maybe number or letter or whatever personality test you're using thing that we are, the more we can understand that, the more easily we can move past that to become who God's really made us to be.
Ariana Lane: Yeah.
James Meehan: So long story short, Enneagram rhymes with pentagram. Moving on. So there's a couple of really exciting current events that are taking place this week. We discovered that the next Fast and Furious movie has been announced. It is releasing in June. We're not talking about it though, because Vince isn't here and he knows way more about it than I do. We're also not talking about the fact that The Falcon and Winter Soldier finale is this Friday.
Ariana Lane: Last time I came on here, you told me to go check that out. And I said that I was going to, but I actually didn't, so sorry.
James Meehan: It's okay, the finale's on Friday. You got plenty of time to catch up. But we're not talking about that now. We're gonna wait til Vince is back. So hopefully next week he's back 'cause I really want to talk about it. But we are talking about something that Arianna, I'm so glad you know about. And it is the recent drama surrounding some famous TikTok couples. Arianna, please enlighten us.
Ariana Lane: I just found out about the details of this this past week and it's your classic betrayal. There's a lot of hard heartbroken feelings involved. And do you want me to tell the story?
James Meehan: Yeah, let the people know.
Ariana Lane: Okay, so there's some TikTok influencers and you have two couples. And essentially one boyfriend is now with the other girlfriend. That's the most condensed way I can put it. And basically, no matter what your feelings are, my take on it is just, I feel bad when other people are heartbroken. And I think we can all kind of relate to that feeling of somebody that we trusted and maybe it was a boyfriend or a girlfriend and maybe it was a friend, but just somebody who ended up kind of betraying you or doing something behind your back or saying something behind your back. And those situations are just tough to deal with. And I think if you, for me, it's hard to watch people who, we don't really know if they have somebody there to lean on or if they have a listening ear, a good friend. So I just am praying for that situation. I hate to see people upset because somebody else kind of turned their back on them.
James Meehan: Yeah, 'cause recently we talked about, I believe it was Cat and Mike and their relationship and how they were this TikTok couple who were married. And on the outside looking in, it seemed like they had this great relationship, but unfortunately they announced recently that they were separating. And I think it can be really heartbreaking when there's these people that we look up to, we admire. And honestly, for many of us, we want to be more like. And then something like this happens and it almost shatters our understanding of those people. And I think that the unfortunate default response a lot of people have is to then condemn or tear down those people because of the frustration they're experiencing because of what they did rather than being reminded that all of us are human beings, that all of us mess up and all of us need grace and compassion. And so regardless of how you feel about these specific couples on TikTok, I just hope you would remember that, yeah, they're human beings and probably the best thing we can do when people are walking through difficult times is not to condemn them but to offer them compassion.
Ariana Lane: Yeah, totally.
James Meehan: You know what they say? Haters gonna hate, but potatoes gonna potate.
Ariana Lane: Wow, wow.
James Meehan: So next, we're talking about something that dear goodness gracious. In my notes I wrote down next to it, what a joke. Ben Askren, Jake Paul boxing match finally took place. Are you familiar with these people?
Ariana Lane: Only Jake Paul.
James Meehan: So some background context since you know who Jake Paul is. Ben Askren is like a world-class wrestler. He was a number one contender in the UFC at his weight class. He competed in the Olympics back in 2008 Beijing. So he's a very accomplished athlete. But he has always been a terrible striker. Well, Jake Paul has been getting into boxing. He knocked out, I believe, was it Nate Robinson? It was the NBA player. Knocked him out. It was pretty spectacular.
Ariana Lane: What's a striker?
James Meehan: Somebody who strikes, so throws punches and things. So Ben Askren cannot do that at all. Like, it is humiliating to watch. It kind of looks like, have you ever seen people joke about cat fighting and doing this? That's what Ben Askren looks like. And so Ben Askren is in a fight with Jake Paul. And of course everybody leading up to it is like, man, this is a publicity stunt. Ben Askren is gonna dominate. And in the first round, Jake Paul, YouTube sensation, Vine star knocks out Ben Askren.
Ariana Lane: Oh my gosh.
James Meehan: Yeah, it is humiliating so much so that the comments of that YouTube video were absolutely gold. And so I just want to read to you some of what was said. The first one. This looked like when the two middle schoolers tried to fake a fight in the school bathroom during lunch. Real relatable.
Ariana Lane: Oh, no.
James Meehan: Next, a minute of silence for those who paid to watch this fight.
Ariana Lane: Oh, for real though.
James Meehan: And then finally, imagine being that person who's in the bathroom during the first minute. Because that's it. It was one minute long for this fight that has been hyped up so much. People paid tons of money to watch.
— That is crazy.
— And it was super humiliating. So Ben Askren, Jake Paul. The whole fight, what a joke. Jake, great for you. Ben Askren, you're an amazing wrestler. And we respect you for that. See what I did there? I just focused on the positives.
— Yeah, I thought that was great.
— Now, we've got some questions from our viewers and there's a twist that's about to happen in one of these questions that I can't wait to tell you, 'cause it blew my mind when I found out. But we'll get there. First question, this is from one of our viewers, Mr. Kasim, he asked this question. When we find ourselves with friends that are not necessarily believers, but they're not bad influences either, do we still remain friends with them? And then how can we ease the gospel of Jesus into our conversations? Arianna, what would you say to that?
— Yeah, I love that question. So I personally think that is one of the biggest opportunities to be Jesus to your friends. Those people who you know aren't necessarily, sometimes there's a risk when somebody is doing like a risky behavior or bad behavior and you just don't want to be around them but you still want to love them. That can be really tricky. But those friends that you know don't have a relationship with Jesus or you're not sure, that is just the perfect opportunity to genuinely get to know them, get to know who they are, what they love to do, who God made them to be. And just slowly start telling them about Jesus and about who God has made them to be and highlight those things about them, meet them right where they're at and just love them. That is the perfect spot to just pastor them and love them. And we can all step in and be that for our friends.
— Come on, absolutely. Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, meaning he spent time with people that the other religious people didn't think he should. But the other thing that Jesus did so well was he made sure he was always surrounded by his group of disciple, his 12 people. So he didn't do it alone. And so I think that's really great stuff. Ready for the next question?
— So, our all-time favorite viewer of Culture Makers, LeShae Miller, we recently found out that LeShae Miller is actually Daniel Miller who has just been using his sister's YouTube account. And so since the beginning of the show, Daniel, we've thought you were your sister. But finally, Daniel commented saying, hey, I felt bad, but I feel like you should know that I'm actually, my name is Daniel. But Daniel had this question. They were asking, how do you find motivation to do things that are hard, for example, like working out or remaining determined?
— I think for me, it's keeping in mind the why. That gets me through those times where I don't want to get up to go to the gym or I get home from work, I'm just tired. No matter what it is for you, I think keeping in mind why you want to create that habit in your life and how God is going to use that. So for me with exercising, I know that if my body's in the best condition, I can do more work for the Lord and for the kingdom. So I want to keep doing that habit day after day. And so maybe it's school, maybe it's eating right, whatever it is. But I think keeping that why in mind for me is the key.
— That's so good. I find myself very often feeling that tension of, okay, I can either get up and work out or I can sleep for another hour.
— Yeah, I love sleep.
— Right, and it's very healthy. You should be the sleeping, people. But what's so funny is my why is I want to be able to beat up my son whenever he becomes a man.
— I wish that you didn't say that on YouTube
— I'm just kidding. I know that if I'm physically healthy, that I'm gonna be more mentally sharp, I'm gonna be more emotionally stable. I'm gonna be able to bring my best self to the people who need me most. And so not to actually beat up my son. That was a joke. But to be a great husband to my wife, a great father to my son, to be a great coworker to the people that I'm around, a great pastor to those people who are struggling and in need of the hope that's found in Jesus. And so I remember hearing this quote one time. Don't remember where it's from, but it's from a book or something probably, I don't know, where the author said that when you have a big enough why, you can endure any how. When you have a big enough why, you can endure any how. And so I think that goes really well with what you just said. So last question from our friend Switch Online volunteer student at one of our live church locations, Lexi Toath, asked this question. How do I forgive someone who has literally shattered me? Arianna, what words of wisdom would you have for Lexi?
— I think first and foremost, I'm sorry that maybe you or someone that you love is going through that emotion. I think making sure not to brush that aside or just bury it within yourself and just take that to God. He wants to be there for you when you're going through that hard time. But then secondly, I think forgiveness for me is just really keeping in mind how much grace God has shoveled into my life. There's so many things every single day that I do that I think to myself for a second, wow. I just mess up all the time. And it's easy to sit in that for a second, but don't stay there. Just know that God is forgiving us so we can forgive other people for those times where they mess up and they make mistakes. We still have an opportunity to just pour grace into their life too.
— Yeah, that's so good. I think that, especially when the language that Lexi used, like somebody who shattered them, that idea of it's easy, I think, to forgive the little things, but it's really, really hard to forgive the big things. And the fact that you're even asking that question Lexi is I think an indicator that you're moving in the right direction of trying to seek forgiveness because I think one of the things that is so heartbreaking for me is seeing so many people who have been hurt deeply by somebody that they care about or somebody they love. And instead of ever working towards forgiveness, they just kind of sit in the pain and allow what could be a really, really great opportunity to show grace become space for bitterness to fester. And I think what Arianna said is so, so valuable is remembering the grace that you've been given, the forgiveness that you've been given. And literally just allowing that grace and forgiveness to flow through you to the other person. Now that doesn't mean that it's gonna immediately take the pain and the hurt away. But what it does mean is that through the act of trying as much as you can to let that grace and forgiveness flow through you to the other person, you're going to experience more of that grace from God to find healing in the process. And so I would continue to pray and surround yourself with people who love you, who care about you because ultimately, walking through stuff like that is never easy, but it's so much better to do it with other people. And what I love about Lexi, you specifically, is I know that you're super involved your community at Switch in real life and Switch Online. But I know that there might be others of you that are watching this video who don't have that community. And this is why we exist, as a movement of students from around the world and across the country to help you find people that are moving closer to Jesus that you can walk alongside. And so a great opportunity is to just check us out on Switch Online. We've got services all throughout the week. You can click on the link in the description to get connected there. And hopefully by taking that step, you can find some really, really great friends that will walk through life with you. So that's all I got. Arianna, anything else?
— I don't think so.
— Cool, awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us for Culture Makers. We will be back next week. Make sure if you haven't already, like, comment, subscribe. We look forward to getting to talk with you more.