Charleston: Surprises


“Life keeps throwing us surprises. When they are good surprises, we are delighted, but when they are bad, we are caught off guard. But we have a few surprises up our spiritual sleeve as well. Even if the situation turns grim, we have a little back-up plan called faith. We can rely on one rock solid reality: the love of God.” Steven Charleston, Daily Facebook email.

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I have a dear friend who mentioned at a 12-step meeting, “I am all right as long as all of my duck are in a row.” An older gentleman we both did not know piped up, “You will never find all your ducks in a row!” I keep remembering this and share with old and new spiritual friends. I think I can count on my fingers of one hand the times in my life when all of my ducks were in a row.  The out of row ducks are a constant reminder that we are not in control.

Two things seem to help to prepare us for the daily events when our quacking friends no longer line up in a straight line. First, we try to learn about who we are, what our buttons are that people can push and drive us over the edge into a place of discomfort. There are so many ways to try to understand our makeup, what drives us, where our energy is, why we react the way we do, what are our assets and what are our shadows, what makes others the way they are. Perhaps the most used methods are the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator Test, dream work, and the Enneagram.

Secondly, Bishop Charleston tells us we have more spiritual surprises up our sleeves than we can count to deal with these old and new situations:  a connection to God by innumerable spiritual disciplines, a rule of life, a multitude of forms of prayer, a worshiping in community, a constant call to reach out of ourselves and connect to others, and so much more.

 God continually offers us the opportunity and by grace leads us to move from victor to survivor to hero.

Here are just a few books teaching us about our personality.

David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence.

Otto Kroeger, Type Talk: The Sixteen Personality Tyles That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work.

Don Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types.

Richard Rohr, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.

Joseph Howell, Becoming Conscious: The Enneagram’s Forgotten Passageway.