Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Mirror For the Soul by Alice Fryling 

I became interested in the Enneagram several years ago when I first was introduced to 41s5KK3HBRLthe ministry of spiritual direction. It is one of many tools that can help individuals know themselves better, and can help teams of people to know each other better.
As a qualified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, I am familiar with the concept that knowing ourselves (and our spouses, and our team members) is always a good thing. And while any two evaluative tools will have some overlap, each has its value. Up to this point, I had struggled to understand the Enneagram as one of these tools.  I had attended a seminar, as well as done some reading on it, but had neither grasped the tool well nor been able to find a clear application for Christians.
Some Christians have been reticent to use the Enneagram for a variety of reasons. (Some have been reluctant to use other tools, too, but the push-back against the Enneagram seems to have been more pronounced.)  A follower of Jesus who reads Mirror For the Soul will find his or her fears assuaged, as Alice Fryling integrates her very helpful teaching on the Enneagram with her solid Christian faith in such a way as to disarm the critic and to encourage the believer who is considering using the Enneagram to understand himself or herself more fully.
The book helps the reader understand each aspect of the Enneagram in the most basic way, so that even someone with no knowledge of the instrument can grasp the concepts clearly. Helpfully, Alice Fryling also includes questions for personal reflection and/or group discussion at the end of each chapter, along with a brief Scripture passage and questions relating to it and the portion of the Enneagram just studied.
The book concludes with a brief treatise on how to use the Enneagram in spiritual direction, and some helpful external resources.
Perhaps the one unusual but singularly helpful aspect to the book is that there is no inventory included to help the reader discern her or his own Enneagram number. Instead, the author encourages the reader to review descriptions given in each section so that the reader has to think through, prayerfully, which Enneagram number may be most descriptive.
I highly recommend this book if you are seeking an easily-understood unashamedly Christian take on the Enneagram.
Disclaimer: The reviewer was given a pre-publication copy of the book for the purpose of this review. 
Mirror For the Soul, by Alice Fryling – published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2017.
Biblical Messages

Plans to prosper?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for IMG_0781disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen. – Jeremiah 29.11-12, NLT

I have been grateful for this series, inspired by Pastor Craig Groeschel, in which we have looked at some passages of Scripture that get misused from time to time.  Too often, we get stuck in eisegesis instead of exegesis (watch or listen to the message to learn what these mean!).  We want to mine from the text what God wants to tell us, not impose our agenda on the text.

Have a listen, or watch the Facebook feed (no account needed).

Encouragement From The Word

Look for solutions

Readers in Ontario will know what I mean when I say that this has been a wet summer.  It has rained almost every day here for much of the season.  I have wished on several occasions that we could send most of this rain to our friends in British Columbia (whose firefighters are dealing with wildfires) and Saskatchewan (whose farmers are dealing with drought conditions).  But we can’t.  We can only pray for them.

These nearly-quotidian doses of precipitation have been a real challenge for many families in the community where I live.  Already living with the reality of a high water table, many families’ basements have been severely damaged by the overabundance of rain, needing a place to escape.  Thankfully, ours hasn’t been that bad, but it has required us to be vigilant in listening to the sump pump work.

Because, sometimes, it can’t keep up.

We have tried a solution that we thought to be permanent, but wasn’t, and a couple of others that were temporary.  But a good, permanent solution was needed.

That solution came yesterday, with the installation of two sump pumps that will keep the ground water at bay.  Now, short of a power outage, we defy the rain to overflow from our sump pit!

Living in a church-owned home, while we have input into these decisions, they are not ours to make.  So we are grateful for a decisive Board of Managers, which seeks to take action quickly in order to preserve the integrity of the house, not to mention our personal effects.

The learning experience in this, for me, is an important one:  don’t just state the problem, look for solutions.  Often, if a little thing goes wrong in our house, I will simply fix it myself.  But I don’t have a degree in sump pump-ology; this one was a bit past me.  But thankfully, our team members know people who have experience in this area, and once we got the right people on the job, it was fixed, and we can rest confident that the problem is taken care of.  We can also rest quietly, knowing that the problem has been taken care of with pumps that make less noise!

When you face a problem, whether in your own life or in your church or any other organization to which you belong, don’t just state the problem, look for solutions.  And lean on others who have experience in the field.  It’s a constructive way to move forward.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3.5, NLT).


Biblical Messages

Do Not Judge?

This week, as we look at passages of Scripture that get twisted around, we come to the most commonly quoted Bible verse today:  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”  This is from Matthew 7.1-5.  We also read 1 Corinthians 5.9-13.

Have a listen, or watch the Facebook Live video feed below.


Encouragement From The Word

One More Time

“Your father has a proposal to share with you,” said my mother, sheepishly, one day last month when my parents, my wife and I met together in a coffee shop.

“We’d like to go camping with you,” said Dad.

He had given this considerable thought, obviously, and was going to look into renting a motor home.  My wife suggested that it might be cheaper to rent a Kamping Kabin at a KOA campground.

After some research, the combination of available dates for us, my parents, and the various campgrounds I called left us with the opportunity to spend two nights at the KOA near Barrie, Ontario, where Mom and Dad would have a Kamping Kabin that was suitably air-conditioned.  (It even had satellite TV, which borders on ‘glamping’!)

The accommodations were secondary, though, to the time spent together, which we all enjoyed most.  My wife and I are used to camping in our little camper van with just the two of us, so sharing meals, conversations, and campfires with my parents was different, but reminiscent of my childhood, when we took our 16-foot Holiday trailer to all sorts of Ontario campgrounds, often with family or friends.

Those were fun times.  We are all older now, and health concerns challenge my parents on a daily basis.  Despite that, or maybe because of it, I was very touched that they wanted to participate in the camping ritual one more time.  Rather than relive old memories, though, what we did was more important:  we created new memories.

It’s never too late to create new memories with your loved ones.  Those memories last a lifetime.

Honour your father and mother.  Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20.12, NLT).