Is St Paul's a FIVE church? I'm another FIVE and revisiting Richard Rohr on the subject. In "Discovering the Enneagram" he says: "Among the life tasks of FIVEs is learning commitment and action. The temptation of FIVEs is knowledge. For FIVEs knowledge is power. Unredeemed FIVEs think they can secure their lives by being informed about everything in as much detail as possible. But the information they pick up from the outside world and store is never sufficient. The invitation to FIVEs is wisdom. Wisdom is a deep knowledge of the connections of the world and life that must be won not only from thought but at the same time from real-life experience. Wisdom is reflected experience... Meditation and prayer are for FIVEs uncommonly important sources of power. FIVEs have to cultivate the inner world in order to find the courage to devote themselves to the outer world... I encourage all FIVEs to meditate on the Incarnation, that is, the commitment and passion of Christ, his passion for humankind, his readiness to get his hands dirty." Just as our society tends to treat good and evil as opposite ends of a spectrum, rather than divided by only a thin line which runs through the heart of everyone, so I think churches tend to mistakenly treat faith and action as disconnected rather than two sides of the same coin -- Christianity. The failure to act may express relative indifference towards global poverty -- a sin. More likely, I think it is an expression of powerlessness in the face of the scale of the problem, or ignorance. Whatever the explanation, the common symptom is passivity. Building local community I experience as an attempt to grasp the near edge of the problem -- think globally, act locally. But what sort of community and is it enough? I am sometimes disturbed by conversation within the community about global or local concerns that does not lead to collective action -- as if commitment to change is a matter of personal choice rather than community responsibility. I am also concerned by community action that is not informed by "deep knowledge of the connections of the world and life" -- Wisdom. It seems to me that everything into which the church devotes energy and resources needs to be evaluated in terms of what is core activity -- Gospel -- and what is optional. I would say that, if St Paul's is to be something more than an unredeemed FIVE church -- a community of knowledgeable people engaged in interesting conversations -- the community needs both more emphasis on Wisdom and more commitment to action. It needs to be, in Rohr's term, a centre for action and contemplation.

Page Updated October 25, 2020