Monday, April 09, 2007

He is risen indeed!

I have to say that my Lent was not as disciplined as I had hoped. I was planning on cutting back on time in the blogosphere and giving up eBay and library reserves so I would have more time to read particular books that had been sitting for a while. Alas, during Lent several blog controversies erupted that I just had to follow online. While I refrained from selling on eBay, I did make several purchases, due to the release of a new wave of gaming pieces that I collect. And I didn't read all the books I had hoped to read, though I did get through quite a few. (I also now have a huge backlog of reserves at the library - over 100 items, with several dozen awaiting me or in transit already.)

I also have to say that Holy Week was a little exhausting, both physically and emotionally. After services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday vigil and Easter morning, I was pretty beat and also experiencing emotional whiplash. (It was also my younger son's 2nd birthday yesterday as well, so we had a combined Easter/birthday dinner with family.) As an Enneagram Seven, I realized anew that Good Friday in particular is a challenge for me. My inclination is to want to have fun and to take joy in life, but Good Friday means that I need to recognize the gravity of Christ's suffering, pain and death, as well as the suffering of the world around us.

So after this Lenten season of refraining from "alleluias," it was a joy to be able to celebrate and declare, "Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!" It is certainly true that we don't fully appreciate the joy of the resurrection without walking through the crucifixion first. At the National Pastors Convention a few months ago, Lauren Winner made a passing remark about how our society tends to deny or minimize death, so we don't really understand how significant the Christian claim of resurrection and new life is.

Ellen and I have been pleased to see how our older son has been engaging the Lenten/Easter journey. We had a Lent banner with readings and felt ornaments each night, and our bedtime Bible story book just "happened" to be timed perfectly for Holy Week and Easter, with stories falling on just the right days, even though we hadn't planned it that way in advance. Josiah really seems to be grasping the uniqueness of the Christian story, that Jesus triumphed over death in a way different from Obi-Wan Kenobi's postmortem appearances in Star Wars.

(Side note: One of our friends from church, Michelle, has started babysitting for us, and Josiah is enamored with her. Just before our Saturday evening Easter vigil service, Josiah told me, "I like Jesus more than anyone." I said, "That's great." Then he said, "But I like Michelle more than Jesus." Oh, boy.)

At any rate, I'm so glad that we are now on this side of the resurrection, both in this particular church year as well as in salvation history in general. And I'm thrilled that our five-year-old can exult with us, "He's risen!" He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!


Anonymous said...

I always find more joy in seasons like Lent after they are over. The reflection back on them make them more meaningful than the hecticness of being in the middle of them.

I'm happy to be on this side of the resurrection as well! (in both ways you mentioned).

P.S. Al, could you explain what you mean by "Enneagram Seven"? I don't believe I've encountered that before?

Al Hsu said...

The Enneagram is a personality type thing that has nine basic archetypes. It has roots in antiquity and is not as psychologically based as the Myers-Briggs. Christian versions of the Enneagram correlate the nine personality types with nine primary characteristics of God, like his love, his creativity, his power, etc., saying that different people tend to image one of these traits. And each of them also have a flip side, a vice that is the inverse of the virtue (which correlate with the seven deadly sins plus two others).

So, for example, Fours are the creative types and reflect God's creativity. But the downside is that creative types can invest too much identity in their creative work and thus are more prone to envy. Ones image God's goodness, excellence and rightness and are often champions for justice, but they tend toward anger and perfectionism. I'm a Seven, whose main trait is joy, and I take delight in God's creation and human experience. The flip side of that is gluttony - not that I just want to stuff myself full of food, but that I want to try everything and collect everything because I don't want to miss out on any experience.

I've found the Enneagram a helpful tool, like the Myers-Briggs - it's given me a lens through which I can interpret how I interact with others and myself. I like that (in its Christian forms) it provides more of a spiritual diagnostic than things like Myers-Briggs or the DISC inventory. I first came across the Enneagram in the book The Gift of Being Yourself and have since picked up Richard Rohr's book on the Enneagram. Hope that helps!

Al Hsu said...

I just updated the post to link to a description of the Enneagram Seven - you can also find out more at

Anonymous said...

Al -- Wow! Thanks for the info, and the link. That helps a lot.

ScottB said...

Ok, I have to ask - what game do you collect?

Al Hsu said...

Heroclix. Basically just DC characters - there are way too many to keep up with, so I sold off all my Marvel figures a while ago.