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A 2009 Book
Growing into our essential humanity is explored using Biblical stories and the enneagram heritage – crafted for Christian groups but applicable to all religions practices.
Religion / Spirituality
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The Stories of Jacob are among the most intriguing and beloved stories of the Bible. Jacob is an ordinary figure who struggles with all the mundane issues of sibling rivalry, survival, marriage, work, intrigue and counter-intrigue, cheating and being cheated, enmity and reconciliation, fear and courage, and more. The title of this book is taken from the story about Jacob as a young man, forced to leave home and journey alone to a place he has never been. On the way he has a dream about a staircase or ramp stretching from where he is sleeping to Eternity. Angels are coming down and going up this apparently huge ramp. We no longer have to dream in this two-story, up-and-down imagery. Fresh religious metaphors can point to the same experiences. Like Jacob, we can discover our true soul, our true nature, and begin our journey toward full realization.
The Ferment of Spirit Realization: In spite of the horrors of our times (reactionary religions, reactionary politics, and reactionary economics), we live in a period of inner resurgence, creativity, and transition toward a more realistic humanity. There is a deep ferment among people – Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, as well as Christian. This ferment extends to spirit and psychological teachers such as A. H. Almaas and others. This book views this ferment through the perspective of Christian language and narrative, yet it is a guide toward realizing the essential humanity we share with all members of our species. It is about our journey from despair, malice, and bondage to Trust, Love, and Freedom. It is about experiencing more fully what these power-words mean in our daily experience. It is about “sanctification” as an unending journey into the mystery and wonder of our human grandeur. It is about more perfectly worshipping God, where “God” is a devotional word for Reality with a capital “R” rather than a divisive doctrine of the human mind.
The Enneagram of Nine Personality Types is used to help us understand the nine basic ways that human beings can fall away from our common-treasure of human essence. The Enneagram heritage can also assist us to view and realize nine shining faces of the one diamond of our essential Being. The ancient Sufi mysticism that birthed the Enneagram vision describes the same “Holy Spirit” that the apostle Paul was pointing to with Trust, Love, and Freedom. Strange as it may seem at first, the major aspects of Trust, Love, and Freedom correspond with the nine points on the Enneagram chart. Probing these topics is intended to be an aid in lighting the path for the unique journey that each of us can make in returning Home to our essence from the far countries of our prodigal living. This can bring the meaning of “sanctification” down to Earth as a daily step-by-step opening to our ordinary but profound humanity.
About the Author
Gene W. Marshall has been on his own spirit journey for at least fifty-seven years. In 1952 he made a decision to leave a mathematics career and attend seminary at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. In 1962 he joined a religious order of families, the Order:Ecumenical, and became a teacher and lecturer of spirit topics, traveling across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. These trips included a study of world cultures and religions and efforts to witness to the Christian breakthrough in the medium of these various cultures.
In 1983 he began publishing books and essays. Most of this publishing was done for small groups and limited constituencies who were open to an innovative approach to Christian practice. Nevertheless, these publications are broad in subject matter – a dialogue with world religions, the history of Christian practice, contemporary psychology, the ecological crisis, human and planetary history, physics, biology, and strategies for cultural-political-economic transition toward a more viable human presence on this planet. This combination of social breadth and inward depth is present in this book and in other writings by this author. Gene Marshall now lives with his wife Joyce in an energy efficient straw-bale home in Bonham, Texas, which is also, a meeting place and the office of Realistic Living, a nonprofit research and educational organization staffed by this couple