Pete Enns & The Bible for Normal People

emotional intelligence and thinking about God

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

EIHere is a link to a recent Huffington Post article, “10 Things Emotionally-Intelligent People Do Not Do.” 

It got me thinking about how this issue of emotional intelligence can translate into how we think—and talk—about God, especially when we disagree, which at least on the Internet is most of the time.

Number 4  connects with me the most: Emotionally intelligent people “don’t think that being fearful is a sign they are on the wrong path.”

I can “translate” this as “Don’t be afraid of possibly being wrong, because being wrong is normal and part of spiritual growth.”

What I like about this post that the focus is on us—how we process the exchange—rather than focusing on changing the other. And that reminds me very much of what Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating say about binary or hierarchical thinking:

In the spiritual life, there aren’t too many absolutes I can make, but this is certainly one. On the spiritual journey, the message is always to you. The message s always telling you to change. 

Now, what most people do is they use religion to try to change other people. It’s always someone else that needs changing. No. Stop it. Once and for all. Whatever happens to you in your life is a message to you. 

Oh the ego wants to avoid that. So we look for something out there to change–somebody not like me is always the problem.

Fr. Richard Rohr, public lecture, Men and Grief (see also here)

Mythic Membership Consciousness: The unquestioned assimilation of the values and ideas of one’s social group; overidentification with one’s family, ethnic, or religious community from which one draws one’s identity and self-worth, and conformity to the group’s value systems. It is characterized socially by the stratification of society into heirarchical forms. 

Fr. Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation, p. 146

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