The Self-Help Movement That Is Upending American Christianity
The Enneagram has recently found a passionate following in the Evangelical world, drawing young believers steeped in astrology, self-care, and wellness
Sarajane Case remembers the precise moment she severed her lifelong relationship with Christianity. Her uneasiness had been building over time, sparked by the realization that her queer friends were not at home in the church she loved. But the end came suddenly and quietly: In 2010, at the end of a yoga class, the instructor told Case and the other attendees to thank themselves for showing up.
“That just broke something in me,” she says.
What Case realized in that moment was that she had never truly thanked herself for anything. “Everything I had ever done in my life I was like, ‘All credit to God, everything good is God, I am terrible, anything good in me is God.’”
Case had grown up going to church every Sunday, had attended a Southern Baptist university, and had effectively built her identity around her devoutness. That day in 2010, she realized that religion made her feel she had to downplay her own identity as a form of religious devotion. So she stopped.
Five years later, she was introduced to a self-improvement practice that would fill that newly created spiritual vacuum — a personality typing system that has become wildly popular among young Christians, called the Enneagram.
Today, Case is a well-known figure in the Enneagram movement. She is comfortably situated at the top of an Enneagram online content machine that is dominated and consumed predominantly by Christians. She runs an Instagram account with a following of roughly half a million, Enneagram and Coffee, where she shares a mixture of insight, tips for growth, and fun memes around the constellation of types springing from the personality rubric.
Though derived from an ancient wisdom tradition, and not explicitly Christian, the Enneagram has recently found a…