Journeying through ‘With’ by Skye Jethani | Part 1

I’m re-reading Skye Jethani’s book “With” (US | UK | Anywhere else) over the next few weeks, and I like it so much I thought I’d blog through some thoughts as I do. Not quite as in depth as a review, but more a place to repeat and carry forward some ideas that it peaks for me.

In Chapter 1, Skye contends that the disillusionment that is often experienced by those seeking to follow Jesus is not due to a lack of sincerity or not trying hard enough, but that our posture towards God foundationally misled.

When their experience of faith leaves them disappointed, they may falsely conclude that Christianity has failed. In reality, to quote G. K. Chesterton, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” Or perhaps it might be more accurately said of our time that Christianity has not been presented and therefore has been left untried. The result is a generation disaffected and inoculated to the true Christian message.

So what are these misunderstadings of the Christian message? Skye posits them in the following 4 postures taken towards a life in God. The characatures below are mine for the sake of brevity;

  • Life OVER God – An attempt to limit God’s reality by turning to proven formulas and systems of control.
  • Life UNDER God – We are seeking to fulfil our obligations towards God in order that he will bless us.
  • Life FROM God – We are interested in God for what he can do, bless, heal, provide but not God Himself.
  • Life FOR God – A life given over to God’s service (normally in the realm of the sacred such as Christian ministry)

Wait…wasn’t the last one the right one? Not according to Skye Jethani, the last posture is often the most celebrated but is not at the foundation of the gospel according to Skye.

when I think about my years in Christian ministry, I must admit that my efforts were largely focused on transferring people from one posture to another with mixed results… the goal of moving people over God to under him and convincing others to start living for God and not just from him.

For Skye, the heart of the Christian life is not life from, for, above, under, but with God. What is the intention of God in providing us with the empowering presence of Himself, that we would know the consolation, the peace, joy and so many other things desperately lacking from many experience of the Christian life.

Skye sees the first four postures towards God as attempts, varied as they may be, of control. He unpacks with great simplicity1 how religions exists to reduce the sense of fear in a truly broken and pain-filled world by excercising control. The only problem is that they are not delivering us from it because control is part of the problem and not the solution.

Part II to follow soon

If you want to receive articles like this once a week to your email sign up here, or you can follow the blog on this automated twitter feed to stay up to date

  1. considering his academic training is in comparative religious studies 

2 Comments on “Journeying through ‘With’ by Skye Jethani | Part 1

  1. Liam, “With” impacted me in a similar way. I concur that friendship with God is the highest goal. Effectiveness in task is important, but will flow from being ‘with’, not vice versa.

    It also put Skye on my map, as a thought leader that I look to. Reading Futureville now. I am grateful for men like him, and men like you who continue to see the true north, and pass on what you are learning to faithful persons.

    • Thanks Jim, futureville is a great book too and it’s such a clear and helpful articulation of how our eschatology impacts our sense of calling and vocation in the kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.