Journeying through ‘With’ by Skye Jethani | Part 2

I’m working through an overview of ‘With” (US | UK | Anywhere else by Skye Jethani, read the previous posts here (Part 1)

The next few chapters in the book relate to deepening the understanding of the postures towards God that Skye introduces in the 1st.

The first posture is;

Life under God

Life under God is a posture that comes close to fatalism, the idea that what will be, will be, apart from that our adherence to God’s will induces his blessing, and conversely, our lack of blessedness is because of our displeasing God.

Skye explains how this view emerges from people attempting to explain the causes for evil or lack of fortune. It can be presented as some form of *primitive” view of God, such as ancient cultures explaining why crops fail, but Skye explains how in a modern society we still can hold the understanding that our business is failling, our children are sick, our country is collapsing all because of our lack of adherence to God’s rules.

Skye says;

“The irony of a life under God is that we are seeking to exert control over God through strict adherence to rituals and absolute obedience to moral codes. It’s Eden’s rebellion all over again. Through our obedience we put God into our debt and expect him to do our bidding in exchange for our worship and righteous behaviour.”

The danger of the christian life being presented as life under God is that when our moralism does not produce the conduct we desire from God dissillusionment quickly sets in. A good example of this is through the “true love waits” type of movement; throughout my youth experiences the common mantra was, that those who wait for sex until married will experience married bliss. Now, I do believe that abstinence before marriage is healthy, fruitful and God’s desire, but sometimes these are shared as principles through which God promises a perfect marriage in response to our adherence.

Anyone who has been married knows that a fruitful-loving marriage takes much more that abstinence in your youth.

To those who are wondering whether denying this posture towards God somehow removes all need to obey God’s commands Skye says;

This is not to say God’s moral instructions are bad. In both the Old and New Testaments it is clear that God issues his commands for our benefit and protection. He invites us to obey so that it may go well with you.”4 His instructions were designed to help us navigate through this world, but when morality slips into moralism, our fears are compounded rather than alleviated.

If Life under God is the posture we take, Skye explains what the role of Christyian leaders are reduced into;

“If blessing or calamity is the result of obeying God’s rules, then keeping everyone in line becomes the paramount mission of religious leaders.

The primary problem of this posture and for Skye, religion is general is that it is predicated on fear and therefore cannot deliver us from the very thing we are seeking to be delivered from; Fear and control.

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