Work for its Own Sake: A Christian Doctrine

“If man’s fulfillment of his nature is to be found in the full expression of his divine creativeness, then we urgently need a Christian doctrine of work, which shall provide not only for proper conditions of employment, but also that the work shall be such as a person may do with their whole heart, and that they shall do it for the very work’s sake. But we cannot expect a sacramental attitude to work, while many people are forced, by our evil standard of value, to do work which is a spiritual degradation – for example, a long series of financial trickeries or the manufacture of vulgar and useless trivialities”:

[Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos, 1949]

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Rejecting it without knowing what it is

“It would not perhaps be altogether surprising if, in this nominally Christian country, where the Creeds are daily recited, there were a number of people who knew all about Christian doctrine and disliked it. It is more startling to discover how many people there are who heartily dislike and despise Christianity without having the faintest notion what it is…. they simply cannot believe that anything so interesting, so exciting, and so dramatic can be the orthodox Creed of the Church”:

[Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos, 1949]

 

A swaggering, swashbuckling, piratical sin

In an attack on the materialistic culture produced by capitalism, Dorothy Sayers wrote:

“It was left for the present age to endow Covetousness with glamour on a big scale, and to give it a title which it could carry like a flag. It occurred to somebody to call it Enterprise…. It has become a swaggering, swashbuckling,piratical sin… its war-cries are ‘Business Efficiency, ‘Free Competition’,’Get Out or Get Under!’ and ‘There’s always room at the Top!… it gambles and speculates; it thinks in a big way, it takes risks…”

[Creed or Chaos, 1947]

Prediction of the GFC?

The Detective Story and Belief Systems: Dorothy Sayers

Catherine Kenny observed that “the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers demonstrate the curious affinity between detection and a belief system which holds that there is something fundamentally amiss in human relations¬† [or as Sayers said in Creed or Chaos], ‘that there is a deep interior dislocation in the very centre of human personality'”

Catherine Kenney (2013).

Judas as the Ultimate Modern

“An extreme version of one of the basic tendencies in modern life, Judas’s total self-absorption represents the fearful consequences of making man the centre and measure of all things” [Catherine Kenney, The Remarkable Case of Dorothy L. Sayers, 2013, p. 239].

Look around for yourself. Isn’t self-absorption (often leading to outright narcissism) so marked, so representative, of the world around us?

My next essay will be on Dorothy Sayers.

Is Nature Evil?

Charles Raven, an eminent naturalist and leading Christian writer, said this:

“There has been…a general tendency in Christian thought to regard nature and the natural order, if not as inherently evil, at least as spiritually meaningless… The Catholic anchorite, for whom natural beauty was a snare of the devil, and his Puritan brother, for whom the world was at best a vale of tears. join hands here” [Creator Spirit, 1927].