Continuing my studies in the thought of Dorothy Sayers, she never ceases to amaze me at her very common-sense approach to defending the faith. Though described as a reluctant prophet by her biographer, she was fearless in what she had to say about the state of the Church during her life. Her thinking on what it takes to have a Christian society involves not only an outspoken conviction on doctrinal truths, but a view of work that more closely aligns with the teachings of scripture. She wrote,
Nothing has so deeply discredited the Christian Church as her squalid submission to the economic theory of society…I believe, however, that there is a Christian doctrine of work, very closely related to the doctrines of creative energy of God and the divine image in man. The modern tendency seems to be to identify work with gainful employment; and this is, I maintain, the essential heresy at the back of the great economic fallacy which allows wheat and coffee to be burnt and fish to be used for manure while whole populations stand in need of food. The fallacy being that work is not an expression of man’s creative energy in the service of Society, but only something he does in order to obtain money and leisure…
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 man may do with his whole heart, and that he shall do it for the very work’s sake.
This view of work, tied directly to the Imago Dei, is one which gives meaning to the mundane and taps directly into the creative passions of individuals. It also provides a moral framework for those who may not be creatively employed, but certainly gainfully employed in a position that doesn’t quite offer a sense of fulfillment. We all know what those jobs are like, and it’s Sayers’ goal to help us see how to work Christianly in those as well. [Read more…]