The Dogma is the Drama
June 9, 2014
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[Excerpts from Letters to a Diminished Church, Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Dogma, by Dorthy L. Sayers (1893-1957). © 2004 by W Publishing Group, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. My copy is the ebook version, purchased from Kobo and read on my Kobo ereader and the Kobo app on my Android smart phone.]
Christ, in His divine innocence, said to the woman of Samaria, “Ye worship ye know not what” — being apparently under the impression that it might be desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshipping. He thus showed Himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth century mind . . . . The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular.
It would not perhaps be altogether surprising if . . . 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. If you tell them, they cannot believe you. I do not mean that they cannot believe the doctrine; that would be understandable enough since it takes some believing. I mean that they simply cannot believe that anything so interesting, so exciting, and so dramatic can be the orthodox creed of the church.
Let us, in heaven’s name, drag out the divine drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it upon an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much the worse for the pious — others will pass into the kingdom of heaven before them. If all men are offended by Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended about something that is not Christ and is nothing like Him? We do Him singularly little honour by watering down His personality till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ.