This is my 2nd post about 2016’s books for The Classics Club. I’ll be reading one classic book a month through 2018. Track what I’m reading for the Classics Club here. I’ll try not to include too many spoilers in my review but I may need to discuss some in order to fully review the book. I’ll warn you if I’m going to mention one.
Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
As you can see, gymnurstics are still a real thing in our house!
- Year Published: 1949
- Reread? Or new to me?: new to me
- Number of Pages: 85
- Date Finished: 2/26/16
- Number of Days to read it: 6
- Page/Day ratio: 14.667:1
- Will I reread this?: yes
Reading Creed or Chaos? was a doubly-productive choice for me in February. I managed to check it off my “Finish It Up” reading list as well as using it for Classics Club. Thanks to my friend Julie for lending it to me months ago because, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have managed to have a “classics” book on hand to read in February!
I thoroughly enjoyed Dorothy Sayer’s essays on faith, Christianity, and creeds/dogma. Her writing felt surprising fresh and relevant considering that the essays were written up to around 75 years ago. In particular, I really enjoyed her essays, “Why Work?” and “The Other Six Deadly Sins.” In her essay, “Why Work?”, she reminds us that, “[the] only Christian work is good work well done.” She chastises the church for elevating ecclesiastical work (i.e. church/missionary work) and in the process, denigrating all other vocations. She also points out something that I’ve always thought but haven’t seen written quite so plainly.
The worst religious films I ever saw were produced by a company which chose its staff exclusively for their piety. Bad photography, bad acting, and bad dialogue produced a result so grotesquely irreverent that the pictures could not have been shown in churches without bringing Christianity into contempt. God is not served by technical incompetence; and incompetence and untruth always result when the secular vocation is treated as a thing alien to religion…And conversely: when you find a man who is a Christian praising God by the excellence of his work…Let him serve God in the way to which God has called him….He is there to serve God by serving his work. (p. 59)
In my other favorite essay, “The Other Six Deadly Sins”, she discusses the sad reality that gluttony is really what is driving our economy.
The point is that, without any legislation whatever, the whole [current capitalistic economic] system would come crashing down in a day if every consumer were voluntarily to restrict his purchases to the things he really needed…The sin of Gluttony, of Greed, of overmuch stuffing of ourselves, is the sin that has delivered us over into the power of the machine. (p. 70)
The more Nik and I simplify our lives, the more we realize how little we (and especially our kids) need to be truly satisfied and happy. We certainly aren’t helping the American economy that much, although we do our best to give our money to the local economy as much as we can. I hadn’t thought about this in terms of gluttony (i.e. sin) but it is so easy to get caught up in the “I want, I need, I AM ENTITLED TO” cycle. It’s one reason why I’m glad that we don’t watch TV. I don’t have to fight off the effects of advertising (in that medium at least).
I also recently also listened to an audio version of Whose Body?, the first in Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey series. I really enjoyed that mystery as well so it seems that I may soon become a devoted Sayers fan girl! 🙂
How about you? Have you read Creed or Chaos? or any of Sayers’ other writings? What do you think of her assessment of poorly made religious films or of the sin of gluttony in our economy? Sound familiar, even 75 years later?
In March, I’m reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Am I the only person left in the world who hasn’t read this? If not, would you like to join me in reading it?