A bad play is a bad play, and though, like some bad statuary and abominable stained glass, it may assist the prayers of the faithful, it will do nothing to convince the world at large that the Christian religion is worthy of intelligent consideration. And I am not altogether sure even about the faithful; does bad art really do for them anything that good art would not do better? — Dorothy L. Sayers, “Playwrights Are Not Evangelists”
You probably know Dorothy Sayers as the creator of Sir Peter Wimsey and the murder mysteries he so capably solved. She was also apparently a bit of a Christian theologian. A recent book (2005) by Laura Simmons entitled Creed Without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy Sayers offers reflections on Sayers and loci such as the incarnation, the Trinity, sin and evil, vocation, words and language, women’s issues, and a chapter on creativity and art, which begins with the quote offered above and continues,
Nothing has done more to fasten the stigma of insincerity and stupidity upon the Christian religion,” acknowledged Dorothy L. Sayers, “than the horrid florescence of ‘religious’ art.” Sayers, like many Christian artists, thought deeply about the relationship between the church and the arts. She worried in a letter to the bishop of Coventry that “the reason why one doesn’t expect a professing Christian as such to be witty or intelligent or artistic or lively is that we don’t really believe that God is any of these agreeable things or the source of them.” Laura K. Simmons, Creed Without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005) p133.
My sense is that this is changing among this next generation of Christians. Do you think the whole conversation about being ” emergent,” or even the apparent rise in Reformed theology among the present twenty- and thirty-somethings of Christians is evidence of this?