An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Dorothy L. Sayers on work and vocation and the business of the church

It is the business of the Church to recognize that the secular vocation, as such, is sacred. Christian people, and particularly perhaps the Christian clergy, must get it firmly into their heads that when a man or woman is called to a particular job of secular work, that is as true a vocation as though he or she were called to specifically religious work. The Church must concern Herself not only with such questions as the just price and proper working conditions: She must concern Herself with seeing that work itself is such as a human being can perform without degradation – that no one is required by economic or any other considerations to devote himself to work that is contemptible, soul destroying, or harmful. It is not right for Her to acquiesce in the notion that a man’s life is divided into the time he spends on his work and the time he spends in serving God. He must be able to serve God in his work, and the work itself must be accepted and respected as the medium of divine creation.

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) 'Why work?' (1942)


Baus said...

Sayers gets two things wrong here:
1) inhumane, de-humanizing, unjust labor can yet be service to Christ.
2) the work of the [institutional] church is Word and Sacrament, which teaches the Christian how all of life (even unjust suffering and slavery) can be done in service to Christ. It is not the work of the church to insure 'edifying labor,' but to insure that the Christian is edified in Christ, especially through the worst trials of this life.

Sayers' view needs the crucial correction of the Reformational approach.

Steve Bishop said...

Hi Gregory, thanks for the comments. It's important to remember the context that Sayers is writing in: Anglicanism during WWII. I think she is also confusing the body of Christ with the institutional church. Too many in the UK do that.

I take your point about how even slavery can be done to the glory of God (Eph 6:5-9).