The car in front of me during my commute to work had three bumper stickers. One read: “Keep Church and State Forever Separate” (which I agree with, maybe not in the same way as the driver though). Another read: “Beware of Dogma”. The third was a Mark Twain quote: Faith is believing things I know ain’t so.” These made me think of a Dorothy Sayers essay entitled “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged”.
If you’re not familiar with Sayers, she was an English writer from the first half of the 20th century. Her essay “The Lost Tools of Learning” is one of my all-time favorites. She wrote on many topics and in many genres, but is popularly known for her detective novels featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. She was a frequent part of the informal band of writers called The Inklings.
So I am going to post a paragraph a day, for the next twelve days, from her essay “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged.” My own little Twelve Days of Christmas. Because it’s a apt musing for the Christmas season. And I think she whimsically and winsomely addresses the snarky attacks that Jesus and his way, Christianity, regularly receive.
“Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as a bad press. We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine—dull dogma as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama.”