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Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849945267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849945267
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dorothy Sayers is the author of the famous "Lord Peter Wimsey" detective series. A graduate of Oxford University, Sayers was an associate of C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Williams. Dorothy Sayers lived from 1893-1957.

More About the Author

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was a playwright, scholar, and acclaimed author of mysteries, best known for her books starring the gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Born in Oxford, England, Sayers, whose father was a reverend, grew up in the Bluntisham rectory and won a scholarship to Oxford University where she studied modern languages and worked at the publishing house Blackwell's, which published her first book of poetry in 1916.

Years later, working as an advertising copywriter, Sayers began work on Whose Body?, a mystery novel featuring dapper detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Over the next two decades, Sayers published ten more Wimsey novels and several short stories, crafting a character whose complexity was unusual for the mystery novels of the time.

In 1936, Sayers brought Lord Peter Wimsey to the stage in a production of Busman's Honeymoon, a story which she would publish as a novel the following year. The play was so successful that she gave up mystery writing to focus on the stage, producing a series of religious works culminating in The Man Born to Be King (1941) a radio drama about the life of Jesus.

She also wrote theological essays and criticism during and after World War II, and in 1949 published the first volume of a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy (which she considered to be her best work).

Dorothy Sayers died of a heart attack in 1957.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Readers of C.S. Lewis are sometimes surprised to learn that his popular book, Mere Christianity, was adapted from BBC wartime radio "broadcast talks." Dorothy L. Sayers, known for her Lord Peter Whimsey detective novels, also penned dozens of pamphlets, essays and broadsides, many adapted from her popular talks. Her subject is similar to fellow Anglican Lewis: the role of the Church in wartime, but her approach is somewhat different than Lewis'. In "Creed or Chaos" and "The Dogma is the Drama" she argues for the excitement of doctrine, oxymoronic as that may seem, but she does so in scintillating prose: "We have effectively pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him 'meek and mild' and recommended him as a household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies." In other essays she probes the nature of creativity, drawing on her own experience as an author and playwright to illuminate her views.

This collection does not exhaust Sayers' essays, but collects seven from her 1947 book, Creed or Chaos, and other works including Unpopular Opinions, and Begin Here. This collection also seems hastily edited, with numerous typos. The book cover reads, "Includes discussion questions," which seem to have been inadvertently omitted. Nevertheless, reading Dorothy L. Sayers is an unforgettable experience, and this volume provides a good introduction to a fascinating and provocative thinker and writer. Essays include: 1. The Greatest Drama Ever Staged; 2. What Do We Believe?; 3. The Dogma is the Drama; 4. The Image of God; 5. Creative Mind; 6. Creed or Chaos; 7. Strong Meat; 8. The Other Six Deadly Sins; 9. Christian Morality; 10. The Triumph of Easter; 11. Why Work?; 12. Toward a Christian Esthetic; 13. The Faust Legend and the Idea of the Devil; 14. A Vote of Thanks to Cyrus; 15. The Writing and Reading of Allegory; 16. Problem Picture.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John Dekker on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This edition contains some of Dorothy Sayers' best pieces, including several that every Christian should read. Unfortunately, the editing is very poor in this volume, and the book contains numerous typographical errors. The first half of the address "Creative Mind" is inexplicably missing.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm VINE VOICE on July 13, 2009
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As I read this collection of essays, there were many occasions when I had to remind myself that they were written before and during World War II. Sayers' prescience rivals that of Chesterton and C.S. Lewis. She observed societal trends in England and accurately projected where those trends would lead. Those same trends are operating within the United States and the rest of the West. She is not shy about pinpointing the causes of these trends, the clear remedy for these social ills, and the Church's failure to lead the way to human freedom and wholeness.

It is clear that the Church is still largely diminished, especially in the northern hemisphere. The only hopeful signs in the Church today are coming from the global south, where people are coming to a vigorous faith in Jesus and are carrying out the life implications of that faith. Readers will find this book disturbing, convicting, inspiring, and empowering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cincinnatus on August 6, 2010
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Dorothy Sayers had a magnificent mind and she brilliantly analyses some of the problems that infect the Christian church today as well as when she first penned them. A very readable and timely book
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John T. Mulqueen on September 12, 2010
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This collection of Dorothy Sayers' writings and speeches on the role and vitality of Christianity in 20th Century Britain and Western Europe is a must read for anyone who likes good writing. Ms Sayers defends and explains the case for a traditional view of Christianity with wit and intelligence and flair, even if some of her arguments are too academic and other worldly, see especially her discussion of the importance of everyone elevating work almost to a spiritual exercise, where pay is a distant concern. For most people that will never be true. This ia a quibble. The essays are wonderful, even if the editing of the book is below standard.
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