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Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine Paperback – September 6, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 8.9.2004 edition (September 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849945267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849945267
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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This is a great collection of essays by a brilliant writer. Although this is not identical with her book by the title "The Whimsical Christian" they are 85% the same.
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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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Dorothy L. Sayers explains the Christian faith by examining the documents by which the Church professes Her faith, the Creeds. Miss Sayers is masterful and straightforward.

Now, the text needs to be re-edited due to a number of typos. I have already alerted the publisher to this need and after two months have had no response.

Please buy the book, start a reading group, and read this book now.

It is impertinent to agree or disagree with a doctrine or philosophy of which one is basically clueless. Agree or disagree only when you have the facts and can do so from knowledge.
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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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I read the book because I am a huge fan of C. S. Lewis, and I know that he and Dorothy were friends.

Some essays in this book were absolute gold, such as "The Dogma is the Drama," but the majority of them I didn't care to read at all, such as "Toward a Christian Esthetic." The book still had some great insights and is worth reading.
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