Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Quality of Christian Work

A longish quote from Sayers:
The Church's approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, an to come to church on Sundays. What the church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon his is that he should make good tables. church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly -- but what use is all that if in the very centre of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table-legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made heaven and earth. No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself; for any work that is untrue to its own technique is a living lie. Yet in her own buildings, in her own ecclesiastical art and music, in her hymns and prayers, in her sermons and in her little books of devotion, the Church will tolerate, or permit a pious intention to excuse, work so ugly, so pretentious, so tawdry and twaddling, so insincere insipid, so bad as to shock and horrify any decent craftsman. And why? Simply because she has lost all sense of the fact that the living and eternal truth is expressed in work only so far as that work is true in itself, to itself, to the standards of its own technique. She has forgotten that the secular vocation is sacred. Forgotten that a building must be good architecture before it can be a good church; that a painting must be well painted before it can be a good sacred picture; that work must be good work before it can call itself God's work.
--Creed or Chaos?

There's much to be said on this topic, but it's dinnertime here. More as time (and my work!) permits.

1 comment:

Bernard Brandt said...

Dear Darwin:

Much has been happening lately around my neck of the woods. Do please check out my weblog. One question that I'd like to know the answer to is: do you want to report on your late father's funeral first. If so, I'll refrain from posting regarding that. If not (from personal experience), I entirely understand. Sorry to bother you.