The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers — Book Review

In case you have not heard of Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957), she was an English crime writer and poet.  She was also a Christian.  In this book, she maintains that, as humans, we can only understand God through analogies or metaphors that reflect human experience.  For example, we have been taught to think of God as a Father — the perfect Father, of course, with attributes that are recognizable to us as children with parents.  Another analogy is one we have been exploring this month — the Shepherd and his sheep.

The Mind of the Maker uses a less common analogy.  Since God is the ultimate creator, Sayers compares Him to a human artist, most specifically, a writer.  Like God, the writer has a trinity which makes up the creative process.  This trinity is composed of the Idea –as in, ‘I have an idea for a book’ — the Energy –which is the sum and process of writing the work itself– and the Power–the thing that comes back to the author as it is communicated to other readers and produces a response in them.  Each of these parts are separate, yet all are inseparable in the completed book.  If you have a bit of trouble following this, don’t worry, so did I!

Here’s how Sayers explains it:

“…it is the pattern of the creative mind–an eternal Idea, manifested in material form by an unresting Energy, with an outpouring of Power that at once inspires, judges and communicates the work:  all these three being of one and the same in the mind and one in the same in the work.  And this, I observe, is the pattern laid down by the theologians as the pattern of the being of God.”

As a writer myself, I found this to be an appealing metaphor.  To Sayers, the “image of God” in each of us is this trinitarian creative principle.  Of course, it applies not only to writers and artists — it is in our nature as humans to create something.  The difference is that God created the universe out of nothing, while we can only create with things that already exist;  still, we are able to take existing items and turn them into “a new thing.”

If you decide to pick up this book, be warned that it requires deep reading and concentration.  Sayers is extremely logical and detailed in her presentation.  It found it more like reading philosophy than literature.  I’m not sure I would have persevered, had she chosen an analogy that resonated less with my own experience.

Verdict:  Four stars.  Well written, but not for everyone.  If you are a writer, or a logical thinker you may enjoy it.


New Month/New Theme

This month’s theme is one that is often ignored, because we really don’t want to talk about it.  No, it’s not death, but close — stewardship:  or as Beth Anne told me, taking care of God’s stuff.  We don’t like to talk about it because down deep, we can’t bring ourselves to admit it’s God’s stuff.  We fool ourselves into believing it’s ours.  We have money because we got a good job and worked hard.  We’re talented because we recognized an innate ability and developed it.  And time!  Don’t even go there!  Surely any time we can carve out of our busy, productive life is our own.  We’ve earned the right to some relaxation!

The Bible tells us this kind of thinking is dead wrong.  We’re the managers, not the owners, of everything we have, even ourselves.  God made the world, and God made us.  He gives us our daily bread, and so much more.  He expects us to use all these things wisely.

So this month I hope we’ll see lots of posts on our time, talent and treasure.  What are we doing with them?  Are we being good stewards? Are we multiplying them or squandering them?  Are we using them to build up or tear down?  Will we hear the words “good and faithful servant” the day we meet Jesus in eternity?

Of course, at times we may be led to go off topic and post what the Spirit has put on our heart.  We are after all “free in Christ.”  I look forward to this month together.  Readers, don’t hang back.  Use your ideas to encourage us.  We want to hear from you.

Remembering What We Are

“For he (God) knows our frame;  he remembers that we are dust.”  Psalm 103:4

God knows us because he made us.  In Genesis we learn:

“…the Lord God formed man of dirt from the ground, and breathed in to his nostrils the breath of life;  and man became a living being.”  Genesis 1:7

Sometimes we forget who and what we really are.  God created us, and he sustains us.  Our body is fragile and temporary.  We are dust, and in a few short years our time on earth will be over.

On one hand, it can be depressing to realize this;  on the other, it makes our lives precious and meaningful.  Do I really what to delude myself by thinking I am in charge of the world?  Or do I want to make a difference by obeying the one who made me?  Do I want to waste my time acquiring things that don’t matter in the long run?  Or do I want to contribute to God’s plan and hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant?”

Your time here is short.  God knows who you are and what you are?  Do you know Him?