My Review of Stephen J Lind’s A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M Schultz

26544997This is a spiritual biography of the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, the late Charles Schultz because, as author Lind notes in the introduction of the book, faith was important to Charles Schulz. But the spiritual life, the spiritual journey it chronicles is one that has numerous twists and turns because the spiritual life of Charles Schultz was not, and is not, easily categorized. Too many “howevers” to deal with Lind notes in his introductory remarks.

But it is an  interesting and enlightening book and not just because of the main topic but because Schultz found faith to be important and expressed that belief, as well as bits of his beliefs, through a medium that no one would have ever considered – the comic strips. That journey, chronicled here by Lind, is a key part of this spiritual biography for through the voices and actions of Charlie Brown and company, Schultz dared to raise the issues of meaning and purpose that are a part of human existence. From the anxiety and triumph of the creation and production of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ through Linus’ “misguided devotion” ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,’ Schultz brought the issue of faith front and center in ways that got people to think about faith, God and the like but not necessarily tell them what to think, believe.

A Charlie Brown Religion (University of Mississippi Press, 2015) is a thoughtful and insightful book about one of the great cartoonists of the 20th century. It is a fair and sympathetic portrait about one man’s (one very public man’s) faith and it is also a reminder to us about the place of religion in society and perhaps how to best talk about this often divisive issue. Lind does a very good job of chronicling Schultz’s faith journey from his childhood and early adult days in Minnesota to the remainder of his life in California and the world.

I think A Charlie Brown Religion is a solid read for those interested in Charles Schultz and interested in how faith is expressed and practiced in a public square that is today increasing hostile to faith. I liked this book and my Goodreads rating is four star.

Note: I received an electronic ARC of this book via Net Galley in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

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2 thoughts on “My Review of Stephen J Lind’s A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M Schultz

  1. Sounds like a good book, akin to the books by Robert Short in the 1960’s (“The Parables of Peanuts” and “The Gospel According To Peanuts”), though this book looks more at the cartoonist and less at the cartoon.

    1. Exactly John

      And Short’s book is referenced by Lind in several places. I think that the book is fair in presenting Schultz’s faith as both very personal and complex.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Jim

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