Coming in November is a book that I alluded to a year back: A Charlie Brown Religion: The Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz, by (AAUGH Blog reader!) Stephen J. Lind. I’ve been waiting for someone to do a good book along these lines, and from what I’ve seen of Lind’s writing in the past, he is capable of doing good work. Lind’s an academic; this book is being published by The University Press of Mississippi. I don’t have a preorder link yet, but I’ll let you know when it’s available.
The reason this is such a good topic is that so many people get it wrong. Schulz made a lot of statements over the years in a lot of different ways, and people tend to take the one that’s closest to their own beliefs and say “see, Schulz’s beliefs agree with mine”; I’ve seen everyone from fundamentalists to atheists claim him as their own. But what he believed is actually a moving target. This is a man who over his life changed churches, moved into a largely non-church situation, said some deeply religious things at times and at other times said he would be described as a “secular humanist”. He taught and he learned, he grew and he changed; it’s pointless to ask what he believed without asking when he believed it. This journey is reflected in his work, and one can point to periods of Peanuts that show an interest in portraying some form of religious truth, and others that seem aimed more at casting doubt upon one’s certainty. So I’m really interested in seeing what Lind has found, and how he casts it.