Item description for The Gospel According to PeanutsÂ (Gospel According To...) by Robert L. Short...
Overview In this unique, engaging book Robert Short examines the insights to be found in the comic strip "Peanuts" and makes an expanded comment on these wonderfully imaginative parables of our times. Highlighting his remarks with selected cartoons, Short looks at the antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, et al. from a Christian perspective, revealing a surprisingly prophetic meaning behind their otherwise hilarious activities. While these lovable cartoon characters have enjoyed an almost unparalleled popularity--becoming pop culture icons of the highest order and entering the global consciousness practically as family members--Short's book also has found a place in the hearts of many readers, with sales now totaling more than ten million copies. Whether coming to the book for the first time or taking a second look, a delightful experience awaits in this modern-day guide to the Christian faith, fully illustrated with Peanuts.
While Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang have enjoyed the kind of success most cartoon characters can only dream about--becoming pop culture icons of the highest order and entering the global consciousness practically as family members--Robert Short's "The Gospel According to Peanuts" also has found a place in the hearts of many readers, with sales now totaling more than ten million copies. This anniversary edition features a new cover, a new interior design, and a new foreword by Martin E. Marty. Whether coming to the book for the first time or taking a second look, a delightful experience awaits in this modern-day guide to the Christian faith, fully illustrated with Peanuts.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.56" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.42" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2000
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
Series Gospel According To
ISBN 0664222226 ISBN13 9780664222222
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to PeanutsÂ (Gospel According To...)?
Great for you and the kids Mar 5, 2005
Seriously. this is so much fun to read with the kids on a lazy day. Like the message of course.
A convincing argument for the use of modern-day parables May 1, 2004
The Gospel According to Peanuts is a truly fascinating little book filled with insight, wisdom, and the type of joy that Christians should naturally espouse. Robert L. Short certainly does not argue that every single Peanuts cartoon carries a theological message, but he offers up an amazing selection of comic strips that do in fact encapsulate a number of important Christian beliefs. He begins the book with a justification for Christians embracing the arts as a means of spreading the Gospel to those around them. The fact that Charles Schulz himself was a Christian is, in a sense, immaterial; as Short argues, Christians should embrace all manner of things which will allow them to connect with others in a subtle and less holier-than-thou manner. You can't go around beating people over the head with God and get results, no matter how good your intentions. Engage them in the arts or some other object of mutual interest, and you open up innumerable outlets for Christian witnessing. For those who would scoff at the notion of linking Christianity with comedy, Short reminds us that, to the world, Christianity is itself rather comical. It is a wonderful argument that offers up much food for thought.
In the same vein as the parables of Jesus, Short makes use of dozens of Peanuts comic strips to shed light on a clear and understandable theology, finding many illustrative parallels in the lives of the Peanuts gang. Charlie Brown, in a very real sense, represents Everyman, a jolly good fellow who is always looking for something to improve a life that is, by and large, rather miserable - he never wins, just as mankind, on its own, never wins. Charlie Brown is also prone to moments of great anxiety, a fear of nothingness and emptiness. Short's most memorable comparisons, though, are to be found in the other central characters of Peanuts. Lucy's psychiatric business represents the rather modern fad of humans looking toward psychiatry to solve their problems and to reveal to them why they are so unhappy. Then there is Linus, who tends to try to run away from his problems and finds comfort only in his blanket. In Short's hands, the Great Pumpkin becomes a symbol of popular religious sentiment - Linus says, at one point, that it doesn't really matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. Of course, the Great Pumpkin never appears. Even more interesting is Linus' attitude toward Santa Claus, for, in Short's analysis, it represents the attitude of many professed Christians toward God. As Linus expects to be rewarded by Santa for his good behavior, some Christians seem to believe that by obeying God's commandments and doing good works, God owes them a reward. You can't pretend to be good and get to heaven, Short reminds us. Eternal life is a gift from God that no man can possibly earn on his own merits.
Short also expounds upon the dual nature of God's love, illustrating his argument with comic strips featuring, for example, the positive and negative qualities of rain. He concludes by offering a brilliant analysis of the words uttered so often by Charlie Brown: "Goof grief." Because you must become lost before you can be found and seek before you can find, grief can ultimately be a good thing, thanks solely to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
I was amazed at the insights into Christianity this book delivered. Non-Christians, even the Peanuts fans amongst them, may not enjoy this book because of its tenaciously theological design and purpose, but the truths that can be found in the comic strips of Charles Schulz can very effectively serve as the individual's exposure to and understanding of Christian faith. This is a remarkable book, and its importance goes far beyond its pages. Short shows how modern art and entertainment can help redefine and improve the effectiveness of the church in spreading the message of the Gospel to all men, women, and children.
first and best Jun 6, 2001
This is the first book of theology that I ever read - and what a great introduction to theology! Short pulls out the theology of love and grace, the very human-ness of Christian faith (rightly understood), from the cartoon Peanuts, written by the unique Charles Schultz. This is actually the best introduction to real Christian theology that is available. Tillich, Kierkegaard, Niebuhr, Luther, Kafka, T. S. Eliot, and Karl Barth are only of the people you'll encounter in this splendid summary of essential Christian thought. I have valued this book for years, from when I first read it in high school to when I gave it as a gift to a lay minister in the diocese that I serve when I was consecrated as a bishop. Of all the dull and boring books of theology out there, this one is fun, and one of the best ever!
Good Book. Great Message. Bad Title Sep 8, 2000
I found this book in a church Library and fell in love with it. the more I read the more I realize Short's Excelent perception on human nature and Christianity. I was especially fond of the titles of the chapters including: "The Wages of Sin is "Aaaughh"", and "Good Grief". These Titles and the titles of the book however are going to be offencive to some Fundimentalist Christians. That is a shame because if they read this book they would see how good of an evangelical tool it could be. I hope anyone struggling with their own faith could read this book. It really Pokes fun at human nature.
Wrong, wrong, wrong indeed! Jun 12, 2000
It is, surely, a matter of basic courtesy to an author to read his or her book before reviewing it. The pseudonymous "lexo-2" (see below, six reviews down) knows his Peanuts and his Preachers, and his verdict on Short is "Wrong, wrong, wrong." Well, six months after reading that review I have at last got around to finishing my used-bookstore copy of "The Gospel," and I find myself feeling so annoyed that I simply must respond.
"Whether or not Schulz is a devout Christian I could not say," writes lexo-2. If he had taken the trouble to actually read Short's book, however, he would have found numerous quotations from Schulz himself concerning his religious views. Speaking of a Bible-study group he attended shortly after his return from the Second World War, Schulz says, "The more I thought about it during those study times, the more I realized that I really loved God" (quoted on p. 70). Or again, "I don't even like the expression 'take communion.' You cannot 'take' communion. You are a part of the communion. You are communing with Christ; you are a part of the community of saints" (p. 80). The rhetoric, complete with its anti-Catholic bias against the notion of "taking" communion, is clearly that of a born-again evangelical (in Schulz's case, Church of God). And lest there be any doubt of Schulz's authorial intentions, he is quoted in the very first chapter as saying, "I have a message that I want to present, but I would rather bend a little to put over a point than to have the whole strip dropped because it is too obvious. As a result . . . all sorts of people in religious work have written to thank me for preaching in my own way through the strips. That is one of the things that keeps me going" (p. 20).
Schulz was worried about being too obvious. Clearly he wasn't obvious enough.
Short's book is cogent and well argued; it certainly is not a collection of "homilies." Contrary to what lexo-2 implies, Short does not ignore the darker side of the Peanuts world. Indeed, of lexo- 2's "three phrases," Short uses two or them in chapter titles: "The Wages of Sin Is 'Aaaugh!'" and "Good Grief!" Good grief! Read before you review!
Yes, lexo-2 is quite right that the world of Peanuts is a "sunlit hell, in which the characters never grow, never change, etc." Where he goes wrong is in assuming that Short--a Ph.D. in literature and theology, a man who had taken the trouble to study the cartoon in depth and even write a book about it--couldn't see that for himself. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Short's whole point is that we all live in a "sunlit hell," suffering "unimaginable fears" and "wreaking appalling cruelties on each other," and that we will never escape that hell unless we can find . . . (you guessed it!) the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The salvationist message does not come across too strongly in the cartoon (Schulz did not want to be "obvious") but it just as surely is there, between the lines, in the occasional epiphanies of love and reconciliation that illuminate the otherwise bleak moral landscape of Peanutopia.
You can agree or disagree with the Short-Schulz analysis of the human predicament. Personally, I disagree strongly. But in a world in which evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity have so much influence and power, it simply will not do to be idly dismissive. Indeed, I particularly recommend Short's book to freethinkers of every stripe, if only that they may remind themselves just how subtle and persuasive evangelical discourse can be. There is more, much more, to Short's little book than "pious ramblings" and that is precisely what makes it, depending on your point of view, so inspiring or so insidious.