Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington , M. Div.

For my course “Introduction To Philosophy”, I chose the textbook “Philosophy: An Introduction To The Art of Wondering” by James L. Christian which was at the time (1990) in it’s Fifth Edition.  I had never been a cartoon fan even as a child and it was in teaching this course that I really discovered the Peanuts cartoon.  Christian makes extensive use of the Peanuts characters and the work of Charles Schulz to teach Philosophy.  I soon discovered that this cartoon had been running since 1950; and is counted among the most popular and influential cartoon strips in history.  That at it’s height it ran in over 2,600 newspaper in 75 countries; 21 languages; 355+ million readership; then, to the big screen!  So now, in this space in time, a ‘Peanuts Christmas’.

This 3 part continuation ‘speaks to me’ having come from a large family of siblings.  It starts in the First strip with Charlie Brown in the secretary’s position to Linus— dictating his letter to Santa.  Linus: “Dear Santa Claus”.  As Charlie stays diligently on task at writing Linus says, “It has come to our attention that you base your giving on the the deportment of the individual child…”  Charlie looks up out of one eye but remains on task.  Linus says, “In other words, you judge as to whether the child has been good or bad.  Do you really think it is wise to attempt to pass such judgement?”  Charlie is still writing.  Linus says, “What is good?  What is bad?  Can we say to our neighbor you are good?  You are bad… I am good?  Can we say…”  Charlie puts the pencil down and props up his face with his hands and says “Oh brother.”

A 2nd  strip followed to continue the setting and dialogue.  Linus says, “To go further into this matter of the gifts you bear, Dear Santa…”  Charlie is back to pen and paper.  Linus:  “If perchance, you judge a little child as too ‘bad’ to receive any toys, are you not also judging his parents?”  Charlie has his tongue out working hard at writing this letter.  Linus says, “And if you judge the parents, then are you not also judging the remainder of the family?  The innocent brothers or sisters, as the case may be?”  Charlie is still working on the letter.  Linus says, “In other words, Dear Santa, must I suffer for the deeds of…”  In walks Lucy with a loud “Ah Ha!”  Charlie Brown puts the pen down.

Then a 3rd strip follows in the same setting with Lucy now having joined them.  Lucy is now all up in Linus’ face, “I heard what you were saying in that letter!  A fine brother you turned out to be.”  Charlie Brown is looking at this confrontation.  Linus says, “Look, I was only trying to tell Santa that I didn’t think he should pass up our house, and not leave me any presents just because of you.”  Charlie returns to review what he has written.  Linus continues, “If he thinks you’ve been bad all year, why should I suffer?”  Lucy is without words.  She turns and looks at Charlie.  Charlie says, “Don’t look at me… I’m only the secretary!”

And then there’s the one where Lucy and Linus are holding hands and Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “We’re brother and sister and we love each other.”  Charlie says, “You’re hypocrites, that’s what you are!  Do you really think you can fool Santa this way?”  Still holding Linus’ hand Lucy says, “Why not?  We’re a couple of sharp kids, and he’s just an old man!”  As they stroll off Charlie is left with his head against a tree saying, “I weep for our generation!”

by email: