Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Be of good cheer!"

Peanuts rivals Calvin & Hobbes as my favorite ever comic strip. I grew up with Peanuts and when, in 1964, The Gospel According to Peanuts appeared I was enormously pleased. By then I was Christian by conviction not just culture, and happy to find that one of the most popular phenomena of popular culture could be associated with the faith. The book was written by Robert L. Short and illustrated by selected panels from Charles Schulz's strip. Frankly, I've browsed the book looking at the cartoons far more often than I have read Short's text. The example below is from page 11, and although it isn't used in the book to illustrate the passage from James, it seems to me obvious those verses are what Schulz had in mind.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
(James 2:14-17, ESL)