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Charlie Brown vs. Everything Else | Provoketive Magazine
28 Nov 2012

The Author

I am author of the book, "Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World" from Civitas Press. I also contributed an essay to “The Practice of Love: Real Stories of Living Into the Kingdom of God,” under my pseudonym Arthur Dimmesdale. By trade, I am a certified athletic trainer.

I am keenly interested in the theme of redemption and seeing it play out in the Christian community. I'm also intrigued how tragedy affects Christians and how we view it in relationship with the cross. My theology is somewhere between Asahel Nettleton and Bruce Ware.

I'm originally from Arkansas but currently reside in Western Kentucky. I am a husband to my beautiful wife Allison, and a father to three.


Charlie Brown vs. Everything Else

Once again, Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving special outdrew other major programs including the X-Factor and Survivor.

Why is that? The X-Factor is a great show. I’ve actually watched it. It’s a reality show where people compete with great talent to get to get noticed. Survivor? A long running show where people survive on an island. Both are great programming with good networking people behind them.

How can a show that has been airing since the year I was born (1973) beat both of them out in the ratings? And most likely, A Charlie Brown Christmas will probably beat out most programs in that time slot as well.

What’s up with Charlie Brown? Charles Schulz was the crafter of the cartoon and made it come to life with its simplicity in the comic strip. With characters like Lucy, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and others, they made the weekly and Sunday morning comics come to life. They were Americana. They have stood the test of time.

Bring on reality television. They have heartwarming stories, success, drama and tension. They are the norm for today. But apparently, they cannot compete with a show from 1973 for some reason.

I’m sure there are network executives banging their heads against the wall trying to figure it out. Or maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re saying, “Well, it’s tradition. People are watching because it’s part of their heritage. It’s just middle America making sense of life when everything is falling apart.

That may be true. But I think the story of Charlie Brown is more than that. It’s something we can all wrap our hearts around.

It’s the story of a boy who nothing goes right for. A boy who just wants simplicity and joy. Who wants a few friends, a dog and normal relationships. More than that, even when Christmas comes, he doesn’t pick out a giant Christmas tree, he picks out a puny little tree and makes it his own. He’s an underdog.

He’s pure Americana. He represents the underdog of us all. He can’t kick the football because someone keeps pulling it out from us when we try to kick it. He can’t seem to catch the fly ball despite his best efforts. He doesn’t seem to understand the adults in his life because they all seem to say as if through a muffled trombone, “MUUHHH MAHHH MUHHHH MAHHHH MUHHHH MAHHH MUAHHHHH.”

And he says, “Yes, ma’am.”

He doesn’t roll over, he just keeps going. He just wants joy. He just wants that final scene where Schroeder is playing the piano, where Pig-Pen is dancing, where Snoopy is doing the Snoopy dance, where Linus is grasping his towel in joy, and where everyone is happy. He isn’t an apple polisher. He is a person who lives up to his potential and wants complete joy.

That’s what all of us want. A life where all of us are dancing at the end. Where piano music is heard and all of us can dance together.

That piano music is much more enchanting than the X-Factor or any reality television show. And we all soak it in, hoping and wishing for all of it. Hoping to put ornaments on that sorry little tree.


  1. Love this. A beautiful reminder that simplicity is compelling and necessary sometimes for our own sanity. Long live the Snoopy Dance.

    Daisy Rain Martin

  2. I called my younger sister Lucy many times when growing up, and the name did suit her on occasion (I being CB on those occasions). One of my favorites was a Sunday cartoon. In the next to last panel, Linus says, “You know, CB, that life has its ups and downs,” and CB says in the last, “Gosh, I hope so.” I have had cause to repeat that last line to myself many times. It helped pull me out just enough from feeling overwhelmed or set upon. A little laugh at my “drama” and then I can ackowledge, “This, too, shall pass.” In the end for CB, things don’t end glorious but with two-feet-on-the-ground peace and acceptance; it is not resignation but hope that keeps him going: “Maybe I’ll get to kick that football this time.” Good eye, Ray.

    On a different note, sorry, but “reality TV” is not my cup of tea. There is not a single one of them that I have briefly watched that has not left me just a tad sad.

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