Faith and the Great Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thursday night with our youth group, we’re looking at the classic 1966 short film: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

I’ve seen the film several times, but watched it today as if for the first. Somehow, in all those viewings, I missed its commentary on faith. For we see in the story four different attitudes people have about faith.

The first, and most prominent, attitude is that of Linus’. Linus has a rock solid, unshakable faith. It’s not an easy faith, however, and he endures many hardships, as he lives out his belief in the great pumpkin. We see that his friends desert, and ridicule, him, even his best friend. Regardless, he still believes. Nothing can shake his faith. He’s also a bit of an evangelist. He’s throughout the story he’s telling others of the great pumpkin regardless of the scorn.

Secondly, we have Charlie Brown. Like many, Charlie Brown would have faith, but he needs it in writing first. His attitude is that he’s only going to believe in what can be proven. If he can get it in writing he’ll believe. We see this lived out when he goes to play football with Lucy. We know that Lucy always pulls the ball away at the last minute and he ends up on his back. Charlie Brown knows this too. He’s wise to her antics. However, with a written signed note stating she will not pull the ball away; his faith in the game is renewed. Sadly, a loophole crushes him and he ends up on his back again. What seemed to be the proof he needed was worthless.

With Lucy we see the attitude of the skeptic. She doesn’t believe in anything. What’s more, she finds belief foolishness and a waste of time. For her there are far better things to focus on, like trick or treating and parties. Lucy lives for the carnal self with no thought to anything beyond her experience.

Finally, we have sweet innocent Sally. Sally is driven by her romantic feelings for Linus. She wants the fun of candy and parties, but her love for Linus drives her to sit in the pumpkin patch waiting for the great pumpkin. She lets the person she loves dictate her beliefs. They aren’t her beliefs, but she’ll follow along believing whatever her loves tells her is true.

So which one of these four are you?

Do you have solid unshakable faith?

Or are you waiting for something you can get in writing?

Or are you the skeptic believing there is nothing worth believing in?

Or are you waiting for the person you love to tell you what to believe without investigating it for yourself?