Sunday, October 9, 2011

I See... the Gospel According to Chicken Run

Gospel principles can pop up in the strangest places if you are looking for them. One of the strangest places of all is the award-winning G-rated movie, “Chicken Run.”

“Chicken Run” is the clever claymation tale of chickens trapped in a WWII POW-style chicken coop. Their leader, the female “Ginger,” has dedicated her life to one noble goal: escape for herself and her fellow fowls. What follows is a series of amazingly creative plans and attempts to fly the coop and seek greener grass on the other side, the world outside the fence- freedom.Besides being just a crafty collection of events that engagingly mimic and make fun of the some of the greatest escape movies of all-time (Stalag 17, the Indiana Jones series, The Great Escape, etc.), there are several hidden, embedded references to how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless our lives if we live according to its teachings. I detected this amazing quality of the movie as a busy bishop ten years ago when it was first released, and used it at an impromptu fireside for the young adults at our home. I'm sure they thought I was crazy, but I got the point across.

Ginger's situation is similar to ours in sooo many ways; we should be dedicating our lives to one noble cause: freedom. Most importantly, freedom from sin and oppression. Among other precious gospel gems, the movie teaches to willing students that freedom from oppression and sin is costly, but continual efforts are worth the price. It's inherently difficult to draw valuable life lessons from movie passages quoted out of visual and audio context, so I recommend you rent or purchase the movie yourself (I recently discovered it on sale in the five-dollar aisle bin at Wal-mart). However, here are a few excerpts, accompanied by their gospel principle translation:

Ginger, lecturing the other chickens on the meaning of life:

Ginger: So, laying eggs all your life, then getting plucked and .roasted is good enough for you?

Babs: It's a living.

Ginger: The problem is the fences aren't just round the farm, they're up here in your heads. There is a better place out there somewhere beyond that hill. It has wide-open spaces and lots of trees. And grass. Can you imagine that? Cool, green grass.

Translation: Faith drives out fear. Do not settle for anything less than the divine destiny God has prepared for you.

Rocky, the flying rooster, instructing chickens on what it takes to get airborne:

Rocky: So, you want to fly? Well, it ain't gonna be easy. And it ain't gonna happen overnight, either. Flying takes three things. Hard work, perseverance, and... hard work.

Fowler: You said "hard work" twice!

Rocky: Because it takes twice as much work as perseverance.

Translation: Achieving freedom from sin and oppression is hard work. Hang in there and repent.

Ginger asking Fowler, the RAF chicken mascot, to fly the plane they have built over the fence to freedom:

Ginger: You have to fly it. You always talk about "back in your day." Well, today is your day.

Translation: Stop procrastinating. Now is the time to accomplish great things.

Fowler inspiring the chickens to pedal the the plane they have built across the fence to freedom:

Fowler: Keep pedalling. We're not there yet. You can't see paradise if you don't pedal. Put your drumsticks into it.

Translation: Don't give up. The hard work you put into living a life worthy of eternal life will be worth it.