Why You Should Watch Chicken Run

Wisdom sometimes appears in unlikely places.

This little claymation film came out in 2000 to great reviews.  Set in the 1950s on Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy’s chicken farm in Yorkshire, England, it is the story of a chick (puns abound) named Ginger. She is determined to escape. The opening scenes are her wildly creative attempts – all of which land her smack in the coal chute.

Ginger is undaunted. And she is resolved to take all her friends, willing or not, with her. When timid Babs indicates she’s, well, chicken, Ginger responds: “So laying eggs all your life, and then getting plucked, stuffed, and roasted is good enough for you, is it?” It’s not good enough for Ginger. Each time Mr. Tweedy releases her from the coal chute, with a kick in the rear for good measure, she immediately calls a meeting of the clan to go over her next plan of escape.

When handsome rooster, Rocky, “flies” in over the fence, the light dawns and Ginger realizes that flying is the only sure way out. After a giant load of ominous machinery appears on the farm, and a future as chicken pies appears likely, things get urgent real quick.

But it is a conversation Ginger has with her fainthearted band of fellow-chickens that I love most about this film. She is earnest, insistent, desperately trying to rally them to try for freedom. “You know what the problem is? The fences aren’t just round the farm. They’re up here, in your heads. There’s a better place out there, somewhere beyond that hill, and it has wide open places, and lots of trees…and grass. Can you imagine that?

The fences are in our heads. And very often they are as strong and effective as steel and barbed wire.

Og Mandino, in his little book, The Choice, writes: “I know what I can do, and I know how little I have done. I have frittered away my opportunities like children at the seashore who fill their hands with sand and then let the grains fall through open fists. It is not too late for me. I was made in the image of God. I was not created to fail. Quit? Never again!”

This does not mean just thinking positive. It may mean we have to build a great big flying machine out of random parts around the barnyard, pedal like crazy, and barely make it over the barriers. But once we’re clear, there are hills and wide open spaces and lots of trees. And the future a God of liberty has planned.

Can you imagine that?

Can you identify the fences in your head? What would it take to overcome them?

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