Chicken Licken and Foxy Loxy

img_2133 Once upon a time, there was a little chicken called Chicken Licken. One day an acorn fell from a tree and hit Chicken Licken on the head. Chicken Licken thought the sky was falling down. So he ran off to tell the king.

On the way Chicken Licken met Henny Penny, then Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Drakey Lakey, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey. Each one in turn joined Chicken Licken in his anxious race to tell the king that the sky was falling down. None of them bothered to ask critical questions of Chicken Licken. img_2135 Chicken Licken’s story was so dramatic, so serious, so believable that they simply bought the whole thing – hook, line and sinker.

By the time they met Foxy Loxy, so absorbed were they by the myth into which they had bought, that there wasn’t even a moment’s critical reflection as to whether it was entirely wise to trust a fox. Like all good children’s fables it ends in a horrible bloodbath.

img_2137The story of Chicken Licken is a parable for our times. Millions believed that the sky was falling down and voted for Brexit; nearly as many millions believe that the sky will fall down because Brexit won. Millions of Americans believed that America was no longer great (that the sky was falling down at a frightening rate) and voted for Donald; even more millions thought that the sky would fall down if Donald got elected and voted for Hillary. Of course, dear reader, neither you nor I engaged in the uncritical mob mentality that seems to have been a significant part of the democratic process on both sides of the Atlantic – or did we? Or do we?

I’ve given up on hoping for anything by way of balance from the UK newspapers. The doom and gloom or utterly fantastic idealism of one side or the other is the stuff of Chicken Licken. Without a doubt we are in changed and changing times. Some of what is emerging in European and American society is, to say the least, not good. We need to do some critical thinking about a Christian response, but it must be framed in the language of hope and not a hope vested in the politics and parties of left or right.

We will hear much from Isaiah this Advent season. Isaiah lived in troubled and troubling times. He had to learn to walk a line that could speak both judgement and hope in the face of the bankrupt politics and injustice of his day. It was a tough call and lest he lose his way…

11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:

12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. 14 He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. (Isaiah 8)

When Peter was writing to the early Christians who lived in an uncomfortable social space (and may have experienced suffering and persecution) he drew heavily from Isaiah including quoting directly from the passage in Isaiah 8.  Just like Peter we need to work out what Christian engagement in our contemporary and troubled world should look like. That engagement must be realistic and face the harsh realities of life, but it must also be infused with hope this Advent season.

4 thoughts on “Chicken Licken and Foxy Loxy

  1. Thanks for taking us back to P1 with this timely, balanced and insightful reminder to infuse with hope our critical approach to the challenges presented by the great issues of the day…

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  2. An exegesis of Chicken Licken and Foxy Loxy,

    This work is evidently a composition from the writings of different sources. The oldest source dated from before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, evidenced in the way Chicken Licken went off to tell THE KING. This source provides us with the original narrative framework. This source was later redacted by an author with an anti-royalist perspective who changes the race to see the King into an ANXIOUS race, suggesting that a visit to the king is something to be feared. This source is also responsible for introducing the idea of a horrible bloodbath. The text than suffered further redaction at the hands of a university lecturer who introduced the terminology of myth and fable. Writing at a time of reform in the British education system, probably under Michael Gove but some have argued for an earlier date during Margaret Thatcher’s regime, this author critiques the instrumentalization of education by repeatedly pointing to the dangers of a lack of critical thinking. The text was then edited by a Democrat editor, who characterised Foxy Loxy as Donald Trump and applied the fable to the political sphere. It then underwent redaction by a preacher, who introduced the references to Isaiah and advent, whilst making the political comment on Brexit and the American elections more neutral in tone. Finally, a New Testament scholar, influenced by NT Wright, concerned with other-worldly interpretations which might be made introduced the reference to Peter and to Christian engagement in the world. The work was finally skillfully weaved together by an excellent editor, providing a unified perspective and the misleading impression that it is the work of a single author.

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