“Fancy” by Reba McEntire
40 Days of Country – Song #24 – Lent 2016
Sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Country,” Reba McEntire is best known for her string of country music hits in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Not only has McEntire had an award-winning career as a country music singer, she has also experienced some acting success, with appearances in feature films and her work on sitcom, “Reba,” earning her a Golden Globe nomination.
In 1991, Reba McEntire released one of the most successful (albeit, controversial) songs of her career, a cover of Bobbie Gentrie’s 1969 song, “Fancy,” about a young, poor woman who overcomes her own circumstances and poverty to become a self-made socialite. While “Fancy” begins the narrative living, “in a one, room shack,” by the end of the song, through her wit, determination, and feminine charm (in truth, the song implies prostitution), she, “ain’t had to worry ’bout nothin’ for nigh on fifteen years.” While the song attempts to unravel some of the complexities and injustices faced, especially, by single women living in poverty, it has also been celebrated as a piece of feminist liberation.
Far from judging the title character of the track, “Fancy” may be surprised to find some female heroes in the biblical narrative that share her experience. First, in the book of Joshua 2:12-13, Rahab, a prostitute living in Jericho, assists Jewish spies on the following terms, “This is because the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now, I have been loyal to you. So pledge to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal loyally with my family. Give me a sign of good faith. 13 Spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with everything they own. Rescue us from death.” As a result, when the walls of Jericho “come tumbling down,” Rahab and her family are spared. Later in the Old Testament, the book of Esther tells the story of how one young girls marriage to a foreign king eventually saves not only her own life, but the lives of her entire people. We may not always know the future God has planned for us, but like “Fancy,” even those in the most unlikely of circumstances can overcome their condition and be used for greatness.
Liberating God, we confess to the brokenness of our world, and ask forgiveness for any role we may have played, through our silence or through our action, for the injustices faced by so many living today. Help us become agents of hope for your mission of liberation to all people. Amen.