Incense Rising: The Aroma of Israel’s Fertility

Zacharias

“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.  You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be […]

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New Year Resolution: Better “Out Loud Time”

It’s that time of year again.  Resolutions.  The New Year welcomes full gyms and empty bank accounts. For many Christians it also brings more attention to Bible-reading/devotional plans and “quiet time” discipline. I certainly hope to be more diligent in that respect. The “quiet time” has become stock language for Christians. By it we mean that dedicated time/space where we are alone with God in Scripture and prayer. Drawing from […]

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Violent Night, Holy Night: The War on Christmas is Already Won

“. . . and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne” (Rev 12.4-5). For nearly 200 years we have loved the […]

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You’ve Elected Trump, Now Start Fostering & Adopting

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump.  We live in a “red” state where the Republican candidate could’ve spared 650,000 third-party votes without affecting the outcome.  We could’ve helped loosen the media’s stranglehold on the two-party system.   And we could’ve helped to field more promising candidates in 2020.  In reality, a vote for Trump in Tennessee was 2/3 wasted instead of 100% useful for electing a good president. But, that’s not my […]

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Take Up Your Cross, and Stay There

“In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him and saying, ‘He saved others;  he cannot save Himself.  He is the King of Israel;  let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.  HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM;  for He said, “I am the Son of God.”‘” (Mt 27.41–43) Tell me if […]

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And God said, “Let there be Dark”

At  9am on a bright Friday morning, Roman soldiers crucified Jesus like they’d done a thousand other derelicts (Mk 15.25).  They drove spikes through his wrists or maybe they toenailed his hands.  They likely drove spikes through his heels on either side of the cross. They shot dice for his clothes.  Souvenirs of a Man hung there like a carnival sideshow.  Another day at the office. The execution went normally until noon when something […]

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Nineteen Years a Queen

Tradition suggests bronze or chili pepper roses for our 19th wedding anniversary.  We certainly don’t need another bronze sculpture. You’re not one for chili peppers or flowers so chili pepper roses seemed especially uninspiring.  And you’d rather get your fine jewelry from Target’s clearance rack. So, what’s a husband to do?  This husband can offer what he does least worst: words.  Lots of words.  They may not be as hot or spicy, but I pray […]

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Jesus is Not Color Blind

  White cops, Dead black men. Black snipers, Dead white cops.   White, black, brown, or olive, Cain by any other name is still Cain (Gen 4.1-8).  A spear.  Brother-killer.  The antithesis of God’s son (1 Jn 3.11-12).  The spirit of antichrist that is already in the world (1 Jn 4.3). Most white cops don’t shoot black men.  Most black men don’t snipe cops. Nevertheless, we exchanged God’s world of […]

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“We have celebrities but not saints”

Eugene Peterson wrote in 1983, before the Internet and smartphones: “The puzzle is why so many people live so badly.  Not so wickedly, but so inanely.  Not so cruelly, but so stupidly.  There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture.  We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs.  In famous criminals act out the […]

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Ain’t No Bible on Rocky Top

Tennessee legislators recently sought to make history.  They voted to declare the Bible the official state book of Tennessee that if signed would’ve been the first such law ever in America.  Tennessee has a state tree (tulip poplar), state bird (mockingbird), state butterfly (zebra swallowtail), and state fish (largemouth bass, of course).  Why not a state book? Along with the obvious constitutional concerns, Governor Haslam vetoed the bill citing it “trivializes […]

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