I grew up in California and moved to Texas in 1978, right before my sophomore year of college. Except for a wonderful but brief stint in Atlanta, I have lived in Texas since that time. And I have decided I want to live in Texas until I go to heaven someday. That is a BIG thing for me to admit. We moved from California to Houston in June. I stepped off the train, in downtown Houston, mid-afternoon in June and was certain my parents had brought me to the edge of h-e-double toothpicks. (After Tuesday’s post I thought I had better keep it clean.) We settled into a downtown Houston hotel room and I told my mom I was going for a walk, to check this place out. I stepped into the 100+ degree day, enhanced by the 97% humidity, walked to the corner and was almost instantly hooted at by a guy in a yellow Cadillac with long-horns attached to the hood. (I promise you this is TRUE.) He then honked his horn and it played what I now know is the song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” But that day, my only thought was, “How fast can I get back to California?” I went back to my hotel room, played my James Taylor cassette and cried! But now, 30+ years later, I can finally say that I want to live in Texas forever! The weather has not improved. People still wear cowboy hats and say “y’all. I’m 53 so nobody “hoots” or honks their horn at me – unless they think I’m in their way. This state has snakes, armadillos, and roaches that fly. But this is still where I want to live. Why is that?
The Bible Belt is considered an area in the south that is known for socially conservative evangelical Protestantism. Texas is considered the “buckle” of the Bible belt and if you have seen what Texas considers a belt-buckle, you will know that is a big deal! I am social. I love a good party with good friends and great football. (Do you hear that Dallas Cowboys? GREAT football.) I am conservative. Not as conservative as my Baptist preacher husband, but we’ve only been married 32 years. He is still working on me. I am evangelical. I think people should know Jesus and I think I’m supposed to help them realize that. And I am a Protestant. Several times over. I’ve been Methodist, Presbyterian, in the Christian Church and I dabbled with the Pentacostal church in California. (They had GREAT concerts!) I became Baptist after coming to Texas and I’ve been Baptist ever since. That is what happens when you enroll at Houston Baptist University and end up married to “Mr. HBU 1980.” (Don’t get too excited – that isn’t a pageant or anything.) It may be hard for me to commit to denomination, but I am definitely Protestant. And I’m glad to live in the Buckle of the Bible Belt because my values fit in nicely with this part of the world.
Second, I plan to stay in Texas because Money-Rates.com says Texas is the best state for retirement. I plan on enjoying my golden years and Texas sounds like the right spot for that.
Thirdly, Texans know who they want to vote for. We aren’t a swing state, so we don’t have to watch a continuous barrage of presidential campaign ads. A recent USA Today article points out that both candidates have decided to spend their ad money in the states that haven’t decided who to vote for yet. My word to those states, “Choose ye this day who you want to serve” – or get a really good DVR and record every program you watch. That way you can fast forward the commercials. They will only confuse and annoy you anyway. By the time November gets here, I will probably be looking for the box that says “None of the above.” I’m joking, really I am, well kind of – anyway, I didn’t mention a particular candidate so there is no retraction needed here. Confession maybe – but no retraction. Moving on . . .
Finally, the main reason I want to live in Texas is because it is still popular to love the Lord and love this country. Texans know how to pray – and we know we need to pray. Texans know what it means to be a neighbor, and take care of people who need one. Texans know God is real, and we know the gods that aren’t. I know not everyone will agree with what I’ve said and that’s okay. Just let me know and I will send you a list of “swing states” you might want to consider relocating to.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). And me and my household will serve the Lord in Texas! Can I hear an amen?!?!