Don't mess with Texas evangelicals

03 00008 popLike I said, it's hard to do a GetReligion commentary about a photo essay. But here goes. Start by clicking here. Now click here. Finally, click here and look over this new photo essay -- taken from the book The Amazing Faith of Texas, by Roy Spence -- in the award-winning religion section of The Dallas Morning News. Does anyone else see any connections?

So what is the theological message of this photo essay?

The project conveys the rich diversity of faith in Texas -- and shows that "when it comes to religion, what unites us is more important and deeper than what divides us," said Mr. Spence, the head of GSD&M, the Austin ad agency best known for its "Don't Mess with Texas" campaign.

"When you ask Texans what they believe in, what they think about spiritually, they don't talk about politics, gay marriage or anything like that," he said. "They say, 'I believe in God. I believe in the Golden Rule. And I'm pretty dadgum tolerant of other people's beliefs.'"

Wow. I had no idea that Texas was such a National Council of Churches kinda place. But it must be true. Look at these pictures from a company in Austin. There are conservative Protestants in here, I guess. But their only institutional homes are old and empty (First Baptist Church, Dallas, at night) or tiny and funky (think tiny towns in West Texas).

Once again, where are the folks featured in this here article? It's from Christianity Today and it calls Dallas "The New Capital of Evangelicalism."

Well, I have known lots of Texans in my day (I am one, like it or not), and lots of them believe in the Golden Rule and still have lots of strong opinions and beliefs about all of that nasty stuff linked to divisive moral, religious and social issues. In other words, there are Texas Unitarians -- but I don't think they're the folks who have made Texas the megachurch capital of the universe.

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