Posts By This Author
Reimagining the Bible Belt
IF YOU'RE A Christian who cares about social justice, you can’t afford to ignore Texas.
In his book Rough Country, Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow puts it bluntly: “Texas is America’s most powerful Bible-Belt state.” Texas has the second largest population in the country, home to more than 26 million people. In 2014, Texans led six out of 21 congressional committees. And more than half of Texans attend church at least twice monthly.
No other state has more evangelical Christians than Texas. Many national Christian media companies, parachurch ministries, and influential megachurches are based in Texas. That’s why Texas is called the Buckle of the Bible Belt: It’s the most populous, wealthy, and politically powerful part of the country where evangelical churchgoing is still a dominant force.
But what if we reimagine the Bible Belt? In 2005, Texas officially became a “majority-minority” state, where traditional minority racial or ethnic groups represent more than half of the population. A majority of Texans under 40 in the pews are people of color. This creates an opportunity: Demographic change could lead to cultural change. What if we cast a new vision for faith in Texas public life that puts working families and people of color at the center?
But demographic change will not translate automatically into cultural change. The dominant historical Bible Belt narrative has influenced and shaped the identities of all Texas Christians, including in the African-American and Latino faith communities.
Bridging the Great Divide
What does it look like to proclaim the gospel and invite people to follow Jesus in a way that leads to the work of justice?
Jena is America
Today, Sept. 20, over 10,000 people will converge on Jena, Louisiana, to call for justice for the "Jena 6." Thousands more will hold vigils in cities across America. As reported previously on this blog, it all started on Sept. 1, 2006, when a black student at the high school asked an administrator if he [...]