If Jesus Was From Texas…

As of late, I’ve learned that, generally speaking, Texans speak with a colloquialism unlike any other place in America.  Certain US regions have their tell-tale accents (Chicago, New England, New Jersey, the deep South, etc), but few compare to the slang and idioms of Texas.  It’s like a whole other country.  And if you disagree with them on that, they’ll probably just secede to prove their point.

And you know what?  I’m kinda jealous, because here in Michigan, we really don’t have a dialectal distinctiveness.  It’s all rather meat and potatoes midwestern mumblings.  We have all the creativity of a…um, of an…er, of an uncreative person.  That’s not the case in Texas.

For instance – if it’s really hot, around here it’s generally “Man, it’s hotter than heck!” (there’s no swearing in Michigan, you know)  But in Texas, it’s “Man, it’s hotter than a two dollar pistol at an all-nite shoot out!”  Or take personal appearance…say, ugliness.  In Michigan, its “Man, she’s as ugly as heck!”.  But in Texas, you’re liable to hear “He was so ugly his mama used to have to tie a pork chop around his neck just so the dogs would play with him!”  Or say someone’s talkative, a real chatterbox.  In Michigan, we might say “What the heck, shut yo mouth!”  But in Texas, you could hear someone comment “She has enough tongue for ten rows of teeth!”

See where I’m coming from?  There’s a rhythm, and a slight tinge of whimsy, to Texas-speak.  Why say something ordinary, when you can say it BIG?  And I don’t mean this in any derogatory way, either.  I believe they’re proud of their vernacular virtuoso, and they ought to be.

So it got me thinking.  What if Jesus was from Texas?  How would the Gospels sound then?

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a rancher who gave a rodeo for his son, and he sent his cowhands to round up those who were invited to the rodeo; but they would not come.  Again he sent other cowhands, saying ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, the beef’s on the barbecue and the beans are in the pot, and everything’s ready ‘cept for the spittin’ and the grinnin’; come to the rodeo.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his ranch, another to his oil derrick, while the rest seized the cowhands, treated them shamefully, and strung them up.  The rancher was angry, and he sent a posse and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  Then he said to his cowhands, ‘The rodeo is ready, but those invited were as unworthy as a rubber band at a pistol fight.  Go therefore out into the trails, and invite as many as y’all find.’  And these cowhands went out into the trails and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the rodeo was filled with guests (Mt 22: 1-10)

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man from The University of Texas was going from Austin to Ft Wayne, and he fell among cattle rustlers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a Texas alum was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side, like a collie avoiding a den of skunks…But a Sooner from Oklahoma, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds… (Lk 10: 29-31, 33-34)

So he told them this parable: ‘What rancher of y’all, having a hundred head of cattle, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine at the watering hole, and go after the calf which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lassos it, hogties it and carries it upon his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my calf which was lost, and I’m happier than a rabbit at a carrot convention!”  (Lk 15: 3-6)

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”  But I say to y’all that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already eaten his supper before saying grace.  (Mt 5: 27-28)

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  But I say to y’all, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…For if y’all love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even cattle rustlers do the same?   And if y’all salute only your brethren, what more are y’all doing than others?  Do not even those from Oklahoma do the same?” (Mt 5: 43-44, 46-47)

A ten-gallon ht to Rebecca at Shoved to Them, a true Texan who is not all hat and no cattle.

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41 responses

  1. And Solomon said:

    After some deliberation, King Solomon sais, “Carry me over a sword.” He declared that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be “cut half-in-two”, each woman receiving half of the child, bless their hearts.

    I still say that and it drives hubby crazy. We’ve had long philosophical discussions on the rightness or wrongness of “half-in-two” because we are fundamentally crazy.

    I loved my years in Houston and am proud to call myself a half Texan, or is that half-in-two Texan?

      • My Dad, who was originally an Okie but became a Texas in his later years, always said “That gal cain’t help if she’s ugly, but she could stay closer to home”, or “She’s so skinny if she drank a red sody pop she could work as a thermometer”.

  2. Considering Texas spells out their hatred of the Priesthood in their State Constitution, I don’t think Jesus will be visiting Texas anytime soon, at least not until the illegals take over again, like in Mexifornia.

    *

      • WHOOP!! Not to mention the rest of Texas is so Catholic that we can’t build the churches fast enough! Youth ministry and vocations are flourishing, too – our church currently has six seminarians and one postulant in formation, and last summer we celebrated thirteen Masses every weekend while construction was going on to expand our main church. And we’re one of three Catholic churches in a 10 mile radius!

  3. That’s hysterical! I live in Austin and although you don’t hear the Texas twang in this town often, I could not stop laughing at those. LarryD you have outdone yourself this time!

    Let me say one more thing – this state is the weirdest (minus the town of Steubenville) I have lived. It’s really it’s own country and they all let you know that they were their own country once and that the state capitol building is higher than the US Capitol. BUT, they needed the United States of America in order to survive.

    One last thing – they are not that tough either – in the summer they complain it’s too hot and and in the winter they complain it’s too cold. If Mexico wants them back, they can come anytime and get them, they are not coming out of their homes to fight. Ha ha!

  4. “And if y’all salute only your brethren, what more are y’all doing than others? Do not even those from Oklahoma do the same?” I love that there are others out there who see the humour in the Word of God too.

  5. “Texas. It’s like a whole other country.” Remember, they were for a while in the 1800s.
    & they are the only state that can chose to split up into up to 5 states any time they want.

    & why am I now seeing the “parable of the prodigal son” being about JR & Bobby?

  6. Patrick Hoelscher, I believe this is an appropriate time for a “Gig ‘Em.”

    Anyways, those phrases all make my brain sad. I’m from Brenham (a pretty rural town of about 15-20,000) and never heard anyone actually speak that way. I afterwards attended Texas A&M in College Station and now work as a software developer in Houston (well, Sugar Land) and still have never heard anyone actually talk that way.

    Perhaps it only exists in romantic memory, or perhaps I just never knew those sorts of people, but this whole thing reminds me of the time in third grade where we had pen pals in Florida, and they *literally* asked us what it was like to ride to school on a horse and buggy. Or the time when my wife and I were touring Pompeii and the tour guide pointed at some holes in the curbs and told my wife and I “you should know what these are; you’re from Texas! … they’re to tie the horses!”

    Just… /facepalm

    Having vented, allow me to say your piece was quite funny… even though I wince a little.

    Gloria Sanctae Trinitati, et super nos omnes gratia descendat Spiritus.

    • Try being from Chicago and being asked if you know any gangsters. If asked that question in a foreign country, it’s accompanied by fingers making machine-gun actions.

      (the problem is is that I do actually know gangsters, but they are the parents of children I played with (limited by my parents to the playground only.)

    • Yes, there are still Texans who talk this way. Old timers, mostly, but enough younguns to keep our peculiarities from going the way of, say, Latin. Surprised you have lived in Texas that long and haven’t met a single person who can toss in these colorful expressions.

      • Well, the side of the family we were around all the time is of Polish and Irish descent, all turn-of-the-century immigrants. Combine that with the fact that I have a touch of Asperger’s (ergo I’m not so social), took gifted/GT/AP classes from kindergarten onward, making friends from that set of people, and then went to college and didn’t have any “Ag” majoring friends, and finally got a job in SW Houston as a software developer (not the twangy-country sort), and it rather explains how it happened, I suppose.

        I think that sort of thing is more prevalent in deep, East Texas or perhaps out in West Texas, and my only experience with either is traveling through the East on my way to Lafayette (great food), or through the west on my way up to Colorado.

        All the ‘old folk’ that would have spoken this way around me spoke Polish as their first tongue, so while I learned some good drinking songs at a very, very young age, I never got any “Texan”.

  7. No no, no no…….no. It’s The University of Texas, and the The is typically capitalized just like that. That is to keep the Aggies and other associated malcontents in their proper, decidedly inferior, place.

    Are you familiar with the concept of the cowboy church? This post isn’t far off from what they do.

  8. By the way, I totally defend the use of “y’all”. English, for some stupid reason over the past 400 years, decided to make its second person plural pronouns into its only second person pronouns.

    Whereas we used to have “thou”, “thy/thine”, and “thee” in the singular, with “ye”, “your/yours”, and “you” in the plural, for the nominative, possessive and objective cases, respectively, we took the formal pluralized version (cf the French “tu” vs. “vous”) and made it our only version, thus leaving the language with only one way of expressing the second person. As a Latinist, this bothers the pants off of me.

    Therefore, we Texans had to invent (or at least propagate) “y’all”, to add that missing grammatical piece to the mix.

    • ‘…By the way, I totally defend the use of “y’all”…”

      I had a girlfriend that used to say “‘y’all” better get going, or “y’all better get going”

      Y’all know what she meant, I’m shure.

      *

    • JP,
      I grew up in South, South Texas. We all have been know to talk this way a time or two. Y’all just don’t know the right people.

  9. Come to Missouri. We say fun things like “it’s hotter than a hooker on dollar day” or if someone farts, you say, “hey if it ain’t in yer hands, you can’t hold it” and “marriage is like a pig in a poke – you never know what’cher gonna get” and “she looks like the north end of a south-bound horse.”
    All true stuff bequeathed to me from my south-central Missouri hillbilly parents.

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  12. I can’t even bring myself to read through all the comments. As a displaced Michigander, I have to defend my native tongue.

    We have “pop”. We have “garage sales”. We have “fridgerators” and “drinking fountains”. We can tell Yoopers from Trolls in just a few phrases. We can tell if one is referring to the island or the city by if the word ends in a “-nac” or a “-naw”.

    And if Jesus was from Michigan, He’d be too busy playing euchre to bother with us silly sinners, so I guess it’s for the best He wasn’t.

    Plus, if He were from Texas, He’d be so busy telling us how great it was to offer universal salvation.

  13. I feel that, by being from Merrlund (aka Maryland) I have little right to intrude on this Midwestern dialect debate.

    However, I still want to say. Y’all have never heard an accent till you get to the country in Maryland.
    Derned if Ah kin remember the phrases ma bossman says, but he’s 3rd generation in that one house, and about 4th or 5th generation in Maryland. Boy does he say some funny things.

  14. First…dude, of course, Jesus IS from Texas, that’s why it’s God’s country; 2nd: these words are like Scripture, inspired by God, and are Jesus’s approach to evangelization and the love of each soul: “I shall never surrender or retreat; victory or death.” Wm Barrett Travis from the Alamo, 1836. guy mcclung, 5ht generation Texian

  15. I was born in La., But grew up in TX. I live in Ft. Worth @pablothemexican what you said about TX hating the priesthood, and that Jesus wouldn’t come here is wrong. Not to mention mean. You should apologize.

  16. Jesus even went down into Hell, so I guess He would go to Texas, but maybe not for the reasons you might think.

    I would like to see Him make the TexasFreemasons give the Alamo (a Catholic Church) back.

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