“A man with a baseball bat in one hand and a copy of the philosopher Wittgenstein in the other.”
Judith Orr, former dean, St. Paul School of Theology
Tex Sample uses dry humor and plain speech as he criss-crosses boundaries between poor and rich, town and gown, wise and ignorant, believer and atheist. A professor emeritus at the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Sample explores American culture and communication. In this talk he will argue that same-sex marriages are in accord with religion’s social and societal goals.
Tex Sample is Coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles and now lives in Goodyear, AZ. He works as a freelance lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant with the church and with community, governmental, and business organizations. For many years he was the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology. He now holds the Rogers Chair in Emeritus relationship.His real name is Tex. It is not a nickname. His father named him after Texanna Gillham, an African-American woman who was born in slavery and helped raise his father near Center, Texas.
Former Academic Dean at Saint Paul School of Theology, Judith L. Orr, has described Tex Sample as "a man of the people and a man of the academy...a man who can tell it like it is to a group of tough urban Job Corps participants, to an upper middle class white suburban Sunday school class, and to distressed Heartland farmers...a man who is comfortable at his daddy's taxi-cab stand and on the General Conference floor [the national meeting of his denomination]...a man of the community and a man of the church...a man who was born in the South, 'trained up' in the Northeast, who has grown to maturity in the midwest."
A native of Brookhaven, Mississippi, he attended public schools in Brookhaven and went on to receive his B.A. from Millsaps College with a major in psychology. He received his M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology and his Ph.D. from the Boston University Graduate School.
While a graduate student, Sample was a Fellow in the Boston University Human Relations Center. He was recently named Distinguish Alumnus of the Boston University School of Theology for the year 1999.
Over the course of his life Sample has worked as a cab driver, as a laborer, and as a roust-about in the oil fields. In addition, he pastored churches for eight years and served three years as the Director of Social Relations of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. In this last capacity he was the lobbyist for the Council and worked actively in the civil rights and peace movements.
At Saint Paul School of Theology he served as Acting Academic Dean during 1987-88. In 1988 he received the John M. Swomley, Jr., Award, presented by the Ethnic Minority students of Saint Paul for "commitment to God's work and preserving human rights through non-violent social action."
Academically, Sample works and teaches in the areas of U.S. culture, social theory and social change, power, social class and theological ethics. He is a specialist in the study of blue collar and poor people.
Sample has authored six books and co-edited a seventh: Blue Collar Ministry (Judson Press, 1984), U.S. Lifestyles and Mainline Churches (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990), Hard Living People and Mainstream Christians (Abingdon, 1993), Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl (Westminster/John Knox, 1994), White Soul: Country Music, the Church and Working People (Abingdon Press, 1996), The Spectacle of Worship in a Wired World (Abingdon Press, 1998), and an edited book with Amy DeLong, The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality (Abingdon, 2000).
Sample is a member of the Society of Christian Ethics and a member and Fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church (UMC), he is a member of the Missouri West Conference. He served as a delegate to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church on four occasions and to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference five times. He served as the Chairperson of his Conference Board of Church and Society and a member of the Conference Council of Ministries. From 1988-92 he served on the United Methodist General Council on Ministries Committee to Study Homosexuality. During 1992-1996 he was a member of the General Board of Church and Society at the national level of his denomination. Presently, Sample serves on the Executive Board of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. The Samples attend and participate in the Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix.
Sample has also worked as a speaker and/or consultant for a wide range of business and governmental organizations such as: Hallmark Cards, the Chamber of Commerce, the Job Corps, the Department of Labor, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Reserve Bank.
In 1957 Sample married Peggy Jo Sanford. Ms. Sample is a landscape artist and works in acrylics. A retired soprano she sang professionally in churches in Kansas City and Boston. She worked for many years in community theater.
Image and biography adapted from www.texsample.com.
Tex Sample's Web site