Pastor’s Blog: Go Woke and Go Broke

In my final seminary course taken to complete the requirements for the Master of Divinity in January 1981, I spent three weeks traveling 5,000 miles through Mexico as the conclusion to a fall semester class entitled: “The Religious Roots of Mexican Americans.” Ten students and a professor traveled in a VW Microbus and a Chevy Chevette. By the end of the trip, I concluded that we had taken at least five too many people. But I digress.

After Watergate, I had transitioned from a conservative Democrat to a liberal Democrat. Those were the two political parties in Texas in those days. I had read some liberation theology in seminary after having earned a liberal arts undergraduate degree and having read all the requisite progressive literature of that era. After observing poverty in Mexico, the likes of which I had never seen, and having become a chaplain resident at the county hospital and major trauma center for Dallas TX, Parkland Memorial Hospital, I was convinced that I was a socialist. Ronald Reagan had survived an assassination attempt as had the conservative Pope John Paul II, and I was reading Mother Jones magazine and dealing with the poor (mostly white but also black and brown) in Dallas. I was described by staff as “the hip chaplain” with my bushy, curly soft perm (an attempt to cover a receding hairline).

Parkland, which was the teaching hospital for the adjacent University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and part of the complex that included the county medical examiner and Children’s Hospital, annually recorded the largest number of births of any hospital in the country. Every Friday and Saturday night, we saw all the worst violent trauma from Dallas and nearby counties. We saw a lot of poor people, and I became convinced we just needed to tax the rich more and that would solve everything.

Watching old episodes of Monty Python was a form of therapy in those days that included large jugs of Gallo wine. One memorable comedy sketch involved a Robin Hood clone named Dennis Moore, a highway man who took from the rich and gave to the poor. The only problem was after a while the rich had nothing left. When they explained that to the thief, Dennis Moore remarked: “This redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.” Serendipitously, at that time, Parkland was recruiting nurses from Great Britain, Scotland, and Canada. When I asked them what had brought them to Dallas, each one replied: “Socialized medicine.” It wasn’t just that their salaries were worse. It was that the practice of socialized medicine was restricted by age and condition, and the nurses were tired of watching people turned away from receiving care. Parkland never turned anyone away but asked for monthly payments of at least five dollars. In other words, conservative Dallas County did better by the poor and elderly.

This walk down memory lane is about my own journey. I lived in white and black ghettoes in seminary and worked three student jobs and paid off my student loans in two years. We’re still paying my wife’s loans. Even though I have more Native American blood than Elizabeth Warren, I never claimed it, never got privileges from it, never went into politics like her or acquired three houses like Bernie Sanders or acted as a shill for corporate interests like Pelosi, Schumer, Waters, McConnell, Biden, and others of the ruling class who have never worked blue collar jobs or lived and worked among the poor. For shame!

To all those who want to be woke, most of you will go broke and this country with it, but don’t worry about the professional ruling class. They will have their golden parachutes funded by taxpayers before they break the bank, and they will always have their corporate blood money from woke billionaires, who like the ruling class, will never suffer the consequences of their foolish cant. As for me and my house, we won’t be watching woke entertainment or buying the products of those who are killing this country.

St Matthew's Pastor Sam Zumwalt


The Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt has worked in churches for 44 years and in May 2020 celebrated the 39th anniversary of his ordination to the holy ministry. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity ( In 2004, Pr. Zumwalt moved with his family to Wilmington from Texas, where he served for 23 years as pastor of small, midsize, and large congregations.