Columns

 
FUMC Mineral Wells pastor Rev. Eric Douglas writes a monthly religion column for the Mineral Wells Index newspaper.
 

REFLECTING ON RELIGION: God is doing amazing things in Mineral Wells

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

The life of a Methodist preacher is one of constant moving. For those of you who are not familiar with how our churches find pastors, a bishop appoints a pastor to each church. The placement of that pastor is reviewed each year and then it is decided if they should move or stay put for another year. The long short of the matter is that it is a life of constant change.

I describe this process to shed some light on my own views of change. The idea of change is as natural as waiting to hear if I’m staying or moving for the next year every spring. I find it really funny, though, that the idea of change is so hard for so many people. It is even more perplexing that people would resist positive change.

As as I look around our community in this season I’m beginning to see the signs of great positive change. Look around at the new development downtown or the changes in the school system. Take a moment and visit with some of the new people in town or the folks who would like to move here but can’t find a good place to buy or rent because everywhere is taken already. Visit with some of the local store owners who are banding together to focus on the community or the nonprofit boards that are taking on serious community issues. We are moving, vibrant and alive.


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REFLECTING ON RELIGION: Knit together in love

Colossians 2:2 records the following, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of…



REFLECTING ON RELIGION: Let Easter remind us to live for the future

“Then Thomas (also known as the twin) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’” John 11:16

Thomas is a great example of where we are as a people this day and age. We are besieged with doubt and fear. Regardless which side of the political divide you occupy, the future outlook seems bleak. It seems the only thing that everyone can agree on anymore is that the world feels like it is heading in a bad direction and that nothing good is coming in the future.

 

Need proof of this dark view of the future locally? There is a Facebook group in Mineral Wells that celebrates the “good old days” with pictures and images of our city’s heyday. That group is full of activity and energy of people remembering “back in the day,” or “when this one place was still open.” Each picture gathers large numbers of likes and shares on the social network, yet the only mention of the future of our community brought up elsewhere is filled with division and strife.


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REFLECTING ON RELIGION: Lent a time to work on the basics of our spirituality

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2

Every year many churches observe the season of Lent. It is a specific period of time leading up to the events of Holy Week and Easter and is meant as a period of self reflection and self examination. It is season of life each year that we dedicate to reviewing our relationship with God, our own spiritual condition, and how we live out our faith in the world around us. It is in this time that we take stock of our lives and see where they are out of line with the desires of God.

 

It might seem a little extreme in today’s world that someone would dedicate weeks to spiritual preparation for the holiday of Easter. It is just a one-day celebration after all, and there isn’t much to prepare in scattering some eggs around the yard for the kids to find. What is the big deal that we have to spend weeks getting our hearts ready for this holiday?


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REFLECTING ON RELIGION: What blessings do we take for granted?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits. Psalms 103:2 NRSV

I recently returned from a trip to the mountains of Kenya with a team of other Methodist pastors and church members. This being my first trip to Africa, I was struck by the vast amount of poverty and suffering found in everyday life. Many conveniences we often forget about in our daily lives are momentous struggles for the people of remote areas of the Kenyan countryside. Things as simple as securing safe drinking water require large amounts of effort.

 

One of the primary tasks for our team was to present funds that the United Methodist Churches of our district (regional area) had collected to help fund the digging of a water well. The village that received this well had no local source of clean water, so the women of the community would spend hours each day walking back and forth to the closest stream several miles down the mountain with large bucks strapped to their backs.

The gift from the United Methodist Churches in our area will allow those people to have a completely different life. This is all the result of a small blessing of clean water that we take for granted almost every day of our lives.

 


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REFLECTING ON RELIGION: God with us

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

Each year we gather to celebrate and remember the very core of our faith. It is a novel idea that God is not far away in some clouds or that Heaven is an inescapable ideal, but that the very author of our salvation is with us now and always. Each year we gather at Christmas and remember that the one who lies in the manger is Immanuel: God with us.

 

It is easy to forget this lost in the chaos of the season and the busy nature of our world. As people we get distracted by every little thing that happens in life. We find ourselves consumed by work, friends, family, and a host of other things. Some of us are completely consumed by the simple act of just getting by. Lost in this hum of everyday life is the reality that God is present with us. Somehow through the daily grind of life we lose sight of the fact that God walks with us in every moment we live.


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