What’s your story?

By Jake Harris | Published Saturday, February 28, 2015

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We’ve rearranged our beats here at the Messenger, and I’m now in charge of writing about more than just city council and school board meetings and the occasional feature story. In addition to those duties, I’m now writing stories about veterans, oil/gas and religion.

Jake Harris

Jake Harris

Sometimes the subjects are related, like my last column when I wrote about Chris Kyle Day. Other times, the oil and gas and religion pieces mix, like in a recent Houston Chronicle article by Michael Brick about a 70-year-old pastor who specifically ministers to oil field workers. It’s a great piece.

Veterans and religion have always been interests of mine, but oil and gas is a new topic for me to write about. However, I am extremely interested in how recent gas prices have affected the people of Wise County, and what that lifestyle is like, since I know nothing about it.

It goes without saying that the gas industry is the livelihood for a lot of people in this area, and we want to accurately reflect that part of our audience in the stories we tell.

An area I know an awful lot about is the veteran community, and it’s a community that is growing daily as soldiers return home from recent conflicts. Oftentimes, navigating the obstacles of home life after a deployment is harder than navigating the obstacles of a war zone.

Those stories deserve to be told, too.

I believe everything is related in some way – at least, that’s what my high school honors teacher told me. That’s part of why writing about religion and faith interests me so much. What we believe (or choose not to believe) informs how we interact with our family, our friends and our co-workers. Our belief system gives us our ethics and our way of seeing the world. For most people, it is a deeply personal thing, and rightly so.

What I want to do is engage in a conversation with our readers about their faith communities and what that space means to them, and get their input on religious events that might affect them. If you’re a Southern Baptist, what the Southern Baptist Convention decides could affect you here in Wise County. The same goes for Catholics and the Vatican or Mormons and Utah.

There are several churches in this county, and I intend to talk to all of them. Whatever your denomination (or lack thereof), we want to make sure we cover this beat honestly and fairly.

So if you have a story about how your church helped you in a time of need, or you have an opinion on a recent comment from your religion’s governing body, or you want to talk about what it’s like to be a veteran or an oil field worker in 2015, send me an email or give me a call.

I’d love to talk with you.

Jake Harris is a reporter for the Messenger. He can be reached at 940-627-5987.

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