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Norris Burkes

Spirit Matters Columnist

About This Author

Norris Burkes is a syndicated columnist, national speaker and author of the book No Small Miracles. He is a retired chaplain for the Sacramento VA Hospital and the Air National Guard.

Articles by this author

Untie Me

I’m hoping whoever reads this is looking for a job, specifically a hospice chaplain position.

I currently hold the title, but am eager for my employer to hire a replacement so I can retire—again.

The right candidate must be an approachable and caring person, unlike the man I interviewed some years ago. He arrived wearing a suit and became offended when I told him our hospice chaplains leave their clergy trappings at home.

“Why?” he asked.

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Heard It All Before

People in my line of work get used to reruns. That’s not to say I’ve heard it all before, but stuff has a way of repeating itself when you’ve been a chaplain for a few decades.

Another thing I get accustomed to: clichés, especially those derived from biblical passages. Some I love. Others, not so much. Here’s a list of several unhealthy clichés:

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Not So Good

I occasionally get emails from readers who reminisce about the good old days. They hope I’ll commiserate with them about how horrible the world has become.

One reader blamed the fall of America on the entertainment industry. “Back in my day, ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ led the way in promoting wholesome values,” he wrote. “Today’s shows promote violence and sexual promiscuity.”

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Ticket To Read

We’ve watched news stories of Honduran families making the treacherous journey toward our southern border.
So today, I have only two questions.

First question: What makes those families take such a risk?

Why do they trek thousands of miles through harsh weather, rough terrain and threats of violence? Why do they risk arrest or even worse—rape, robbery, human trafficking or being separated from their children?

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