European solutions to common annoyances

By Norris Burkes Posted Oct 8, 2017 Occasionally a reader suggests that I offer a religious view on the division that entangles our nation. My response is that often our best spirituality can be found by unpacking its practical components. To that end, I’ve made some observations during my extended stay in Europe that might

Need for real love, not empty promises

by Norris Burkes Posted Oct 1, 2017 Before Hurricane Maria last week, I would’ve told you that Puerto Rico is a beautiful place. At least that’s what my wife, Becky, discovered when she and my daughter, Sara, visited there in 2010. By day, they set course to as many beaches as possible. When they weren’t

Living the last day of the rest of your life

By Norris Burkes Posted Sep 24, 2017 If David Meade of Wisconsin is right, this will be the last column I ever write. However, if you’re reading this, it’s probably because Meade’s calculations that the world would end Sept. 23 were wrong. Meade is a “Christian numerologist” and self-published author who believes the Bible contains

Does your faith call you to heroics?

By Norris Burkes Posted Sep 17, 2017 Ten years ago, I was packing for my deployment to Iraq when I stopped to ask my wife, Becky, what she feared most. “I’m afraid you’ll be killed doing something heroic,” she said. I answered her with an embrace, proud she thought me capable of that kind of

Everything I needed to know, I learned in vacation Bible school

By Norris Burkes Posted Jul 9, 2017 I spent last week driving my grandson to Vacation Bible School, or VBS as it’s often called. If you’re unfamiliar with VBS, you should know it’s like a summer school run by church volunteers for five consecutive weekday mornings. I grew up a preacher’s kid and attended VBS

Books to read on your journey

Norris Burkes Ledger correspondent Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 1:00 AM If you’re looking for a good book to read, look no further than this column dedicated to my annual list of recommended books. The first two books landed on my list during my part-time work as a hospice chaplain last year. I unearthed powerful

A Job I Don’t Want

By Norris Burkes Ledger correspondent Posted Aug 27, 2017 I’ve spent my career working chaplain positions in the hospital, the Air Force and in hospice. They were tough jobs, but King David’s chaplain had a much tougher one. Remember King David? He’s the dude in the Old Testament who had an affair with Bathsheba, the

A Burger, A Bag, and a Bond

By Norris Burkes Aug 20, 2017 With mealtime approaching, I take my wife, Becky, to a nearby patio restaurant that serves American hamburgers. We both order an American burger with Belgium fries because this is my idea of fusion cuisine. We are determined that nothing will spoil this meal. Other diners eat their burgers with

With God’s Hands

By Norris Burkes Aug 13, 2017 After Becky and I spend a day helping Dan and Elizabeth Christensen distribute food at the Rafael Center in Brussels, Belgium, the 58-year-old assistant pastor from LifePoint Church asks me a question. “Can you drive a truck?” I raise a suspicious eyebrow. “I’ll be out of town the next

Things are Different Here

By Norris Burkes Posted Aug 6, 2017 “Stop! Stop!” my passenger yells. I stomp my brake pedal and narrowly avoid a T-bone accident on my passenger’s side. The other driver seemed confident I would know the Belgium law of priority to the right where I must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at

Lost In Translation

By Norris Burkes Posted Jul 30, 2017 As Becky and I transition into life in a non-English-speaking country, we are testing the boundaries of the timeworn admonition — don’t judge another until you’ve walked in their shoes. In just the first week of cheek-kissing and rich foods, I’ve gained a little insight, if not a

Encouraging One Another

By Norris Burkes Jul 23, 2017 A tall woman in jeans and a light blouse greeted my wife and me with “Bonjour.” Around us, people welcomed one another with a noisy kiss on each cheek. By now, we knew we “weren’t in Kanas anymore.” We were standing at the information table inside LifePoint Church, on