Reflections on Ukraine:
I offer here some further random thoughts on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. They supplement my views from earlier pieces on this tragic conflict.
-There are now some 3 million Ukrainians who have fled their homes and their country to avoid being slaughtered by Putin and his forces. And of course we now have hospital and maternity wards being targeted. Hearing about this, which is leaving so many patients – including cancer patients – suffering even more is just so grievous. I think of my wife right now getting good hospital care for her cancer. Imagine if her hospital was shelled, and we had 3 million Australians fleeing the country because of an enemy invasion.
-Certainly by now it can be safely said that those who tried to assure us that Putin is a terrific guy who was just interested in stabilising things in the east of Ukraine were wrong – totally wrong. This is of course an all out invasion of the entire democratically-elected nation. It is part of Putin’s clearly enunciated plan to restore the old Soviet empire.
-If the Putinphiles think biolabs in Ukraine fully justify Russia invading and destroying the nation, then we need some consistency here. We know there are biolabs in China. Are these folks also demanding that Russia (or Australia or America) immediately attack China – or at least Wuhan – and raze it to the ground as well? If not, why not? And biolabs are all over the place. As you might be aware, Pfizer has its headquarters in New York City. Should we bomb New York to smithereens to purify the land?
-So according to some folks, it seems that we now prove our conservative and Christian credentials by not only demonising Zelenskyy and Ukraine, but by cheering on Putin as he razes the country to the ground. Um sorry, I will never buy that sort of ‘conservatism’ or ‘Christianity’. That is fake conservatism and a fully demonised version of Christianity.
-The KGB officer Putin is no saint, full stop. He is now one of the world’s richest men, having robbed the Russian people of billions of dollars. He routinely arrests, poisons and kills his political opponents. He is an autocrat who never left the Stalinist mode. So no, he is not a wonderful Christian that God has raised up to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth.
-Until just recently Putin was one of many proud leaders featured in the World Economic Forum website. He has regularly attended and spoke at the Davos conferences put on by WEF. But since Klaus Schwab is now badmouthing Putin and Russia, a lotta folks think Putin must be the messiah. Um, terrific reasoning that. If Schwab had boycotted Stalin or Hitler or Mao, would that mean we must also support them as somehow being the good guys? I am sick of the Putin worship – especially by so many Christians. That is idolatry at its worst. The truth is, there are no pure players here. All are corrupt sinners pushing various agendas. Some might be a bit better than others, but I refuse to see Putin as God’s beloved saviour who is bringing righteousness to the planet.
-Hmm, the same folks telling us it is always wrong to intervene in the affairs of other nations are at the same time telling us that Putin was fully justified in interfering in Ukraine, and even burning it to the ground. Far too much double-talk and double standards for my liking. I really do tire of the hypocrisy.
-If reclaiming former territories fully justifies the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, then let’s at least be consistent here. Will we insist that Rome now work on restoring the old Roman Empire? And for that matter, should we insist that the old Canaanite peoples – if they are still around – seek to reclaim lost territory and try to oust Israel?
-Many of the same people who are saying that Zelenskyy is being lionised and held up as a hero – and that this should stop immediately – are also quite happy to lionise Putin and hold him up as a hero. Neither one are God’s superheroes. Neither one should be worshipped. It all depends on what circles you move in, but sadly for me, overwhelmingly I am seeing gung-ho Putin worship in action.
-I trust that those who are writing lengthy and detailed critiques of Zelenskyy and Ukraine, listing all their sins, corruption, crimes and misdemeanours will also be writing lengthy and detailed critiques of Putin and Russia, listing all their sins, corruption, crimes and misdemeanours. Otherwise I will have a hard time taking them seriously.
-As with most other conflicts and wars, the political, military, historical, social, and geopolitical issues behind the current situation in Ukraine are very deep, nuanced and complex. Yet far too often all we get is completely simplistic and one-eyed takes on this conflict. As I say, while some see Ukraine as a perfect nation state, most of the folks I encounter seem to think that is true of Russia. They see Putin as a messianic figure and Zelenskyy as the anti-Christ – or worse. They have little or no understanding of all the complexities involved in this conflict. When one-dimensional memes are mainly resorted to by these folks, you know we will get nowhere fast in trying to have a rational and sensible discussion of the issues.
-Most importantly, we of course need a human face on all this – and a Christian face. This is NOT just politics and international relations. It is about real people – those who are suffering and dying as Russian bombs tear apart people, homes and cities. And we need to be aware of all the Christians in Ukraine right now. A good friend of mine who regularly goes to Ukraine to teach offers these two recent reports from believers living there:
From missionaries in Ukraine:
“Dear friends, brothers and sisters from different parts of our world. We turn to you in this dark time for all of us, when black clouds from explosions cover the sun over our capital. Tonight, elite special forces of the Russian Federation together with Chechen units will storm one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world, the spiritual capital of Eastern Europe – the city of Kyiv.
Street fights are already underway in Kyiv, and all those who can hold weapons have defended the capital, even pensioners, students and schoolchildren. The coming night and tomorrow are critical, at stake is everything that the whole civilized world has believed and built so far. With tears in our eyes, we ask you, no matter what time zone you are in, to spend all this time fasting and praying to God. Pray to the Lord to protect us from the mad hordes who want to mock the faith and truth of God.
Please send this message to all your friends, family and friends in Europe, Asia, America and around the world! Prayer is stronger than the strongest enemy!
With love and hope in the Lord. Your brothers and sisters from Ukraine.”
17 days ago Russia started a full-scale war against Ukraine.
Here are the bits of conversations I had with my son today [he doesn’t have free access to TV or internet resources, so we make sure he is shielded from brutality]
– Mom, the news showed a house on fire and its roof collapsing. Is it in Ukraine?
– Yes, my dear.
– Mom, I want to pray the same happens to them.
– Do you want the same to happen to homes in Russia?
– No, I want the same to happen to the spirit of those who caused it.
– Mom, you know, the Bible teaches us that we should love our enemies.
– Yes, dear, you’re right, but it’s not always easy.
– Mom, let’s pray for their repentance. Their eyes are covered with lies as if with tar. If their eyes see the truth, I’m sure they would repent. I know God wants them to be saved.
– I’m sure He does.
– Mom, do you remember that I want to build robots when I grow up?
– Of course, how can I forget, you talk about it every day))
– Mom, if Russia doesn’t stop, does it mean I would have to build killer robots? Russia seems to like killing people but I don’t want my robots to kill…
– Don’t worry, dear, Russia will not win.
There were more conversations that just pierce my heart. I am blessed to know that my son has such a gentle loving spirit and I am ready to do whatever it takes to protect him from the horrible reality Russia wants to throw us into.
And so I pick up the weapon of childlike faith and prayer, and I will keep praising God for His faithfulness:
– according to the State Emergency Service, about 1/3 of missiles and bombs fired at Ukraine do not explode
– an interrogated POW reported that 600 Russian marines refused to attack Odesa
– due to cold weather, whole groups of Russian soldiers surrender in hopes to get food and a warm place to stay
– during daytime, as the temperature rises, soil and dirt roads turn into mud literally swallowing up Russian machines
And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Please, keep praying:
– for the hearts of our children to remain innocent and unshattered
– for emotional healing of those who were able to get out of dangerous locations, for them to recover and be able to think clearly
– for everyone who is hosting refugees (both within and outside of Ukraine) – may God abundantly bless every helping hand
– for God to hear my son’s prayers, for the enemy army to repent, and for the victory to come soon!
This video touched me today. People kneel to honor the hero who gave his life in the war and is conveyed in a hearse to his hometown. People say “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13
#prayforUkraine #standwithUkraine #stopputin
And this from Russian church leaders:
Hundreds of Russian church leaders have taken a stand against their country’s invasion of Ukraine. Dozens of prominent Russian Evangelical church leaders have signed a letter, which condemns the “senseless bloodshed” taking place. It states:
“No political interests or goals can justify the death of innocent people. Old men, women, children are dying. Soldiers on both sides are dying, cities and infrastructure are being destroyed. In addition to military targets, shells and bombs destroy hospitals, civilian buildings and residential buildings. Many people have become refugees, the war zones are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. In addition to bloodshed, the invasion of sovereign Ukraine encroaches on the freedom of self-determination of its citizens. Hatred is being sown between our peoples, which will create an abyss of alienation and enmity for generations to come. The war is destroying not only Ukraine, but also Russia – its people, its economy, its morality, its future.” https://en.abouna.org/content/ukraine-russian-church-leaders-asian-bishops-urging-end-war