Skip to main content

Pray for Russia..

There is no hashtag on the front of this: mainly because this isn’t a piece about a one day wonder of prayer following something tragic. This is a piece about the alarming trajectory of Russian foreign policy and how I might respond.

A caveat. I don’t know enough about Russia to write this entirely from intellect. I do know a bit about twentieth century world history though.

Anyway: A UK minister has warned about Russia’s expansionist ambition: suggesting that the Baltic states are next after a comprehensive subjugation of Ukraine. The same day, RAF jets are scrambled to get a look at Russian aircraft off the Cornish coast. This is the second time in a couple of months that UK airspace has been titillated by Russian jets. The last time they caused considerable disruption to UK air traffic. So far so Top Gun.

As I’ve said, I don’t know much about Russia: please recommend some books.. But, I know that in some Russian thinking, the greater Russia (the old USSR) has never been a dead dream. I know that the inclusion of Baltic states into the EU makes this a geopolitical minefield. I know that oil and gas and other things we can burn to ignore the failing health of our planet, skew our view of the world. I know that Russia has a lot of that stuff.

I know that we are still coming to terms, militarily, with the post Cold War world where it hasn’t been nation fighting nation: but just as we adjust and perhaps try to seek ways to combat IS and their ilk, a nation state is baring its teeth again. I know that despite our fears the statistics still bear out that secular wars over land and goods and trade routes have caused more death and destruction that wars of religion (unless you are a woman, because then, religious or not, you are more likely to be killed for your gender than a man is in a war).

And I know that as an eighteen year old sixth form student I sat in history classes where every week we were handed new maps as the USSR disintegrated before our eyes. In a fairly bloodless revolution we came to understand that a pastor in Leipzig who prayed and encouraged others to do the same might have had something to do with the change across the Eastern bloc. In that same two years I saw South Africa slip quietly and with dignity into democracy; with the praying church at the heart of another transformation.

And I know that at the heart of Christian faith is the God who immerses Himself into a world which gets caught into the same old cycles of greed and hate, of ignorance and violence. Far from distancing himself he takes the whole burden of all our brokenness, and shattering death he turns our fears to hope. For in him is the promise of new life, the promise that it doesn’t have to end this way. The hope that cycles can be broken and that there is a power more solid than oil.

So as Russian fighter pilots buzz the coasts of the UK, as politicians and states people seek diplomatic solutions or merely wring their hands: I will pray. I will pray that like in times past, women and men of integrity, compassion and justice will rise to positions of authority and lead their nations back from the brink. I will pray that the church will be militant in its its commitment to peace. I will pray that we will listen to the prophets who warn us of our addiction that which will choke us.

Pray for Russia. Thats my Lent commitment.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oxpresidentgate and a Crisis of Generosity

Its been an interesting start to the year for the third sector. As we all get to grips with GDPR (more later), we have been subject to increased media attention as first we reeled from President’s Club revelations to the far deeper impact of this week’s revelations about Oxfam (and others).
There is much that can be written. Undoubtedly there are some in media and politics who will seek to exploit the 1/3 of us who don’t think aid should be sent overseas to change policy off the back of bad behaviour by some people. We could face a drop in giving to international development, as supporting Oxfam is no longer seen as acceptable (like buying a plastic bag). I suspect this will recover at some point, possibly in different form.
However, there is a deeper moral crisis for third sector organisations and my fear is that Christian charities are not immune.
To explore this let me go back a month. The President’s Club- where charities were set to receive significant amounts of money from an…

A very dull post about what I do with my time...

Each year I take a calendar month and record what I do in it. I break each day into twenty minute chunks and note down what happens in each twenty minute block. I don’t do the same for designated Sabbath time (nor do I note each bit of time outside of the beginning and end of a working day, no-one needs to know how long I clean my teeth for).
I categorise each thing that I do (an imperfect science) with a view to getting a handle on what I do with my time. 
This year I did the audit in November (as clergy I always avoid doing this in Lent, Advent or August). 
So- what did I discover?
I work around 55 hours a week. (thats up one hour from last year) That work is spread over five and a half days. The only sabbath day that was interrupted by work was about processing a painful meeting.  Of 26 working days, I worked 12 evenings.
In terms of what I do:
In November 17% of my time was taken up with prayer, reading and learning. Thats a slightly false read as I had a 48 hour away time in there. Prayer…

Don't Be Fooled: Boris and the Great Distraction

We are now into day five of the nonsense about whatever Boris has or hasn’t said about women wearing burkas. Older white man makes derogatory, ill informed comments about what women wear. That’s not news. That’s every day. 
I am not belittling the impact- but there is some mischief going on here. 
I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”. It’s not for the feint hearted- analysing loss is an ugly business. But in the midst of the pain she makes a really wise comment about the way the media covered the more outlandish things that Donald Trump said during the campaign. Her view is that it did no further damage to Trump as everyone knew he was a buffoon (my word), but it dominated the news cycle and stopped people talking about real issues for days at a time. 
Over the weekend senior economic types (like the head of the Bank of England) talked about the danger of a no deal Brexit. The pound continues to tank. And the media is dominated- not even by a serious piece about …