We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, February 24, 2022

History of Eastern Russia: Prayer for Ukraine and its People


The Old Soviet line of Annexed Territories



A Brief History Of Ukraine
Mar 4, 2022




PRAYER FOR THE PEOPLES OF EASTERN RUSSIA

Thursday, February 24, 2022, has become a day of mourning for the peoples of Ukraine and their brothers and sisters found throughout Crimea, Georgia, Belarus and Eastern Russia as the Communist dictator, Putin, continues his campaigns against the free sovereign states of the former Union of Soviet Russia (USSR) serving as proxy territories to Russia's own imperialist safety and security concerns.

We pray for the free peoples of the Russian empire. For their courage, wisdom, caution, and resistance to the propagandist campaigns of Russian autocracy even as we pray for the unity and community support of the peoples of Russia during another era of manic harm and suffering imposed by the cruel and evil forces found in this unjust world.

Together with the peoples of both the free world as well as all those held under imperialist dictatorships we pray for the peace and protection of loved ones, community and countries unfairly harmed or broken by the wicked of this age. An age which has continued in its agony since man's beginning when in search of power, rule, and wealth - but not for God, love, or the solidarity of one's countrymen.

Lastly, we pray to the God who is everywhere present to use the resources He has to save the innocents of this world - the families of men, women, and children - who cry out for a Savior to help them from their dilemma wrought at the hands of evil men. That God comfort and protect all who seek His help and favour who might bring God's own peace and presence into these horrific times of fear and need.

For our loved Ones,

R.E. Slater
February 24, 2022



Western Russia



A brief history of modern Ukraine - BBC News
Feb 25, 2022

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s Ukraine was one of the largest new nations to emerge. It held its first elections in 1991. 

Bordered by Russia on the east and by Hungary, Poland and Slovakia on the west, politics in Ukraine have always been divided along those looking east towards Russia and those looking to the West. 

Putin has said that Ukraine is “ancient Russian soil” but  the majority of Ukrainians don’t feel this way, with 68% of Ukrainians in favour of joining the EU.



Slavic Nations


Ethnicities of Eastern Russian Territories



The origins of Russia - Summary on a Map
Jun 24, 2021


Let's retrace on maps the first origins of Russia, from the creation of Novgorod during the IXth century, until the end of the Time of Troubles and the beginning of the Romanov dynasty.

English translation & voiceover: - https://www.epicvoiceover.com/
Original French version: https://youtu.be/og8yLsgvbYM
Russian version: https://youtu.be/eqVXKsnQuMY
Arabic version: https://youtu.be/DeDEVmmM6XE
Spanish version: https://youtu.be/Mmb6a_wTUi8
Portuguese version (Brazil):
Coming soon Japanese version: Coming soon

Music: Created for Geo History
Software: Adobe After Effects

Chapters 00:00 The Varangians 01:15 Kievan Rus’ 02:52 Russian principalities 04:56 Catholic and Mongol threats 06:24 Mongol invasion 08:00 Grand Duchy of Moscow and Lithuania 09:59 Ivan the Terrible 11:43 End of the Rurik Dynasty 12:56 Time of Troubles



BELARUS
Belarusian Coat of Arms

Belarusian Flag












A History of Eastern Europe: Ukraine-Russia Crisis
Dec 15, 2016


Wondrium
Taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, an award-winning professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 insightful lectures offer a sweeping 1,000-year history of Eastern Europe with a particular focus on the region’s modern history. You’ll observe waves of migration and invasion, watch empires rise and fall, witness wars and their deadly consequences—and come away with a comprehensive knowledge of one of the world’s most fascinating places.

This video is episode 23 from the series A History of Eastern Europe, Presented by Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
Learn more about Eastern European History at https://www.wondrium.com

This course goes far beyond issues of military and political history. Professor Liulevicius delves deeply into the cultures of this region—the 20 nations that stretch from the Baltic to the Black Seas. You’ll meet the everyday citizens—including artists and writers—who shaped the politics of Eastern Europe, from poets-turned-politicians to proletarian workers who led dissident uprisings. Breathtaking in scope and crucially relevant to today’s world, A History of Eastern Europe is a powerful survey of a diverse region and its people.

00:00 Ukraine Erupts Into Crisis in 2014
02:10 Background to Ukraine-Russia Crisis
07:26 West Vs. East Conflict in Ukrainian History
11:03 A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
13:52 Ukraine Gains Independence
15:59 Ukraine Becomes Dependent on Russia 
18:37 Gains for Ukrainian Reform Lead to Disappointment
22:31 Russian Media Denounces Protesters as Nazis
25:54 Ukraine-Russia Conflict Becomes "New Normal"
27:44 Russian Power Abuse Echoes Late 1700s



UKRAINE
Ukrainian Coat of Arms

Ukrainian Flag





  




Phil Snyder says it best...

"As if our world could take one more thing.

"War is ruined time. It is forged for the sake of ego and empire, and it leaves those who put their faith in it forever hungry for more, with an insatiable thirst that is never satisfied, all while those who so desperately want to avoid war instead find themselves weeping for irretrievable pasts and lost futures, wondering how they will endure it all, or if they can endure it all. 

"War doesn’t fill the void, it exploits it, exposes it, enlarges it. Violence begets violence, and the world loses count. There is no glory in warfare, only loss, only sorrow. Loss of life for the victims, loss of soul for the perpetrators, and loss of promise and possibility beyond anything we will ever know. War is an incalculable evil that breeds irreparable loss. That nations try to find meaning and purpose in it is a sickness unto death. 

"In Dante’s Inferno, there’s a place in hell where despots and warmongers have to acknowledge the traumatic truth of who they are, to come face to face with how much suffering they caused. Only then can they change. But the problem with that is not just that it’s fiction. Even if it were real, by then it is still too late for this world, where the warmongers have already created too many hells on earth. And it does nothing for those in Ukraine, who just want to sleep and just want to live, who just want to be able to step outside and walk down their street. Which shouldn’t be asking too much.

"Justice is always too late for this world, it seems, and I guess sometimes that just grieves me beyond words.

"My heart and prayers are with the people of Ukraine." 
- Phil Synder, Feb 24, 2022 






GEORGIA
Georgian Coat of Arms

Georgian Flag

  














CRIMEA

Crimean Flag





RUSSIA

Russian Flag
Russian Coat of Arms



















Ethnicities of Russia


Post-Colonialism never really leaves, it just morphs into something else. To be trully committed to freedom one must be willing to give up biases and hatreds and learn a new language of love, respect, and understanding. - re slater

REPORT

What has set the stage for the conflict?

Ukraine was a cornerstone of the Soviet Union until it voted overwhelmingly for independence in a democratic referendum in 1991, a milestone that turned out to be a death knell for the failing superpower.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO pushed eastward, bringing into the fold most of the Eastern European nations that had been in the Communist orbit. In 2004, NATO added the former Soviet Baltic republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Four years later, it declared its intention to offer membership to Ukraine some day in the distant future -- crossing a red line for Russia.

Putin sees NATO's expansion as an existential threat, and the prospect of Ukraine joining the Western military alliance a "hostile act" -- a view he invoked in a televised speech on Thursday, saying that Ukraine's aspiration to join the military alliance was a dire threat to Russia. 

In interviews and speeches, Putin has previously emphasized his view that Ukraine is part of Russia, culturally, linguistically and politically. While some of the mostly Russian-speaking population in Ukraine's east feel the same, a more nationalist, Ukrainian-speaking population in the west has historically supported greater integration with Europe. 

In early 2014, mass protests in the capital Kyiv known as Euromaidan forced out a Russia-friendly president after he refused to sign an EU association agreement. Russia responded by annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and fomenting a separatist rebellion in Ukraine's east, which seized control of part of the Donbas region. Despite a ceasefire agreement in 2015, the two sides have not seen a stable peace, and the front line has barely moved since. Nearly 14,000 people have died in the conflict, and there are 1.5 million people internally displaced in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian government.

In the eight years since, Moscow has been accused of engaging in hybrid warfare against Ukraine, using cyberattacks, economic pressure and propaganda to whip up discord. Those tactics have escalated in recent months, and in early February the State Department claimed Putin was preparing a false-flag operation to create "a pretext for an invasion." 

What does Putin want?

In a lengthy essay penned in July 2021, Putin referred to Russians and Ukrainians as "one people," and suggested the West had corrupted Ukraine and yanked it out of Russia's orbit through a "forced change of identity." 

That type of historical revisionism was on full display in Putin's emotional and grievance-packed address to the nation on Monday announcing his decision to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, while casting doubt on Ukraine's own sovereignty.    

But Ukrainians, who in the last three decades have sought to align more closely with Western institutions like the European Union and NATO, have pushed back against the notion that they are little more than the West's "puppet." 

In fact, Putin's efforts to bring Ukraine back into Russia's sphere have been met with a backlash, with several recent polls showing that a majority of Ukrainians now favor membership of the US-led transatlantic military alliance.  

In December, Putin presented the US and NATO with a list of security demands. Chief among them was a guarantee that Ukraine will never enter NATO and that the alliance rolls back its military footprint in Eastern and Central Europe -- proposals that the US and its allies have repeatedly said are non-starters.

Putin indicated he was not interested in lengthy negotiations on the topic. "It is you who must give us guarantees, and you must do it immediately, right now," he said at his annual news conference late last year. "Are we deploying missiles near the US border? No, we are not. It is the United States that has come to our home with its missiles and is already standing at our doorstep."
High-level talks between the West and Russia wrapped in January without any breakthroughs. The standoff left Europe's leaders to engage in a frenzy of shuttle diplomacy, exploring whether a negotiating channel established between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine to resolve the conflict in Ukraine's east -- known as the Normandy Format talks -- could provide an avenue for calming the current crisis.

In a news conference with the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on February 16, Putin repeated unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine is carrying out a "genocide" against Russian speakers in the Donbas region and called for the conflict to be resolved through the Minsk peace progress -- echoing similar rhetoric that was used as a pretext for annexing Crimea.

But less than a week later, after Russia's upper house of parliament approved the deployment of military forces outside the country on February 22, Putin told reporters that the Minsk agreements "no longer exist," adding: "What is there to implement if we have recognized these two entities?"   

The agreements, known as Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 -- which were hammered out in the Belarusian capital in a bid to end a bloody in eastern Ukraine -- have never been fully implemented, with key issues remaining unresolved. 
Moscow and Kyiv have long been at odds over key elements of the peace deal, the second of which was inked in 2015 and lays out a plan for reintegrating the two breakaway republics into Ukraine. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently stated that he did not like a single point of the Minsk accords, which require dialogue on local elections in the Russian-backed separatist regions and -- although unclear in what sequence -- would also restore the Ukrainian government's control over its eastern borders. Critics say the agreement could give Moscow undue sway over Ukrainian politics.

Putin previously responded in blunt terms by saying that regardless of whether Zelensky likes the plan, it must be implemented. "Like it or don't like it, it's your duty, my beauty," Putin said in a news conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. Zelensky, a former comedian and TV star, won a 2019 election in a landslide on promises to end the war in Donbas, but little has changed. Responding to a question about Putin's stark, undiplomatic language, Zelensky responded in Russian, saying bluntly: "We are not his."

- CNN