What’s really behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Sir Winston Churchill once observed:
“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden – terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”
We begin with a sober look at the escalating crisis:
- As Russia Invades Ukraine, Here are Three Ways Christians Should Respond
From The Daily Citizen:
In the early hours of the morning on February 24, the Russian Federation invaded the nation of Ukraine.
If you’ve turned on a news channel over the past 24 hours, you’ve undoubtedly seen endless videos of Russian helicopters, fighter jets, troop carriers and tanks attacking Ukraine. Russian forces have begun a full-scale assault on Ukraine by air, land and sea.
For the average Christian in America, the crisis in Ukraine can feel far off and distant.
But as Christians, we are called to pray and offer intercessions “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).
Here are three things you can do.
- Please pray. Pray for wisdom for all world leaders who have a part in resolving the conflict. Pray for the Ukrainian citizens whose lives have been disrupted and endangered by the war. And pray that peace will soon be restored to the region.
- Consider donating to parachurch ministries and reputable organizations that provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine, and Ukrainians who are fleeing the country.
- Stay informed. Become knowledgeable about the ongoing conflict, and ponder what it must be like to be a Ukrainian citizen today.
Where Putin Goes From Here
Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal:
It is ugly and will get uglier. Vladimir Putin isn’t going to stop anytime soon. You don’t launch a full-scale military assault on another nation and two days later say, “Oh, I think I’ve made my point,” and go home. He was never interested in negotiations, he was never open to argument, he set this in motion and will follow through to the imagined victory point in his head.
He has shocked the West. He wanted to shock the West.
When I was a kid they used to say a coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man but one. In time I came to think no, the imaginative die a thousand deaths, the dullard but one. You have to maintain an eye for peril and see its implications. The world is in new peril.
You may not care about war but war cares about you. Russia isn’t Upper Volta with a gas station; it’s Upper Volta with a gas station, the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, and a furious owner. What he does may have repercussions. If you would lead, you don’t get not to care.
Sometimes leaders are mad. Sometimes they want you to think they’re mad. Sometimes both.
What is important from the West is unity and strength—not “toughness” but strength. You don’t have to make a great show of determination if you’re really determined, you just have to be who you are.
All the West is going to have to play a long, cool, careful game. Leaders and officials should do nothing to provoke. In Europe they should speak in one voice to the extent possible: define, describe, be precise, no histrionics. Don’t taunt.
The West is on the right side. It should keep its height, keep its nerve and hold together. Be cool, press hard, resist.
Let the world see what happens to a man who does what Vladimir Putin is doing. Show gravity. Because it’s all very grave.
To Stay and Serve: Why We Didn’t Flee Ukraine
From the Gospel Coalition:
My wife and I have decided to remain in our city near Kyiv. We want to serve the people here along with Irpin Bible Church where I joined the pastoral team in 2016. In anticipation of coming disaster, we’ve bought a supply of food, medicine, and fuel so that, if necessary, we’ll be able to help those in need rather than burden them.
Ours is a family of six. We’re raising four daughters. What I worry about the most is my 16-year-old who travels to college every day for an hour and a half, one way, by public transportation. The media warns that if Russia invades, mobile communications will be lost, and public transit will likely collapse. Thankfully, her classes have now gone online.
We have decided to stay, both as a family and as a church. When this is over, the citizens of Kyiv will remember how Christians have responded in their time of need.
And while the church may not fight like the nation, we still believe we have a role to play in this struggle. We will shelter the weak, serve the suffering, and mend the broken. And as we do, we offer the unshakable hope of Christ and his gospel. While we may feel helpless in the face of such a crisis, we can pray like Esther. Ukraine is not God’s covenant people, but like Israel, our hope is that the Lord will remove the danger as he did for his ancient people. And as we stay, we pray the church in Ukraine will faithfully trust the Lord and serve our neighbors.
Persecuted Christians Have Much to Teach the Church
From the Wall Street Journal:
Most Western media coverage of Near Eastern Christians focuses on their persecution, and their plight deserves to be better known. But Christians in the Near East are more than an oppressed people. They belong to unique national communities rooted in a premodern, pre-Islamic landscape, suffused with the Semitic culture of the early church. As Western culture turns against itself, the endangered faithful might help us more than we can help them.
The hope of the West lies in a revival of the Western church, which will come only with a rediscovery of the incarnational, action-oriented Christianity of the Semitic East. The West is materially strong but spiritually weak. Hyperpolitical, overly digital and drifting in our faith, we can look to leaders like Mar Awa as examples of another way—the original way.
2. Biden Tells Advisers He Has Chosen His Supreme Court Nominee
From The New York Times:
President Biden informed his advisers that he had chosen a Supreme Court nominee on Thursday, according to two people familiar with the selection process.
The president’s decision ended a monthlong search to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the senior member of the court’s three-member liberal wing, who announced in January that he would retire at the end of the court’s current term this summer once his successor was in place.
Mr. Biden is under pressure to announce his selection, who he has promised will be a Black woman, somewhere between the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his first State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday. The White House did not comment on his decision, which CNN reported earlier.
An announcement could come as soon as Friday, but Mr. Biden’s advisers have said it could take until the end of the month, which is on Monday. Vice President Kamala Harris canceled a previously planned trip to Louisiana on Friday, though advisers to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris said that was at least partly because she and Mr. Biden would be focused on Russia for part of the day. Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet virtually with other NATO heads of state on Friday morning.
3. Abortion Pills Now Account for More Than Half of U.S. Abortions
From The New York Times:
More than half of recent abortions in the United States were carried out with abortion pills, according to preliminary data released on Thursday, a sign that medication abortion has increasingly become the most accessible and preferred method for terminating pregnancy.
The increase in medication abortion is most likely the result of several factors. The method — which is less expensive and less invasive than surgical abortions — had already become increasingly common before the coronavirus pandemic, driven partly by restrictions from conservative states that imposed hurdles to surgical methods, especially later in pregnancy.
- California School Officials Arrested For Allegedly Not Reporting Three Sexual Assault Cases
From the Daily Wire:
Two assistant principals in Rialto, California, have been arrested for allegedly failing to report three instances of sexual assault at a high school to law enforcement.
The Wilmer Amina Carter High School officials, 38-year-old David Yang and Natasha Harris, 37, were taken into custody on Wednesday. They were charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney with two misdemeanor counts of failure to report child abuse or neglect and a count of child abuse — which is a felony, as reported by NBC Los Angeles.
“They’re mandated reporters and they are supposed to do their job,” the father of a teenager accuser told the outlet. “They should be held accountable every way shape and form possible.”
One mother says her then 15-year-old daughter was assaulted last November by a 17-year-old male but that the school did not do anything. The woman’s husband claims her daughter was told, “Maybe it was the way you were dressed or you might be seeking attention.”
- ‘The Bible Stays and our Veterans Win’; Lawsuit over POW/MIA Display at VA Hospital Settles
From The Daily Citizen:
Lawyers at First Liberty Institute have announced a settlement of a years-long litigation over a POW/MIA display at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MVAMC) in New Hampshire. The display, called a “Missing Man Table” or “Fallen Comrade Table,” is a common sight at military installations and medical centers and typically consists of a table with a white tablecloth, an empty chair, a red rose, a yellow ribbon, a slice of lemon, a pinch of salt, a candle, an inverted glass, and a Bible. All are symbolic in some form and represent the plight of soldiers either taken prisoner or missing in action.
The Bible included in the display at the MVAMC was donated by former U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant Herman “Herk” Streitburger, of Bedford, New Hampshire, who was held captive in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
The Missing Man Table at the MVAMC caught the attention of an activist organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, in early 2019 which said it represented over a dozen veterans who objected to the inclusion of a Christian Bible in the display. The MVAMC initially removed the Bible from the display, but later reconsidered and restored it. Then, one of the objecting veterans sued, alleging the presence of the Bible made the display unconstitutional as a government endorsement of religion.
The POW/MIA network that sponsored the table, represented by First Liberty, asked the federal court to allow it to join the lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the display, and the dispute has been in the courts ever since.
6. Georgia Republicans kill school choice bill because their feelings got hurt
From the Washington Examiner:
Georgia Republicans had their feelings hurt by a mail flyer campaign. Georgia children will now pay the price.
Georgia Republicans withdrew a bill that would have established a $6,000-per-student voucher program, expanding school choice in the state. Why? Because they disapproved of a flyer campaign by the American Federation for Children, an organization that supports school choice. According to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, the flyer campaign attacked Georgia Republicans “very viciously.”
The fliers called on some Republicans not to “give in to the radical Left” and advised people to contact the office of those lawmakers. Why this was so offensive is not entirely clear because it was not clear whether the bill would pass. Ralston himself said it was going to face a “competitive vote,” meaning the group was trying to tip the scale and wasn’t just pestering Republicans for no reason.
But Georgia Republicans apparently decided that the act was so offensive that they would simply tank the bill. “That voucher legislation will not move at all in the Georgia House of Representatives this year, period,” Ralston said.
7. High school team chooses faith over tournament
From World Magazine:
Right before the semifinals of the state tournament, the Mustangs from Oakwood Adventist Academy in Huntsville, Ala., had a choice to make: play on the Sabbath or forfeit the game and end the best basketball season in school’s history. Seventh-day Adventists observe the Sabbath from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, and they were scheduled to play at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 19—about an hour before the Sabbath ended. The team forfeited the game and its chances of the title.
8. Olympic skater Nathan Chen’s 7-word mental hack to capture gold: I stopped thinking ‘I’m here to win’
Chen spent the next four years working to redefine what success meant to him. That included a major mindset shift: He stopped going into competitions thinking, “I’m here to win,” he tells CNBC Make It. “Whether I won, whether I lost, I [wanted] to gain as much as I could [from the experience] that didn’t revolve around what sort of placement I got.”
Perhaps counterintuitively, refocusing away from winning helped Chen do exactly that: He captured Olympic gold earlier this month, landing seven quadruple jumps between his two individual events. His short program broke the world record – and, he says, he had a lot of fun doing it.
Recalibrating his mindset was a two-step process. First, he says, he relied on his family, fellow skaters and a team including his longtime skating coach Rafael Arutyunyan, a mental performance coach and a group of choreographers and trainers.
9. Owning a pet can slow mental decline in older adults
From Study Finds:
A team at the University of Michigan studied over 1,300 people with an average age of 65 and found that long-term pet ownership helped to delay aging in the brain. Moreover, these benefits were greater for Black pet parents, people with a college education, and men.
“A companion animal can also increase physical activity, which could benefit cognitive health. That said, more research is needed to confirm our results and identify underlying mechanisms for this association.”
10.A special moment: ‘It means the world to all of us!’
The student manager of a high school basketball team in Jay County enjoyed a moment Tuesday night that he’ll remember forever. In fact, you could say enjoyed two such moments.
Luke Vormohr hasn’t let Down Syndrome slow him down. He’s a key part of the Jay County High School boys basketball team, serving as a student manager. Tuesday, the school hosted the Winchester Golden Falcons in a late-season non-conference matchup.
Luke saw action early on, recording two points before leaving the game.
As the game progressed, the lead grew for the home Patriots; little doubt as to the outcome. And yet, the end of this contest was indeed special.
With time winding down, Coach Jerry Bomholt gave the word, and Luke was back in the game. A first shot from beyond the arc was off target — short — falling into the hands of a teammate, who quickly flung the ball back to Luke.