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David French, New York Times writer, took a trip to Kiev, Ukraine in May 2023. The experience changed his life. He received “a dose of perspective that I didn’t know I needed.”

Smelling Salts

Perspective is as good as smelling salts.

15 months ago, Russian aggression took on a new form of evil with the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Throughout this war, the unshakeable resilience of the Ukrainian people is on display. Ironically, some politicians and social media influencers have advanced the narrative that Ukraine is the villain and Putin is the champion of Christian values.

The invasion caused the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. Ukrainian cities leveled. Terror attacks. The UN estimates 26,000 civilian casualties. The estimate is likely low. 354,000 Ukrainian and Russian troops were killed or injured as of April 2023. Europe’s deadliest conflict since WW2 is projected to last well beyond 2023.


French provided an eyewitness account of the atrocities, including what it is like to survive the terror of a hypersonic missile attack by the Russians. He talked about the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll of the war on the Ukrainian people and Russian war crimes. French said he came back different. Not just with different thoughts but different in his being. His time in Ukraine reminded him about standing guard against evil. Listen to his story on the Good Faith podcast.

The closest I came to David’s experience resulted from short-term mission trips to Siberia, Zimbabwe, and Thailand.

The people we encountered shape us to this day. We’re vigilant about gratitude and stress less over our perceived hardships. And we treasure cold, clean, fresh water.

In 2003 when Jocelyn and I returned home from visiting HIV/AIDS orphanages in Africa I made a remark on a Sunday about worship. How our biggest battles are over hymns or choruses while African  children battle poverty and death. Someone took to me to task because “worship is our battle.” I got it. I get it now. It’s whats in front of us that matters. Maybe we should get some different stuff in front of us.


Perspective completely trivializes some of our cultural battles. Who’s angry at who, who’s being cancelled. Why is there an online protest about Bud Lite and t-shirts stocked at Target.

We may be so far removed in Wildrose country that we’re oblivious to the historic impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the massive suffering as a result. This war will be talked about in 100 years from now. And we are only on the leading edge of the outcomes. The war is the most consequential thing happening in the world today. Alberta is not beyond the ripples.


There is evil in this world. Pondering the reality of the Ukraine war can give us better perspective.

To stand guard against evil is an absolutely, underappreciated aspect of Christian values.

All of us could use a dose of perspective that we didn’t know we needed.

What are your thoughts about the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Please join the conversation and post a comment below.

NOTE: You can give to Bob’s fundraiser for Ukraine here.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Al Downey says:

    Some attempt to explain the Ukrainian/Russian war in terms of historical geopolitics. After all the rationalizing is done, it boils down to one cause – ‘evil.’ A megalomaniac surrounded by hand selected puppets use their bullying power to achieve their goals, no matter the cost in human suffering. That is plain, unadulterated evil.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you for leaning in, Al. You know Ukraine. The atrocities committed against Ukraine are nothing short of evil. Standing with Ukraine is to stand against evil.

  • Russia is a troubled country, the result of mad Csars and even madder communist leaders. While their obedience to Christianity in the area of resisting LGBTQ propaganda far surpasses ours, they have issues with oligarchs and the arrests of political opponents, if they survive poisoning.
    I met David French many years ago when he worked for CBC in Terrace, B.C. He was a good Christian man, and I liked him. But whether they were his words or yours (Bob), there is a serious error in saying that Russia’s attack on Ukraine was ‘unprovoked’. It was provoked by NATO which deliberately expanded into countries neighbouring Russia, knowing that there would be a response. They made that decision and stated it publically in 2014. America, the driver of NATO, helped provoke and facilitate the Maidan coup in Ukraine. Russia responded by taking over Crimea with its major Russian Naval base in Sevastopol, without firing a shot. Crimeans appear to be happy about it. About the same time, Russia and Ukraine entered an agreement called the Minsk Accord where Ukraine would deal with the majority Russian-speaking people of Donbas. They never did! Except to support the infamous AZOV battalion of literal Nazis who terrorized the residents of Donbas for years. The Pentagon also supported the Azov Batallion. The Pentagon also supported the construction of dozens of biolabs (28 approx) in Ukraine. According to China, the Pentagon operates 336 biolabs around the world. Do you think they are doing this because the Pentagon is worried about people’s health?
    Mainstream media will never tell you the truth about what is going on in Ukraine – that it’s a proxy war with NATO and America on one side and Russia on the other. The purpose is to destroy Russia, to keep the arms inventory moving, and to facilitate the “wealth transfer” from the middle class to wealthy arms manufacturers.
    NATO and America have planned this war for many years without regard for Ukrainians who will be bombed back into the 12th century. They have no interest in ending the war as long as the inventory keeps moving.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Hi Gary. Always good to hear from you. Thank you for your comprehensive response. Good to hear you know David. I enjoy his writing.

    I do hold a different opinion about biolabs, NATO, and the Azov batallion. My persoective is that the narrative around those three were conceived, crafted and amplified by QAnon and the Russian government. Particularly in regards to the Azov Batallion. Their origins and initial values and behaviour are not what they became and are at present.

    No nation is perfect. Not Canada, the US or Ukraine. The atrocities carried out by Russia on Ukraine are unconscionable. I connect with pastors in both Ukraine and Russia. I seek out facts. That being said, I am open to being fully informed.

  • Bob,
    I’ll concede you may be right about the Azov Batallion, their roots were certainly Nazi, but you will certainly never hear anything derogatory about them from mainstream media. Same as biolabs. The Pentagon operated at least 26 biolabs in Ukraine and 330 around the world – The pentagon – that bastion of medical research.
    See the article I just posted at


  • Bob Jones says:

    You have been a champion of fighting against childhood sexual abuse, Gary. Always glad to be in that fight with you.

  • Thanks, Bob,
    Just want you to know that I never read or quote QAnon. Someone recommended it to me several years ago so I spent about a minute looking at some headlines there, then left and have never been back.

    Keep up the great blog.

    God bless

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thanks, Gary. Happy 75TH b-day!

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