I will not use my warped sense of humor, nor my most sincere motives as an excuse for something that can cause unwarranted pain in another human being. There is enough pain in this world as is, and I have absolutely no desire to create or add to pain to the already inevitably painful human existence since we live in the world after The Fall.
My heart's hope and desire has always been (since I came to know Christ) and continues to be that I am an empty vessel fully surrender to God's loving hand so that the Spirit of Jesus Christ who lives in me (and all of those who receive Him) can have an unhindered way to pour His love, grace, truth and healing into anyone who is open to His gracious offer of forgiveness and life eternal.
Of course, like anyone else, I am very much a work-in-progress. I fail every day. I sin every day. I confess my sins and appropriate the cleansing afforded to us through Christ's death on the cross every day. I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me again and again many times throughout the day, because I am so stinkin' independent and bent on speeding through life guided by my own sense of values, priorities and often external pressures.
I also see the Lord using my failures and weaknesses (in addition to just the plain 'getting old') to slow me down, to 'force' me to turn to Him in prayer and to rely on the wisdom of His word and the gracious ways of His Spirit moment by moment, day by day in all my dealings with His world and the people I interact, both in real life and virtually.
All this to say, if God turned the most cataclysmic event in human history - the death of His Son - into a transforming power-house of eternal life, hope, salvation and wisdom for daily living poured into our lives, it is my prayer and earnest hope that this offense and my public acknowledgment and repentance would become a source of healing and hope not only for me and my Russian friends, but also for many others throughout the entire globe who read this blog.
Needless to say that my true and honest feelings toward all my Slavic brothers and sisters are so far from any off-hand, silly comments I might have made in a feeble attempt to be funny.
I LOVE my heritage. In a healthy way, I am proud of it and of all the peoples that belong to the wide river of Slavs both in general and in their specific groupings. I love our the deep passion for life, the extravagant capacity for suffering and ability to rise out of ashes like phoenix again and again. I love our dedication to reading, to history, to amazing hospitality and generosity (these are the areas I still need to grow in and develop!).
We love to argue and still be friends. We talk sex. We talk politics. We talk relationships. We talk RELIGION!!! We talk about things nobody else on earth dares talking about except under the strictly-regulated relationship of mental-health counselor and their client (paying, of course, a handsome fee every time - 50 minute session - for the privilege we, without a thought, freely and generously offer to each other over a drink in a local coffee shop!).
I believe this world would be much poorer, shallower, more superficial place if there was no Russia, and no wonderfully (and dangerously!) wild Slavs, for that matter, on the world map. I could say so much more but I hope this will suffice to articulate some of my thoughts and feelings towards my larger Slavic family. I hope these thoughts would be tiny footsteps towards greater intimacy in our relationship with the Lord who created all of us, and greater appreciation for the marvelous complexity of the global Body of Christ and the delightful world of variety we live in.
I am grateful in advance for the forgiveness I hope you will extend to me.
Your Writer and His