Jonathan Chaplin (Politics at the Cross+Roads)

After a bit of a break, and as we approach mid-summer, I’m glad to be releasing a new episode. I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Jonathan Chaplin about his life and work. Jonathan is Associate Fellow at Theos think tank, a member of the Divinity Faculty at the University of Cambridge and was previously the first director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, a position he held for 10 years. 

In this wide-ranging conversation, we spoke about Jonathan’s experience of the breadth of Christian reflection on politics and ethics, his interest in Christian Democracy and why it never took of in the UK, how the government’s response to the pandemic has demonstrated the strengths and limits of centralised state activity and, finally, the vital need for the churches to actively form Christians for public life. 

The Little Things and the Unglamorous Ordinary

A friend last night reminded me last night of the significance of the small and seemingly insignificant things of life—making coffee for a loved one, spending time with one’s parents, relating well to the person we find annoying. For the Christian, if all the situations we find ourselves are in some way a gift from God, then how we relate to these things, people and situations seems to be of infinite importance.

It seems that most of life is spent in the mundane humdrum. Yet it is easy to get distracted by the flashing lights of false visions that we might have for ourselves (who we might be, where we might be working, and so on). I’m reminded of Eugene Peterson’s quote that discipleship and wisdom take place in the unglamorous ordinary. It is here that God would have us, for it is here that we grow.