With Remembrance Sunday just around the corner, I’ve been revisiting some of Nigel Biggar’s work on war and peace. The purpose of this short piece is to highlight some of Biggar’s chief insights, or at least those insights that most strike me as worth highlighting in the contemporary climate. I have derived these points from my reading of In Defence of War, as well as listening to Biggar’s talks on the justifiability of WWI, on just war in debate with Michael Ruse and on the role of religion in war and peace.Continue reading “Remembrance Sunday: Nigel Biggar on Just War”
In episode 7, the penultimate episode of this series, I was pleased to speak with Matt Wilson. Hailing from Manchester, Matt is Managing Director of Goodlabs, a management consultancy helping organisations to enhance their social impact. Matt is also a Labour and Cooperative councillor based in North Shields in the North-west of England.
In our conversation, we discussed the overlap and tension between Matt’s political convictions and the pentecostal tradition he grew up in, the scriptural roots of common philanthropy or collective giving and the importance of considering the structural nature of injustices in society.
You can access a podcast version of this episode here.
- For more information about Matt’s consultancy business GoodLabs, see https://www.goodlabs.uk
- For Matt’s piece following the 2019 election, see https://medium.com/@mattwi1s0n/labour…
- For more on Common Change’s work in collective giving, see https://www.commonchange.com
- We discussed John Barclay’s work concerning Paul and gift-giving. See Barclay’s Paul and Gift (Eerdmans, 2015) here: https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/753…. And for the sequel, Paul and the Power of Grace (Eerdmans, 2020), see here: https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/746…. For those more inclined to videos, see this video in which John talks about Paul’s conception of grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oul6_…
For episode 5, I had the pleasure of sitting down to speak with Tim Farron, MP. Tim is the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmoreland and Lonsdale in Cumbria and was leader of the Liberal Democrats between 2015 and 2017. He is the author of A Better Ambition: Confessions of a Faithful Liberal published by SPCK in 2019.
Tim spoke to me about the need for greater humility among liberals across the Western world, about the Christian roots of liberalism and the Liberal party in the UK and about the need to disagree well. My conversation with Tim was slightly shorter than some of the others and this is due to the fact that I caught Tim on the night the budget was released. My thanks to Tim for generously offering his time on a very busy evening.
A podcast version of this conversation is available here.
For the fourth episode of Politics at the Cross+Roads, I sat down to speak with Jonathan Aitken. Jonathan was Conservative MP and cabinet member before he was dramatically sentenced to 7 months at Belmarsh prison for perjury in 1999. Following his conversion to Christianity, Jonathan trained for ministry in the Church of England and now serves as non-stipendiary priest at St Matthew’s Westminster in London, and as prison chaplain at Pentonville Prison. We had a delightful conversation about prison rehabilitation, the power of forgiveness in a culture that is losing the will to forgive (at least collectively, if not on the individual level), about his Anglo-Catholic evangelical faith and about the need for Christians to be small-p political in their involvement in public life. You can find this interview and others on iTunes in both short and long format here.
Giles covered a lot of ground in our conversation. For those wanting to listen, here is the full and unedited version of our conversation. You can find a shorter version of our discussion on the iTunes page. Enjoy!
Today I had the great pleasure of welcoming our first guest to Politics at the Cross+Roads, Rev Canon Dr Giles Fraser. Giles will be well known to many listeners as a journalist with Unherd (and previously with the Guardian). Giles is a priest and canon in the Church of England and he regularly contributes to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and the Moral Maze. We had an absolutely fascinating discussion about how he sees the relationship between socialism and conservatism, about whether the pandemic is a post liberal moment and how the Church roots us in community, warts and all.
- For Giles’ new book, Chosen: Lost and Found Between Christianity and Judaism (Penguin, 2021), see https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/213/213476/chosen/9780241003268.html
- For Giles’ post liberal reading list, see https://unherd.com/2019/11/a-post-liberal-reading-list/
- On churches and the pandemic, see Giles’ thoughts here https://twitter.com/giles_fraser/status/1354091428092268545, https://unherd.com/2020/12/why-i-wont-be-closing-my-church-this-christmas/ and https://unherd.com/2020/11/boris-johnson-doesnt-get-god/
- For Giles’ discussion of Jesus as a somewhere and Paul as an anywhere, see https://unherd.com/2018/08/jesus-somewhere-paul-anywhere/
- On postliberalism and the Magnificent Seven, see https://unherd.com/2020/04/the-magnificent-seven-is-a-post-liberal-idyll/
In this first video in the Politics at the Cross+Roads series, Giles Fraser talks about how he sees the relationship between socialism and conservatism, about whether the pandemic is a post liberal moment and how the local church roots us in a place and in community.
I’m putting together a podcast called Politics at the Cross+Roads. As the name suggests, the podcast sits at the intersection or the crossroads of Christian faith and political conviction. In Politics at the Cross+Roads, I interview interesting Christians in the public square about where they are politically and how their faith helped them get there.
This a new series which features conversations with prominent public figures who are Christians and who also openly discuss their political convictions.
So, in the weeks and months to come, join me as I speak with well-known, thinking Christians from across the political spectrum, looking at why they’ve come to the positions they have and how their faith has helped them get there.
Together, we’ll explore such questions as, how do your political convictions and your faith interact? When has your Christianity come into conflict with your politics? And what does the Christian faith have to say to the political tradition you inhabit and what does the political tradition you inhabit have to say to your faith?
So keep an eye out on the blog (www.thesaeculum.com) under the Politics at the Cross+Roads section, as well as the blog’s YouTube channel and on iTunes for audio and video conversations with well-known guests over the next few months.
I hope that you enjoy watching and listening.