Yesterday, I was invited to add my name to a statement in response to recent events in the USA, which you can read here.
I was subsequently asked if I would record myself reading it, so that the recordings could be edited together. I agreed - and in due course that will appear online too.
Black Lives Matter - we know that, it's not something new, and it's pretty easy for me to add my name to a statement or to record myself reading it.
Let me tell you about K, a retired bus-driver who came over from Barbados in response to a call for people to take on the roles that white British people wouldn't/couldn't/didn't do. He made a home for himself, married a white woman and raised beautiful, intelligent daughters.
Time passed, and he was accepted simply as K by those in the church of which he was a member. A kindly man who offered lifts to others, who grew vegetables in his garden, and who loved watching the West Indies play cricket.
The emergence of the 'British National Party' troubled K, and rightly so, they wanted him and others like him to be thrown out of 'their' country. So when a BNP councillor was elected for the ward where I lived, and Dibley Baptists served, I had no choice but to speak out - even to a congregation where some that felt 'politics has no place in the pulpit.'
K was terrified, really terrified. He knew we all loved him, but that wasn't enough. He feared for his wife, already in a care home. He feared for his daughters. He thanked me for that sermon. And I have never quite forgotten, the look in his eyes.
Black lives matter. Of course all lives matter, but whether I like it or not, as a white, educated Western European, I can only see and speak from a place of privilege.
I still generally don't do 'politics from the pulpit', at least not if by that we mean justifying a voting preference on notionally theological grounds. But I do try to preach the truth, that all are made in the image and likeness of God, and are of equal worth. I guess that's political too.