The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…

Yes, you are actually seeing it. More than two months after joshmorton.com mysteriously stopped updating, it’s back. I don’t have much to say on the topic… I wasn’t trying to make any point by not writing, nor was I trying to make people tell me how much they like reading my site (three of you did, though). I just lost interest in writing for a while. If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t read any blogs in two months either, so at least you can rest in the fact I completely gave it up, and you all got to share in the joy of it just like I did :) I changed the look just to make the distinction that things have changed. It may not be a permanent look, but at least it’s different.

Some of you may know that I’ve been attending a worship symposium at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Currently I’m sitting in the back of my truck, on top of my blankets, drinking a bottle of water and chillin in the parking lot of the AmeriSuites Inn. I’m here for my Worship Capstone class, but the school has been gracious enough to make us pay all our expenses on our own, so the truck and I are getting cozy this week. The two girls in my class have a hotel room here at the AmeriSuites, so after the symposium each night I’ve just gone up there and chillaxed in their hotel room. They have an empty sofa bed, but far be it from us to even entertain something so non-IWUpriate (that means IWU appropriate). Actually, it’s been failry cozy in the back of the Rodeo, and tonight is the warmest night yet, so I’m doing pretty well. Honestly, it’s almost warm enough to sleep outside. Almost.

The Calvin Symposium on worship started out pretty slow, but got quite a lot better today, and it has been a lot of fun hanging in GR with Mary and Sarah, and away from the IWU bubble. It has also sparked a lot of thought, especially in the afternoon today, and I want to share one of those thoughts with you. Hopefully my return to blogging will not be short-lived, and I will actually share some of the other thoughts I’ve had over the week.. But for now let’s be happy with just one.

This conference has about 1600 people attending, many of them from the midwest, but also a very large portion from around the country and across the world. By virtue of the fact they were recognized during the opening chapel, I would guesstimate there to be 60-80 Japenese attenders, and Calvin has claimed to have over 50 countries represented. There have been some well-known people here, including Brian McLaren and Eugene Peterson. What really struck me today though was the diversity we had in our evening worship. Now, to be honest I haven’t been all that impressed with the worship services, especially to say that this is a worship symposium. The audio is abysmal, the music is boring, and the speaking has left much to be desired. But tonight an interesting thing happened. Tonight’s liturgist (she explained she had never been called that before, which was quite humorous) was a black lady who plays a prominent role in a church here in Grand Rapids. Worship was led by a Calvin’s gospel choir, which was of course 85% white (but did at least have a black director), and the message was delivered by a black man who grew up in both Antigua and Great Britain, which means, of course, that he has an incredible accent that is just great to listen to.

But through the course of the service I saw a culturally diverse group of people worship together. It lacked the contemporary style of music I like (read: David Crowder and Chris Tomlin), but managed to incorporate many different American cultures into its feel, without the painful feel of trying too hard. It wasn’t an attempt at blending church cultures together. It was just a multi-cultural service. Now, you must understand I am speaking of just the cultures within our own country, but there are so many that we as a country must be understood as very culturally diverse.

I have never been much on racism. In fact, I’ve believed for a long time that the best way to defeat racism is to stop telling everyone that they have problems with it, and then we’d actually forget that we are supposed to be racist, an then maybe we could all just get along. I know it’s wishful thinking, but it worked quite well in the utopia of my mind. Anyways, I realized just how much we’re missing by being so racially divided in church. I still think that churches are missing the point if we’re trying to be ethnically diverse just for the politics of it; but churches that are striving to be diverse because of the beauty and unity of God’s people worshiping together are on the right track. It was such an indredible thing to see the diversity of worship tonight, and I wish desperately the church would understand that.

Actually, I’ve noticed my views on diversity have matured a lot in the past few months. There was a time not so many years ago where had I been asked to put a committee together (you can choose what reason I’m putting it together for), I would have found 6 people just like me and grouped us all together. But I realize how much more creative, insightful and productive a diverse group is, there’s no way I would ever pick 7 of mes again. I’d split the group fairly equally in gender, ethnicity, socio-economic standing, and even doctrinal differences. The wealth of diversity is just so rich–there’s no way I would ever want to pass it up for the dullness of similarity.

I just hit a wall, so this discussion is over for now. But along the way I did start pondering about Jesus and who he picked as disciples, so you may see a return to that idea someday. For now, welcome back to joshmorton.com, and long live the blog.