Hong Kong Visual Ethnography
Visual Ethnography Learning Synthesis
‘Story’ Post Face-to-Face Advance
Travis Evan Biglow
November 25, 15
To begin, seeing a statue of Bruce Lee on the first day in Hong Kong was really a treat. Bruce Lee was a childhood idol I still love. Being in his hometown of Kowloon was something I will never forget. Other interests in Hong Kong were the churches and the Theological College we attended as well as the Island church.
I enjoyed the lectures and learning about the Theological College we attended and what was really interesting was the cost of the land of this basketball court. The value of the court was the same price of the Staple Center in Los Angeles California. It was interesting to find out how expensive China was. Being a contractor and seeing all of the high rises going up was an eye opener. Because of the unavailability of land, they are forced to go up just to be able house the millions in China. Seeing is believing and
I love architecture and construction and can concur with the words of David Morgan in his book Sacred Gaze. He said, “Seeing is helpfully understood as a great variety of visual practices, forms of engagement with oneself, with others, with the past, with the world engaging viewers as viewer look at them in one manner or another.” Never being in Hong Kong made me able to engage in the architecture and building in a new way.
New Knowledge and Synthesis:
Some of the new knowledge I received had to do with relationships and leadership. Many of the leaders of churches and organizations in Hong Kong were from the United Kingdom and they were able to continue to stay true to their language and still be effective in their churches and businesses. “Leadership is defined by the relationship crafted between a leader and the people who decide to follow that person – happily or unhappily.” And I found that there was a relationship bonded by Chinese Leadership and British leadership. I thought that was quite unique. “People are products of their past.” And sometimes people don’t want to move forward because of it.
“Business is no different it too –is built on relationships.” They keep doing business together and that was some new knowledge I needed to gain. Because many people in the United States let the past be an obstacle for new dialogue in the 21st Century. Also reuniting with my cohort gave me new insight into what they were thinking and what they were dealing with in regards to school and their thesis.
The new cohort and the faculty brought new insights into the program and global awareness of ministry within the Hong Kong context. Just being in Hong Kong was a new experience because I never have been there. The advance has made me sharper on some of the things I want to include in my thesis, primarily having more of a missional concept when it comes to leadership and the 21st Century.
Since the advance I have been reaching out more to my church in regards to going to them rather than just having them come to me. I am more aware of the importance to understand your culture and context and relate to it just the way it is. I have put into practice some things I think fit my context as a church planter. I have engaged in ministry outside of the Sunday service and have extended ministry to meet the needs of church members who cant attend regularly. I was not doing this as much as should have. I think the advance made me feel much more liberated to do this.
A. Minister in your context.
B. Form Relationships outside of your denomination.
C. Have an open mind for ministry.
This advance let me see a new way of doing ministry. When we went to the Island Church in Hong Kong I saw how you could meet the demands of a different culture in that context and not leave yours. I liked that concept. And then the Island Church and the college we went to were able to deal with the different cultural settings surrounding Hong Kong and they were able to form relationships without forcing them to change from some of their customs. And to do this requires having an open mind to ministry because you cant shove your religious beliefs into anyone you have to be opened minded to their religious up bringing and beliefs to at least have dialogue to introduce yours.
Finally it was a joy to experience this cultural experience with my wife. It is easier for me to talk about the Advance because she was with me. As we both go forward in ministry the Hong Kong advance has built upon our worldview because we experienced it together. It takes weeks and months to completely digest the experience which makes it even that more of a life changing event!
Li, Charlene. Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You
Lead. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
Morgan, David. The Sacred Gaze Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
Vries, Manfred F. R. The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human
Enterprise. 2nd ed. Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Financial Times, 2006.
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