DLGP

Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

May I Sit a Little Longer and Have another London Fog Please

Written by: on August 30, 2023

Through the Covid Pandemic also known as a black swan event, we can glean greatly from Nassim Nicholas book The Black Swan.[1] I found myself in a place of needing to sit a little longer and try something new, which was drinking tea. In the lounge of the hotel I sat and enjoyed good company with Michael, Daron, and my cohort. I enjoyed intellectual conversations that went deeper as we shared, listened, thought, and prayed. As I enjoyed the architecture of Cape Town, as a builder specializing in concrete work, I honored the precision of craftsmanship and history that went into this city heavily influenced from the Dutch.

Cape Town

In Cape Town, in our hotel, there was order, a consistent schedule, most of all a bed I could sleep without being disturbed. I found myself wanting to just sit and have another London Fog. To be present in the moment, to enjoy the moment. I found myself in a place of history, intellect, architecture, a very diverse and economic challenged city. A place I did not want to leave, as in this place I was safe from all the problems and challenges I face back home. I got a phone call from my wife with some good news and bad news. The good news was our daughter Addy was out of ICU and the bad news a person crashed through our fence and into the side of the church.

Anti-Fragile

I realized in this moment I was very fragile. A feeling I was not used to and did not like, after all I am used to winning. I have the gift of faith, God is with me, no weapon formed against me shall prosper! So why do I feel this way? I know as a pastor I should not feel this way. I walked 12-15 miles a day but could not escape this feeling of being inadequate. I could not punch my way out of this situation or feeling, I could not work enough, or walk it off. Everything was going wrong in my life back home, I wanted to sit a little longer in Cape Town and have another London Fog. As Nassim points out in his conclusion of Antifragile: Things Gained From Disorder I realized I was not entirely in control and I was subject to greater powers than myself.[2]

The Secret History of Oxford

In Paul Sullivans book The Secret of Oxford I realized that I was not an “Oxford Man.[3]” My dad could be an Oxford Man, but not me. These are great literature giants of history and I struggle with writing and communication. Most of the time, I’m in stained cargo shorts from grease and food debris from feeding the poor. I have gained weight from not taking care of myself, I wonder would I still fit into my suit? How much weight can a person lose in 3 weeks? Would I be rejected from faculty and students from Oxford? Do we homeschool our daughter with special needs so she does not get sick before going to London? Do I shut down the church and all ministries so nothing goes wrong while I’m in London?

In My Father’s House

I realized through the summer, I have had a little anxiety about London. As London is one of my last thresholds of becoming a doctoral student, I will be stepping into that new place the Lord has invited me into. Most of all, I will be in my Fathers House at Christ Church.[5] In this place, my Father welcomes me and us into a new place and experience with Him. That in this program, God has given us a seat not only at His table, but at one of the most prestigious places in the world.

In Conclusion

As I prepare for Oxford and stepping out of System 1 thinking and into System 2 thinking.[4] I realize that I am not an Oxford Man or never will be. But the good news is that I’m God’s man, that is enough for me. I think I will sit a little longer in London and enjoy another London Fog with friends.

[1] Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. The Black Swan. Penguin Books, 2008.

[2] Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile. Penguin Books, 2013.

[3] Paul Sullivan, The Secret History of Oxford (The History Press, 2013).

[4]Kahneman, Daniel, 1934- author. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York :Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

[5] Luke 2:49 And He said to them, “why do you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Fathers business?

About the Author

mm

Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

9 responses to “May I Sit a Little Longer and Have another London Fog Please”

  1. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    Greg, great post. It is more important to be God’s man and every place that God wants you to be you will be there.

  2. Thank you Shonell. Hope you are well and see you in London ­čÖé

  3. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Greg, Thank you so much for your post! I so enjoyed reading your thoughts! This quote from you stuck out for me: “Most of all, I will be in my Fathers House at Christ Church.[5] In this place, my Father welcomes me and us into a new place and experience with Him. That in this program, God has given us a seat not only at His table, but at one of the most prestigious places in the world.” What a great reminder to all of us, that God welcomes us wherever he leads us. Thank you for those wise words.

    Those words remind me a bit of the bio that Shonell put on her blog account. Have you read it?

    Also, what a great job you did of weaving together several resources, including several of our class readings. You have inspired me to look for the same opportunities. I’m curious, will you use this same basic blog for the writing on Antifragile? And, what did you think of Taleb’s The Black Swan?

    • Jenny,
      Surprisingly, I liked Taleb’s style of writing. At first I was a little surprised by his direct communication and seemed to a little superior in his thinking. But he really communicated his point he was trying to make.

      Both books helped me have some peace with what happened at our church during Covid with the food ministry and what I would do different if I was to face another crises like we faced in Covid.

      I will look at Shonell’s post.

      In Christ,

      PG

      • Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

        Hi Greg, Thanks for your response. I’m interested to read Taleb!

        Also I wanted to tell you that recently, there have been several news stories on a single black swan that showed up at one of the nature parks in Portland. No one knows where it came from or why it is alone. Just out of curiosity, I was wondering if there were any legends on the meaning of the black swan. You answered that for me! Thank you. That was great timing.

  4. mm Becca Hald says:

    Greg, I am praying that your daughter stays healthy and everything stays well and running smoothly while you are away. I can understand your worry. I love how you lay it at the feet of Jesus and put your trust in Him. I look forward to spending time with you in Oxford. You may not, as you say, be an “Oxford Man,” but God is bringing you to Oxford!

  5. Becca,

    Thank you, I am going to shut down the church while in London and we are going to keep our daughter home this year from school. It will be our last advance together and I want to enjoy it with everyone. God is good to us!

    I look forward to seeing you and everyone in London. This has truly been a special time together. I am grateful.

    Much love!

    PG

  6. Tonette Kellett says:

    Hey Greg,

    I too am praying for you and your family as you make the trip to Oxford. I am praying for health for all of your children, but especially for your daughter. I pray for your church, and the ministry of food distribution, and the wisdom and discernment to know what to do in your absence.

    The Lord has a plan and a purpose for these days of Advance in Oxford for you, of refreshment and fellowship, and so much more. You may not feel at times like you’re an “Oxford man” because you don’t appear to be, or you don’t look the part. However, you my friend very much are. Look what the Lord himself has wrought in you over these last few years. All that you’ve read and written… Don’t underestimate yourself because of “cargo pants”.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  7. Alana Hayes says:

    Now that we are on the other side of this trip, I can say you are an Oxford man!

    How did you grow personally on your trip that you took back with you? How has this helped your ministry?

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