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

Worlds Apart, Closer Than We Think.

Written by: on September 12, 2018

Growing up in a small country town called Anderson in South Carolina the history I taught was our family history of struggle and poverty. Growing up in America within the public school system the only “world history” we were primarily focused on was that of our own country. Even in this narrow upbringing and understanding of world history, there are similar obstacles that emerged in reading Steve Tsang, A Modern History of Hong Kong.

The arts in particular music was the prophetic voice in my life (pre-Jesus days) and the central theme of what drove life is captured in a famous line of the rap group The Lox saying, “money, power, and respect is all you need in life.”[1] This brings me to my first similar obstacle, in that much of Hong Kong’s history from British rule to its rise as one of the economic hotspots of the world, is driven by power, money, and respect (more like oppression in this case).

The second similarity was the influence of drugs. First-hand experience has taught me the power of making a “quick dollar” through the illegal drug market and the stability of the whole country was birth through the optimum market.[2] America knows the struggle against drugs itself as the “War on Drugs” has been called a failed program[3]. Moreover, Pullinger testifies to the stranglehold it puts on a people when it is woven into the fabric of ordinary life.[4] John Maxwell has famously said, “everything rises and falls on leadership”[5] and this statement serves as a reminder that as leaders we cannot solely measure “success” based on the outcome but must inspect the foundation to see if it is built in such a way that the impact for those who follow are also positive. It reminds me of what Jesus said:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”[6]

The obstacle will come, and the foundation upon which a person, an organization, or a country is built on will be tested and exposed as strong or weak.

Hong Kong’s current state of a Special Administrative Region continues to testify of the money, power and respect gospel as the PRC took control back from the British but would not give Hong Kong full independence primarily because of its financial impact. For the PRC it was the best of both worlds by regaining control, but in the exchange lose the capitalistic impact of Britain on Hong Kong would not be felt.[7] Even still the prophetic voice and acts of the Hong Kong Chinese as demonstrated in the Tiananmen Square protests and the Victoria Park vigils speak to the power of community when organized as a single voice. Which brings me to the final, similarity, a voice crying in the wilderness.

The voice came to me as an unsaved freshman at college. It was a voice I had heard before but was unaware to whom it belonged too. It was the prophetic voice that spoke against the oppressive voices I had heard all my life that lead me to true freedom. As leaders, no, as people we can never let the oppressive voices resound louder than the genuinely prophetic voice. This is what the people of Hong Kong are doing in their vigils. May their voice continue to grow louder and lead to true freedom.

Though we are worlds apart, the human experience brings us closer than we think.


[1] The Lox, Money, Power & Respect, 1998.

[2] Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang, (A Modern History of Hong Kong, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 57.

[3] “The War on Drugs.” The Global Commission on Drug Policy, Last modified April 25, 2018, 24, http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports/the-war-on-drugs/.

[4] Pullinger, Jackie, and Andrew Quicke, (Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens, (Minneapolis, MN: Chosen, 2014).

[5] Maxwell, John C, (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, Mumbai: Magna Publishing Co., 2012), xi.

[6]  Matt. 7:23-24 (NRS).

[7] Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang, (A Modern History of Hong Kong, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 236.


About the Author

Mario Hood

Most importantly, I am married to the love of my life, Misty Hood, and I'm kept on my toes all day every day, by my son Dalen and daughter Cola Hood. I also serve as the Next Generation Pastor at Church On The Living Edge in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Dr. Mark Chironna as well as being a Youth and Family Life coach.

8 responses to “Worlds Apart, Closer Than We Think.”

  1. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Thanks for your post and your reflective thoughts. I am curious about the John Maxwell quote tying into Jesus’ parable about the quality of the building directly reflecting the quality of the foundation. How do you see this applied to Hong Kong’s historically? How do you see this applied to Hong Kong’s recent history? That is, how do you see the quality and style of leadership influencing and impacting the measurable results of Hong Kong?

    Thanks again for your thoughts and your post, H

    • Mario Hood says:

      Great question Harry. For me, all of us are leaders in some capacity because someone is always following us either in our professional life or personal life. We know Jesus is talking about himself in the parable, but the principle I was connecting was that the foundation (your principles) always come before your outcome. While we can have “successful” results when everything is going well with a bad foundation, it is when the storms come that everything is brought to light. Historically in Hong Kong, we see the leaders/rulers built the foundation on money as the driving force (as in a lot of countries if not all) and the drug culture as a foundational pillar which led to outcomes that are still in effect today. The bad we read a lot in Pullinger’s book the good is it is one of the world’s leading finical centers. Hong Kong leadership is also in a unique position now where it is still under the rule of another but loosely, which allows for their leaders to be more progressive than mainland China but not too progressive, or they face threats of persecutions.

  2. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Thanks so much for taking time to respond to my questions. I really appreciate your thoughts and your arguments. H

  3. Thanks for your insights Mario. You ended you blog with these words: “May their voice continue to grow louder and lead to true freedom.”

    The SAR and Basic Law was, may I say, providential, answered prayers for Hong Kong. My friend who was born and raised there said that in the 1990s, scores of Hong Kongers left not knowing what China would do after the handoff. One of the greatest achievements in Hong Kong, and this cannot be overstated, was the introduction of basic human rights, freedom of the press, even freedom of religion. These don’t currently exist in communist China and yet the leaders have acknowledged that something good is working in Hong Kong. Just as Tsang has observed, and I’m convinced of this, the Chinese simply don’t know what makes Hong Kong, and for that matter, democracies work.

    Our prayer for China, in the next 21 years, is to recognize and appreciate the worldview that generates and sustains liberty.

  4. Mario Hood says:

    Thanks Harry that adds not just another perspective but one from a person that has/is living it. It reminds me that there is always more to what we see when we are on the outside looking in versus inside looking out.

  5. Karen Rouggly says:

    Thanks for your vulnerability in this post, Mario. I felt like it helped me to get to know you better.

    I love how you refer to the voice…the prophetic voice, and how it’s our job to listen to it louder. It makes me think of the prophetic voices you mentioned earlier in rap music. It really is powerful how much the arts connect to the deepest parts of who we are. What do you think are the cultural voices in today’s society? What artists would you say hold a prophetic voice for you, in the same way the Lox did for you previously?

  6. Mario Hood says:

    Looking forward to meeting you in Hong Kong. I personally mostly listen to Christian Artist now so for me that would be the likes of Lecrae / Andy Mieno / Social Club but I keep tabs on those who influence culture because working with young people they have their ear more than anything it seems. It’s funny that a lot of mainstream artist put a lot of faith in their music now and it’s actually “cool” to do it. The fashion world (at least for you people) is headlined by a guy named Jerry Lorenzo who’s line is Called Fear of God who is a Christian himself.

  7. Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Mario, your closing statement caught my attention. I just spent three days with 80 leaders of various people groups. Your statement is what I kept pondering all week. Though each person and culture is unique, there is much more in common in the human experience than we often pay attention to. Yet if we could focus on that which we have in common, it could bring us together long enough to hear each other’s story and learn what has shaped their unique perspective and gain appreciation for it.

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