Oliver Twist saying, “please sir, I want some more”, Mary Poppins singing, “feed the birds, tuppence a bag”, and Edith Crawley taking the train from the castle in the countryside to her London flat, are all images I have of London instilled in my mind over the years from movies and television. Hargraves Orin says In CultureShock! London,
First, there is the London of the imagination, the one that is the most real for many people in the world because they have never been to London and know about the city only second hand. Every book, film and television programme about London will help you to know it in this regard (Hargraves 2010, Location 301, Kindle edition).
This London of the imagination has always fascinated me. After taking a test from one of the genetic testing services, I found out that I have 16% Great Britain heritage. Perhaps this has impacted my love of all things English, including and especially a fondness for tea, scones, clotted cream, and the whole tea ritual.
In addition to the images of the movies, I was looking forward to seeing the many images from magazines such as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the double-decker buses, and a possible sighting of one of the Royals. Living in the heart of American politics in Washington, DC, I am intrigued as well by all of the Brexit talks and how the political system in London is set up.
The architecture of the many churches such as Westminster Abby and St. Paul’s Cathedral as well as other historical buildings are of great interest as well since these speak to the history of Christianity after the Reformation. Terry Tan in CultureShock! Great Britain states, “Westminster Abby and St. Paul’s Cathedral, both in London, may have become the best-known symbols of tourist and religious Britain, but by no means are the most grand” (Tan 2008, Location 708, Kindle edition). The churches in Great Britain figure more into my love of murder mysteries than religious history since they seem to be the backdrop of many books.
Oxford conjures images of Harry Potter, the fictional wizard made popular by the many books and movies featuring the many Hogwarts Houses. A professor hurriedly walking down arched stone covered pathways in black robes is also an image I have from the variety of television shows I have seen. It is also a great honor to actually be in Oxford where the great scholars of the world have studied.
Overall, I am looking forward to seeing the members of our cohort as well as our professors and advisors. I am sure our speakers will help us learn more about the ups and downs of leadership from a global perspective and help us apply this to our lives and ministry work.
Hargraves, Orin. CultureShock! London. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2010.
Tan, Terry. CultureShock! Great Britain. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2008.