DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Power of an Entrance

Written by: on September 13, 2018

I love to make an entrance. Having a background in theatre, there are few things that excite me more than the first time you walk onto the stage for the first time in a role. There is a rush of adrenaline unlike any other. You take a breath, say a prayer that you will remember your lines, and then just walk out. Those same feelings have been brought up when I have made other significant entrances in my life. Before I walked down the isle to meet my soon-to-be husband; when I walked into my first class of graduate school; when I walked through the door of my office having just landed my dream job. Every time, I was struck by the fact that there is so much to be said in the power of an entrance. But the way you enter on stage is unique. You have the power to change the trajectory of an entire performance. If you reject the show that is happening around you, you cause pain, frustration, and anxiety of your fellow actors, and disbelief of the story you are portraying. But if you enter when you are meant to, in a way in which adds to the story, the story is so much greater because of your role.

 

1841. 1966. There was an entrance in each of these years changed the trajectory of a little port city in China called Hong Kong

 

On January 26, 1841, the British authorities officially took possession of the island of Hong Kong. [1] What began as a desire to export tea, silk, and later opium, dramatically shifted the landscape for Hong Kong for years to come.[2] The Modern History of Hong Kong covered in explicit detail the foundations of the British rule in Hong Kong, and how England was involved in the country until 1977.

 

By the seventeenth century, Britain had a deep dependency on China for tea.[3] When the British could no longer afford their tea habit, they smuggled opium from India, another of their colonies, into China. What began as Britians dependency on exports, created a dependency on Chinese illegal imports of illegal drugs. [4]

 

As time went on, things did not get better for the Chinese. From the very foundation of the British rule, it was made quite clear to the Chinese inhabitants of the Canton City how their ruling government felt about them. “In short, the British Empire acquired Hong Kong first and foremost to promote its economic interests in China, and only secondarily to support diplomatic contacts for which naval and military backup was required”.[5] Furthermore, as the British rule gained momentum in China, the minority government chose not to give appropriate representation to the Chinese residents, who were the majority of the population.[6] Over the years, the British set up neat and tidy spaces for themselves to live in, and created roads and walls that divided the Chinese and the Westerners.[7]

 

From the start of their entrance to their reluctant hand off, Britain shaped the country of Hong Kong. By the time the exited, “The Chinese identity that most residents of Hong Kong subscribed to in the early 1980’s was a complex and convoluted one”.[8] It’s incredibly evident that Britain entered the stage play of life in China in a way that negatively altered so much of the life of the Chinese individuals there. While not all their contributions were negative, the overwhelming majority of their presence caused, pain, frustration, and much anxiety.

 

1966 was the year that Jackie Pullinger moved to Hong Kong. Pullinger, while also being British, made a much less dramatic entrance, but nonetheless had a significant impact. In her book, Chasing the Dragon, Pullinger tells the story of her “Slow Boat to China”[9]. She retells the story of her own rush of adrenaline, each time she enters the Walled City. She says “The second time I went into the Walled City, I had this wonderful feeling inside; like the thrill you get on your birthday. I found myself wondering why I was so happy. And the next time I went into the Walled City, I had exactly the same sensation. This was not reasonable – of all the revolting places in the world. And yet nearly every time I was in the underground city over the next dozen years, I was to feel the same joy. I had caught a glimpse of it at confirmation, and again when I had really accepted Jesus into my life – and now to find it in this profane place?”[10] As we discussed last week, the impact of Pullinger’s work was quite significant, and to this day, Pullinger’s entrance into the grand narrative of China was one that brought overwhelming joy, healing, and restoration. She made an entrance that contributed to the story that God was writing in China. And because of that, her legacy as a prominent actor in this particular story, it’s characters were forever changed.

_____

[1] Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang. A Modern History of Hong Kong. London (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004), 11.

[2] Ibid, 5.

[3] Ibid, 5.

[4] voxdotcom. “How 156 Years of British Rule Shaped Hong Kong.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 July 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=StW7oGSR_Mg.

[5] Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang. A Modern History of Hong Kong. London (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004), 21.

[6] Ibid, 25.

[7] voxdotcom. “How 156 Years of British Rule Shaped Hong Kong.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 July 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=StW7oGSR_Mg.

[8] Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang. A Modern History of Hong Kong. London (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2004), 125.

[9] Pullinger, Jackie, and Andrew Quicke. Chasing the Dragon. (Ventura, Calif.: Gospel Light, 2004), 24.

[10] Ibid, 43.

About the Author

mm

Karen Rouggly

Karen Rouggly is the Director for Mobilization in the Center for Student Action at Azusa Pacific University. She develops transformational experiences for students serving locally, nationally, and internationally. She completed an MA in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about community development, transformational service and helping students understand vocation and service. Karen is also an active member at the Vineyard Church Glendora where she is a small group leader and serves on the teaching team. She is also a mom to two sweet boys, wife to an amazing guy, and loves being a friend to many.

9 responses to “The Power of an Entrance”

  1. mm Jenn Burnett says:

    I love your approach to this text! I like the comparison of entrances and your identification that this is critical to the ongoing impact on the relationship. I wonder if you might suggest what a ‘good’ entrance might have looked like as Britain entered Hong Kong? Can there be a good way for one nation to step in and take control of another? Mulling this over myself as I write.

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Jenn! I suppose, when you are coming in to take over another country, maybe there is no good way. However, when you are going to a new culture or context, I always think it’s wise to come in as a learner. There is something to be said for taking a place of humility first, and I’m just not sure that Britain did that.

  2. mm Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Your post makes me think of the “grand entrances” throughout scripture, but in particular Palm Sunday. Nation States jockey for positions of power, might, and control. The Palm Sunday grand entrance of Christ demonstrates a different sort of power, one based in love and community. May all our grand entrances lift up the same.

  3. There is a power of entrance indeed. I know I’m in the minority here when I write of the positive effects of colonization. I come from one that had been colonized by Spain and the US (born and raised in the Philippines) and so I know and appreciate the challenges there.

    If we all followed God’s general call upon our lives to “go and make disciples of all nations” like what Jackie did, we’d have way less tragedies of colonization. I know, easier said than done.

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      I think you’re so right, Harry. And I’m glad to hear your voice speaking into the mix – it’s easy to forget that there are also good thing that come from colonization. It’s very clear that Hong Kong would not be the super power it is today if it weren’t for the influences of so many incredible cultures. But I think you’re right, there is something to be said for coming in with the intention of making disciples, rather than slaves.

  4. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Karen,
    Thanks so much for your post which incorporated your unique perspective and personal experience. Also, greetings to a fellow member of the Vineyard tribe! I loved your use of story as a motif for significant entrances into the life and lives of Hong Kong. I also really enjoyed your incorporation of Jackie Pullinger’s story into the aforementioned storyline. What do you think God is up to in the very unique SAR of the PRC? Blessings, H

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      Hey fellow Vineyard friend! Thanks for your kind words. I can’t wait to see what God is up to in Hong Kong, and I’m glad we get to do it together!

  5. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Karen, I enjoyed your creative thinking about the text and the way you tied it to Pullinger. It is interesting to think how Opium made its grand entrance into the lives of people in Hong Kong through Britain, and then it was through one of Britain’s daughters that Opium would be confronted. An entrance of redemption for sure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *