DMINLGP

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

What is the Rest of the Story?

Written by: on September 13, 2018

 

I was visiting with my mother on the phone the other day and trying to describe the LGP track of our DMin program. Typically, most people are interested and amazed at our international advance locations. When I told my mother that Gloria (my wife) and I would be leaving for Hong Kong on September 23rd, she became very excited. She said, “Harry, could you ever imagine coming from where you grew up and ever visiting Hong Kong?” Her statement made me reflect briefly on my journey that took me from a small rural town (my high school graduating class numbered 36), which also typically included limited exposure to a much larger world and church, to where I find myself today. This DMin program represents a dream I have had in some shape or form for some forty plus years (probably ever since I felt called to the ministry at age 19 or 20.) While I have been to London and I have friends from Cape Town, Hong Kong would have been thought of an exotic East Asian location for someone who has never traveled further east than Europe (and only because I visit my German family). I am a bit embarrassed to admit that for many years all I knew about Hong Kong was the martial arts films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. But here I am among a cohort of amazing individuals with diverse backgrounds learning about Hong Kong in preparation for an immersive two-week learning experience. I am so pleased that our course material prepares us for our Hong Kong advance from two very different sources, Jackie Pullinger’s Chasing the Dragon and Steve Tsang’s A Modern History of Hong Kong. While Chasing the Dragon stretched my sense of my faithful obedience, Tsang challenges my ability to synthesize a detailed historical scope of almost two centuries.

I have learned in my various Fuller seminary history classes, to first question who is writing the history and whose voices are not being heard. As often has been said, the victor writes the history through lenses that are often unspoken by the writer and perhaps not recognized by the reader. My connection with this macro view of questioning the history I am reading comes from my family’s connection with the rise of the Third Reich and WWII’s effect on Germany from the German perspective. Briefly, my father was twelve when WWII started, and his father (my Opa) was conscripted to fight on the eastern front. My Opa was reported MIA and subsequently determined to have died in a Russian POW camp. The retribution towards Germany in general and my father’s family in particular during Allied occupation, has never made its way into any American history books I have ever read. But the effects scarred my father as a vulnerable young adult from twelve to some twenty-one years of age, and those scars made their way into my father’s marriage and family and my life to this day. I recently completed a study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer because I was as interested in what was going on in Germany and the German church as I was in Bonhoeffer’s theology and writings.

So who is writing the history of Hong Kong? Pullinger recounts her experiences in faithfully obeying God, overcoming wearying and frustrating challenges, and eventually be led to a Holy Spirit empowered model to free young men from opium and heroin addiction. Her history is limited to her experiences with our “wild and adventurous” God in Hong Kong and especially in the adjacent Walled City area. Tsang is a native son who lived as much outside of Hong Kong as inside of it. He is a respected Oxford scholar who is trained in British imperial history and has been researching, writing, and speaking about China’s politics and history for some three decades.[1] Tsang has elected to explain as objectively as possible the forces which formed Hong Kong’s unique British pedigree into PRC’s first SAR on June 30, 1997. Tsang concludes his book by stating, “In the context of modern Chinese History, this marked the completion of a full circle, from Hong Kong being ceded by the declining Chinese Empire in 1842 to its peaceful and successful retrocession to resurgent and powerful China 155 years later.” [2]

While Tsang’s perspective is faithful to his introductory objective, it is not faith based. That is, what of the church and what of the people beyond economic and political parameters? What was God doing in his church during these 155 years? What is the rest of the story about the unique city and locale of Hong Kong? This perceived gap for me has ramped up my interest to open my eyes, heart, and mind to what God wants to teach me about Hong Kong in a couple of weeks. Along with the other coursework we will be wading through, I am already wondering how to incorporate elements of this into my doctoral research and perhaps more importantly, into my local and trans-local influence. I am excited to learn and experience more of God’s story in Hong Kong with my cohort family.

[1] Tsang, Steve, A Modern History of Hong Kong, rev. ed. (London, UK: I.B. Tauris), 2004, X.

[2] Tsang, A Modern History, 268

About the Author

mm

Harry Fritzenschaft

Harry is the Coordinator of Coaching for Multiply Vineyard (the church planting resource arm for Vineyard USA) and part-time pastor of business administration for the Vineyard Church of Houston. He is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and is pursuing a DMin in Leadership and Global Perspective with a focus on internal coaching networks. Harry has been married to Gloria for almost forty-two years and has two grown children; Michelle, who is married to Brandon and has two sons (Caleb and Judah), and Mark, who is engaged to Cannus. He loves making new friends (living and dead) from different perspectives, watching college football with Mark, and helping global ministry leaders (especially church planters and pastors) accomplish their goals in fulfilling their call. He especially loves learning about and nurturing internal coaching networks.

12 responses to “What is the Rest of the Story?”

  1. Mario Hood says:

    Harry what an incredible journey you and we are all on. I found myself saying the same things as I prepare to go to Hong Kong. It will be my first trip off of America’s continent. Like you I grew up in a rural area and in poverty but there was as a dream inside of me to travel the world, and God is bringing that to pass.

    I’m also looking forward to getting a broader perspective of the Church in Hong Kong. I loved Pullinger’s book and learning about the history but as we know God is always doing more than what we can capture and it usually takes having an experience to get a better understanding.

    I’ve always had an interest in business, I was a business major before I felt a call to full-time ministry and switched to Bible, so I’m looking forward to seeing how God has moved in that sector. Is there any particular sector you are interested in outside the Church to find out more about?

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Mario,
      Thanks for your kind words and I look forward to hearing more of your story. I also have a background in business and have discovered the role of defacto executive pastor to incorporate all aspects of my background. At this point in my life and ministry, I am most interested in raising up, training, and nurturing church planters and pastors especially within multiethnic settings. I look forward to meeting you in Hong Kong! Blessings, H

  2. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Thank you, Harry, for sharing your family’s journey. As I posted about identity emergence I hear a similar thread in your description.

    I also appreciate your insight on authors of history and how their own perspective shapes the narrative. Tying Pullinger and Tsang together as perspectives of history caused me to consider this more and I too will enter Hong Kong with different eyes.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Tammy,
      Thanks for your words of encouragement! I pray blessings on your ministry to your Foursquare churches in Hong Kong. Yes, I want to heed Dr. Clark’s admonition to think and write differently by “connecting” various voices and views. Blessings and see you in Hong Kong! H

  3. mm Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    I hadn’t thought to compare the two authors of the texts we have been assigned and I am glad you did. The Hong Kong’s they write about are both the same . . . and incredibly different. This is due both to Tsang and Pullinger’s unique experiences, but also likely to their intended audiences. Luckily, we got to read both!

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Jacob,
      Thanks for your thoughtful perspectives. Yes, the lenses of the authors and their intended audiences totally forms the content and format of their presentations. Nothing is two-dimensional or as self-contained within a given singular source. May we learn together to broaden our appreciation for the multiplicity of sources and contributing factors to understand where people are coming from. See you in Hong Kong! H

  4. mm Mary Mims says:

    Harry, thank you for the comparison between the Spiritual and the secular world of Hong Kong. As you mention, there is the rest of the story. Tsang seems to have benefited greatly from the British system of learning, but what about those who did not? Many of the poor or oppressed may have a different view. It is important to look at who is talking as you said, and also whose voice is not heard.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Mary,
      Thank you so much for your kind wisdom. There does seem to be a consistent link between economic advantage and educational access. What about the voices and views of those who do not have this? I am ever trying to learn to be sensitive and compassionate to those who have not been given what I have been given. Blessings on you and I look forward to learning from you in Hong Kong, H

  5. Andrea Lathrop says:

    Harry, thank you for sharing a bit of your family’s story. To borrow from my post’s theme, I want to say ‘that is valid’. And I appreciate your encourage to consider whose voice is not being heard when we are reading history.
    By the way, I grew up with Paul Harvey. My dad would quiet us whenever his show would come on the radio. I assume this is where you pulled your title from.

    • mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

      Andrea,
      Thanks for your thoughtful reflections. I bless and encourage your journey to really listen to the other and accept the legitimacy of their experience. I have always found when I do, the Holy Spirit always teaches me something from their perspective. Yes, I think I was thinking of Paul Harvey (but did not realize this until you pointed it out) when I asked the question, “What is the rest of the story?”

      Blessings on you and see you in Hong Kong, H

  6. mm Karen Rouggly says:

    Great post, Harry. I appreciate your openness in sharing your family’s history!

    I, too, find it incredibly insightful to consider my author and their perspective when reading. I didn’t think to consider Tsang’s spiritual background, however. Thanks for that insight. I also appreciated comparing and contrasting the authors – I am glad we were on the same page.

  7. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Karen,
    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! I loved your use of “entrance” in constructing your historical timeline of Hong Kong’s story. Yes, I am trying to apply the “higher order” critical thinking skill of connecting alternative sources relative to common ground. Pullinger and Tsang provide unique complimentary views of “the rest of the story” in Hong Kong.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and see you in Hong Kong, H

Leave a Reply

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