Visual Ethnography hong kong - by mario hood

Student's Personal Interest

From the opening night, one of my interest at the Hong Kong Advance was making the connection with my LGP9 cohort. Having spent a couple of weeks chatting via online meetings. I was very eager to meet all in person and develop deeper relationships on this DMin journey.

As we begin to share stories of our journey to Hong Kong and stories from our life. Laughter and joy built connections quicker than one could imagine in such a short time.

Another interest was the food. As a full-blooded, southern born American, I can say my culinary experiences have been limited. The excitement of trying new food was at the top of the list for interest during the Hong Kong Advance.

I'm always amazed at how food brings people together. Social status, political affiliations, economic status, doesn't matter at the table. A simple meal can bring out the unique conversations and I'm grateful for the meals and conversation during the Hong Kong Advance.

New Knowledge and Synthesis

When you tell someone that you are in a doctoral program, they most often than not assume you are smart or that you are a glutton for punishment. There is probably room for both assumptions but at the foundation of either is the word work. One of the greatest lessons and new pieces of knowledge that the Hong Kong Advance has taught me was the word, process. From Rowntree's seven keys to studying(1) or talking about books, you haven't read to the overall 3-year Dmin journey. There is a process to this life and defining that process gives you the ability to not only complete the assignment but to enjoy the journey towards completion not just endure it.


Another piece of knowledge gain was the existent of the worldwide community of Seafarers. Hearing from Rev. Stephen Miller and the ministry to this community open my eyes to the vastness of the world and the mission of God. Jackie Pullinger in her book Chasing the Dragon reaches the forgotten people, and as Rev. Miller spoke, it became clear to me that in work they are doing the same. People that I never knew existed God did, and God has raised up someone to speak into their life.


Metaphorically, the people of God come in all shapes and sizes, all socioeconomic status and all cultures. Though living and working in Hong Kong, as a top lawyer for Linklaters, Hwang Hwa Sim is connected to the world at large.

His work gives him the opportunity to interact with top businesses and geographically in top buildings, yet still is passionate about bringing his faith into his workplace.

Pastor Stephen Lee of Saddleback Hong is also connected to the world via technology. Video technological advancements have made it possible for one pastor to be in multiple locations at the same time. While one can see this through the lens of, McDonaldization or Globalization[2], possibly limiting the individual expression in a different society. One can also see the benefits as Pastor Lee expressed in his own words, Pastor Warren (Saddleback, Cal) is the Sunday pastor, and I am the Monday pastor.

Pastor Stephen works with the low people, the common people, and their church is specifically trying to reach people with special needs kids. They are truly a global and local church at the same time.

In Anthony Elliott’s Contemporary Social Theory, he introduces us to Manuel Castells, A Network Society. By charting the rise of global information networks and the network economy[3], Castell declares, "advances in information technology, and especially the rise of the internet, are fundamentally transforming the core structure of networks in our time[4]. While this is evident in both Sim and Pastor Lee, my friend Andrea brings the practice that connects all of us which is to be present with people no matter how of our connectedness. The practice I'm implementing into my life is allowing the love of God to continue to connect me to others no matter the situation I found myself in.


There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. - Ephesians 4:4

In this photo, we are all holding up a C for Christian. This photo speaks so much but truly brings this scripture to life. As a global community, representing many different ethnicities and faith streams, we are all the family of God as one body in one Spirit.

As we walk through this journey of achieving a Dmin, I was reminded continuously during the Hong Kong Advance, that intelligential pursuit does not have to be void of spiritual transformation.

Sarah Pink says, “when researching everyday life as ethnographers, we do this from inside, we become immersed in its flow and, indeed, our own actions and feelings become part of the very contexts that we are researching”[5]. Research in this sense is not just something that I do and is separated from my spiritual work, but is integrated into my body as I am integrated into the body of Christ. Though I am only months into this Dmin journey, I am trying now to be a good practicing doctor and apply this principle into my everyday life.


Hong Kong - Mario Hood

Reference List

[1] Derek Rowntree, Learn How to Study: a Realistic Approach (London: Time Warner, 2002), Location 4722, Kindle Edition.

[2] George Ritz defines McDonaldization as “the process by which the principles of fast food restaurants are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society and the rest of the world”, See page 39 for more: Anthony Elliott, Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction, (Routledge: New York, NY, 2014) 39.

[3] Elliott, Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction, 309.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Sarah Pink. Doing Visual Ethnography. (London: Sage Publications. Kindle edition, 2013) 35.

Created By
Mario Hood

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