Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oxford Day 8: Adaptive and Technical, Standing in Two Hemispheres

Today we did a little London sightseeing after a week of seminars and learning. Although even a sightseeing day turns into learning when you are with Dr. Stookey. First we stopped off at the Wesley memorial at Aldersgate in London. That was the place that he had, at age 35, his spiritual awakening. In study of 2 Peter 1:3-4 he realized he needed to help revitalize the faith in the 18th century. 

In honor of England, here it is in the King James..."According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises."

Funny thing, when Welsey was having this epiphany at Aldersgate he was but about 100 yards from some of the original wall of the city of London. Wall that dates back to the 1st Century AD, ie. the time of Jesus. London is an OLD city.

From there we walked down to St. Paul's Cathedral (this is a pic taken a bit later from the millennium bridge but gives you a sense of the place).

It is a magnificent example of Christopher Wrens architectural genius coming in the wake of the devastating London fire of 1666. Rather than post a lot of pictures of it, I will just direct you to their website.  However, I will post a picture I took from the top of the cathedral. After climbing 560+ steps, you get to the top and can look through a porthole down to the Eucharistic Altar below. They were preparing the altar for the ordination of deacons this afternoon so it was fun to see all the chancel prancers getting things ready.
 The picture I wanted to show you was from the top of the Cathedral. Looking East you see the expanse of London, including the new developments of East London and Canary Wharf. Many Londoners don't like these new high rises as they aren't "historic". But the reality is, when Wren's building was constructed, it was new also. If this city didn't have that new development, it would be a place about history, not the future. Like the church, we give thanks for the beauty and tradition of the past, but we cannot stay there.
 Leaving St. Paul's, we crossed the Millennium Bridge (see above). For you Potter Fans, that is the bridge destroyed at the beginning of Half Blood Prince. I looked for any Death Eaters before I crossed. Thankfully, it was too beautiful a day for such darkness.
 The Thames River is a tidal river. And the tide was out. So I climbed down into the river bed. This is your rock from London Ms. Diana. Just so you know where it came from.
 We hopped on a commuter ferry (fast ferry) and headed down the Thames to the east towards Greenwich. Great views of the city including the Tower Bridge (which is NOT London bridge). The reason to go to Greenwich was two-fold. The first reason was to see the Cutty Sark and the second, the Prime Meridian.
 This is the Cutty Sark. A technological improvement that revolutionized 19th century shipping. It cut the travel time from Melbourne to London to just 75 days! Amazing. I think it takes about 15 hours by air now. Technological solutions to problems, they are great and a needed advancement. At the Royal Observatory we saw another technological solution. The institution of measures, prime meridian and the Longitudinal clock.
 Above is the official Greenwich clock. As well as the official measures of the foot, yard, inch and a couple other British measures. For commerce to work, they had to have official measurements and some place that makes them official. For honest commerce, official measures must be agreed upon. The other technological innovation was the Longitudinal clock that John Harrison developed in the 19th century. The nation had a shipping problem, no way to determine longitude while at sea. They needed techonology. So they used an adaptive solution. They offered 20,000 pounds to whomever could come up with the solution for a clock that could help navigators pinpoint where they were north to south. It took almost forty years, but John Harrison came up with the solution. The leaders needed a technical solution to the problem, and used an adaptive means to motivate those with the skills to achieve it. Great leadership. (for more on adaptive and technical solutions, see this link from Dr. Ron Heifetz of Harvard).
Fun last day in London. For fun the group of my cohort who was up in Greenwich took a picture of us. There we are, just a bunch of guys, with one foot in one hemisphere and the other in the other hemisphere. Adaptive, right there!

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