Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coefficient of Friction and Spiritual Disciplines

I was sitting at IHOP the other night, after midnight, thinking about the coefficient of friction. Why? I don't remember.

You might remember the coefficient of friction from your physics textbook. It's a physical property that describes the amount of force that must be applied to an object to get it to move across a surface. Coefficients of friction can differ significantly from surface to surface. And there are two types- coefficient of static friction (which pertains to the force required to initiate movement on an object at rest) and coefficient of kinetic friction (which pertains to keeping an object in motion once it's already overcome static friction). In most cases, the coefficient of static friction is larger than the coefficient of kinetic friction. In other words, it takes more force to get an object to initially overcome the friction and start moving than it does to keep that object moving.

Man, that describes me and spiritual disciplines. There's always friction between me and spiritual disciplines (it's called sinful nature, pride, self-sufficiency, etc), but I know that overcoming that static friction is usually more difficult than overcoming the kinetic friction.

I'm trying to get into some new prayer habits, but it's like overcoming static friction right now. Once I get moving, I know it will become easier. That is, until I am acted upon by an outside force. But we'll just concentrate on overcoming the static friction today.


At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That's so true. Its like rolling a boulder down a hill. Gravity will take care of the momentum if I can ever budge it!

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Mike Mathews said...

Sounds like good fodder for the Small Group Conference coming up. I don't have a much of a background in physics and wondered where you were going, but wow...that was good!!

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Raquel Jarabek said...

Thanks so much for the engineering tie in. It challenges my mind intellectually and spiritually.


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