Sunday, March 7, 2010

A little bit of physics

You may have learned about kinetic and potential energy in high school. Basically, potential energy is energy waiting to be released - sort of the possibility of something happening, while kinetic energy is the energy of motion. The classic example I remember is that of a book sitting on a table. While it is just sitting there, it possesses potential energy. When the book is knocked off the table, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy by its falling, as well as into other kinds of energy.

I thought about these kinds of energy this morning in meeting when someone talked about "looking for 'that of God' in others". I wonder if what people are looking for is more "kinetic that-of-God" - some sign of God's activity in a person, some spark of goodness to latch on to. I think we should worry more about the "potential that-of-God", the ability within every one of us to commune with God, to be transformed into the image of Christ, and to do what God asks of us.

Where we might unleash a book's kinetic energy by knocking it off a table, we can help to unleash a person's kinetic that-of-God by answering that of God within them, not by just looking for it. When our speech and actions are Spirit-led, when we aren't guided our ego, our fears, our desire to control things, we can reach the potential that-of-God in another person so that they might come to be guided by that same Spirit.

As I look around my living room, it is mostly still (the cats must be napping). Yet, there is potential energy everywhere. As we look at the world, and have trouble seeing the good amidst the greed, hatred, and suffering, we should remember the potential that-of-God in everyone, and that we are called to answer it.