Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Teeter Totters and You

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 8, 2011

Like many kids, I enjoyed a good teeter totter every now and then, but the trick to a good teeter totter depended upon the mass of my partner.  If I tried to teeter totter with my dad, there would be a lot of teeter but not much totter.

The goal in teeter totters comes in balancing the load so that little effort needs to be exerted. If I weighed more than my partner, I’d have to push hard and be ready to land hard. If I weighed less, then I’d just go along for the ride and could avoid ever touching the ground.

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

Earth - Moon Orbit

Newton showed us that a teeter totter effect happens in the universe between objects through gravity.

Take the moon and earth for example.  The moon, which orbits the earth due to the gravitational pull between each object, processes a relationship with the earth where a center of mass between them actually exists.  That center of mass lies a little over 1000 miles under the earth’s surface because the earth is so much larger.  As a result, the moon actually make the earth wobble as it travels around it because of the gravitational force it exhibits.

The moon is not much bigger than Texas, and exists about 240,000 miles from the earth, but it influences the oceans of the earth causing tides and actually makes the earth wobble in space while its orbits around the sun.

Relationships and Gravitational Mass

All relationships in the universe, even the relationships between people,  follow this basic rule.

Each person in the relationship affects the other.  Children impact parents and parents their children though in different ways. Friends affect the lives of friends on a different level than the parent / child relationship and even bosses and employees relationships impact one another.

The person in the relationship that takes on the larger part of responsibility and authority tends to carry more of the center of balance in the relationship.  For example, the parent, if they are functioning as a parent should, controls the relationship with the child because the balance of power is closer to the center of the parent’s mass than the child.

When a parent delegates the “authority” role to the children where the children “rule the roost”, then the balance moves away from the parent toward the child and the right balance is no longer maintained.  Instead of the child slightly moving the parent while the child “orbits” the parent, the child actually begins to take on more control in the relationship.  When this happens, the parent wobbles more in their orbit and the house falls into disrepair.

The larger the orbiting object, the more wobble it creates on the larger planet. The more influence a child has, the more out of balance the parent.

Our Relation to God

In a similar way, the relationship between God and us is the same.  The center of balance in our relationship must be as close to the center of Christ as possible. The only way to do this is to humble ourselves before God.

However, the more we take on in our lives apart from God, the further from the center of Christ the balance moves.  At some point, the relationship no longer functions as it should and everything is wobbling, out of balance and in chaos.

The solution: Allow God to be BIGGER!

Once God takes the role of… well, “God” in your life, the more you find that your orbit is smoother and the wobbling ceases. The smaller you become, the more God can control the relationship.

When God is in control, your universe just seems to work better.


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