Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeding to Capacity

Today's reflection actually continued where discussion took us yesterday.  Imagine a teacup.  Now, in your mind's eye, you have a picture probably something like the one pictured left.  It's pretty normal sized, will hold a decent amount of tea and allows you to have a nice conversation while drinking it. 
If you look at the cup as a person's capacity however, it allows you to see when that cup has been filled to capacity and you couldn't add another drop without it spilling over into the saucer.  Of course, as with all tea sets, there isn't only one cup - one person's cup of math might be huge, but fiction, not so much; their idea of a great Darjeeling over a discussion of music might leave you cold, but start talking about movement and dance, and their Earl Grey is huge.  In this instance, of course, we're talking about a person's capacity for faith. 
  God has provided each of us with our own capacity, but He didn't say that we had to keep the cup He gave us.  We can develop our passions to such a degree that we need a bigger cup.  And like the roses in today's reflection, we can be nurtured by others, fed, loved, given gentle input that allows us to grow, and communally, allows our communities to flourish. 

We teach children according to their capacity - which generally is divided by age - but think about the story of Christ when he was 12, and already questioning the rabbis in the temple.  Of course, as the Son of God, his capacity was far more than theirs, but advance forward to when he was gathering his disciples.  Each of them had to have a capacity large enough to understand his place in the world, and that his normal occupation would be changing to help advance the community of Christians. 

Christ taught lessons in parables, and when the disciples asked him why, he replied, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."  (Matthew 13:10-13).
In this way, Isaiah 6:9-10 is fulfilled:
"‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
“Make the heart of this people dull,
And their ears heavy,
And shut their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart,
And return and be healed.”
Christ gave the disciples the keys to increasing the capacity of the believers, that they could learn to understand the mysteries behind the parables, that their capacities could grow to the extent that they would understand with their heart, and be healed. 
We all know people who don't believe, or need more evidence to believe, or have turned away from the church for some reason.  Their capacity for belief is in need of nurturing and love, examples and investment in them as people.  But to overflow their cup is only going to make their eyes glaze, and have them turn away, or, in the case of the roses who were moved abruptly, require care to ensure that they do not die.  We must be happy for the capacity they have, and give them the opportunity to trade their cup for the next size up when they're ready.  And if they're happy with their cup being just right for them, then love them as the children of God they are.


  1. Excellent article. I thank God for you because we can communicate!!!!! And I know exactly what Teacup Teaching is all about. Happy to know I'm not alone!

  2. Great Article. Yes,I know all about Teacup Teaching and grateful to learn someone else does too!Jesus was best example for knowing how and when to speak to whom!!