"Do not try and bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth," the boy responded to Neo's questioning gaze at the twisting utensil.
"What truth?" asks Neo.
"There is no spoon," replies the boy.
"There is no spoon?" Neo repeats in question form, even more mystified than before.
"Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself," the boy concludes.
- from the movie, "The Matrix"
There is no spoon? I am well aware this memorable quote has been used to insist that nothing can be known for certain, and that truth itself is nothing more than perception. Ironically, the very scene from which this excerpt has been lifted paints a very different concept as the only reality brought into question was the falsely projected Matrix that enslaved a former prisoner's former world. It was a world that had to be re-computed every step of the way in accordance to Neo's (the new man) newfound freedom. For the world he once imagined was that which no longer is.
[For the record, beyond this point I don't attribute anything I've written to the writers' intentions or real meaning of the movie, okay?]
For all of you who were baptized (immersed) into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:27-28
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
The world as imagined by its former prisoners is that which no longer is, and that rigid utensil we once held in order to slurp the sustenance of this world has bent and twisted inexplicably before us. And why does it confuse us? Because we too often perceive the world's spoon as truly having substance. But the truth remains that there is no spoon. For the only true sustenance for this world is the one who himself is real food and drink, and we have been joined together in him to God, from whom all things come.
Unfortunately, we continue to recognize the distinctions of this world, distinctions that tap into the former identities established by this world. As nothing really changes in the world the same distinctions mentioned by Paul in Galatians still affect us even now, though we often think of our society as having evolved beyond such primitive conflicts, and I'd like to comment on one of them.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
This distinction touches the officiality of one's right to God, for the good news preached to both Jew and Greek (one who is NOT a Jew) revolved around the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the only true God. In truth, the gospel broke down the barrier. For not only had God's own people, according to the flesh, rejected Him, but those unconnected with Israel never sought Him either. Instead, God brought a whole new reality into being: the new creation, made up of both Jew and Greek but defined by neither because the identity of all is found only in Christ!
The same thing we bogusly hold to today is the distinction between insider and outsider. No doubt we still see it as part of the contention between the religion of the Jews and the rest of the world, but we also see it in the many groups that claim to have the only real connection to God. And if this was not enough we have been inundated with the mindset from the moment we entered this world through every imaginable possible version of the haves vs. the have-nots. Whether at school, church, work, sporting events, at home or even hanging out with a group of friends or enemies, you'll see it panning out in a multitude of ways.
Now, it would be a mistake to attribute a group's distinctions only to those obviously designated as insiders, for the ones who keep themselves on the fringes also help to define or redefine the group by being outside it. I've even witnessed the establishment of groups based heavily on the jockeying for the best place outside the crowd. After all, haven't you ever found yourself in the center of a group because the group had shifted itself around you? One moment you're the non-conformist, the next, you're part of the establishment!
But in Christ there is neither insider nor outsider, there is neither center nor fringe, there is neither status-quo nor non-conformist! There is only the new creation. Any division forced into this reality - whether from one seeking to position himself as either insider, outsider, or even a delicate balance between the two - is that which no longer is.