There’s a creepy scene in the Matrix where a little boy is bending spoons with his mind and he explains, “it’s not the spoon that bends, it is us.” It’s somewhat amusing because that sums up the nature of human beings so well, we’re always bending spoons. We cling rather tightly to our own perceptions and declare them to be truth, reality. Than we build an entire empire upon them, one false thought upon another.
I found myself lost in the Matrix the other day speaking of immaculate conception with some Catholics who were not thrilled with my bent spoon. For those who don’t know, “immaculate conception” actually speaks of Mary’s own birth. It is a Catholic doctrine that says God protected Mary from the taint of original sin the moment she was conceived in the womb. He placed a cover on her. There is a common misconception that the term refers to the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. It does not, but if one believes immaculate conception has something to do with a child being conceived non-sexually, then it is not such a leap of logic to than conclude that “original sin,” must be a term exclusively related to sex.
So now all sex has become original sin and bad, and even in the context of marriage must be endured and suffered as an unfortunate consequence of Eve having eaten the apple. So much for the concept of sex being a lovely gift from God designed to create and build intimacy, loyalty, love, and children….
All in good humor here, but one would hope more Catholics would level up their game and become familiar with their own doctrine, so I would not find myself lost in these silly discussions, trying to gently rap them over the head with bent spoons. This is not “my doctrine,” this is the doctrine of the Catholic church. Immaculate conception relates to Mary, not to how Jesus was conceived.
These things do not really concern me, what concerns me is the way we people can take one tiny misunderstanding and proceed to build an empire of lies upon it, one false conclusion leading to the next. I am no different, much of my time and energy is spent allowing Christ to unbend my spoons, to untangle the web of falsehoods I often find myself trapped in. Metanoia, renewing your mind….bringing it back in line with the truth.
There’s a tale in the bible that drives me crazy all throughout John 7. The unbelief of Jewish leaders, the divisions among Christians. Jesus is greeted with great skepticism, accused of having a demon, thought to be deceiving people. John 7:40-44 says,
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
How can the Messiah come from Galilee? That is called a bent spoon! Jesus of Nazareth who came from Galilee cannot possibly be the Prophet because everyone who is anyone knows the Prophet will be born in Bethlehem. Besides, can any good thing come from Nazareth anyway?
So, so many bent spoons, lies built upon lies and misunderstandings, because if only those people had sat still for a moment and actually listened, they would have discovered He was actually born in Bethlehem, a lovely bit of God’s synchronicity in action.
I love the words Jesus says in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”