Monday, 28 September 2015

You Are Loved

Do you know how much you are loved?

Love has been breaking out from eternity to eternity upon our wounded selves, upon a fractured and groaning cosmos, breathing hope into the despair.

Love is lavished upon the world, surrounding all that is in the wonder of Relationship, drawing us into something more than ourselves, drawing us into Someone who sings over us and dances with us.

New wine poured out, a feast, a party, laughter; love has prepared a banquet and we are invited!



Wednesday, 23 September 2015

There Will (Not) Be Blood

'However problematic an ideology may be, it can maintain popular support so long as its logic is kept at a distance rather than chased to its conclusion.  We see this problem all the time in our politics and our religious communities when large sections of a population maintains basically the same political ideology or theology that some derided extremist group maintains, the only difference being the latter is foolish enough  (or perhaps extremists simply have more integrity) to actually say what they believe...hypocrisy is left veiled...

'...you find us repulsive, because we believe your beliefs better than you.' Tad Delay, God Is Unconscious p. 74

Tad Delay is on to something immensely important here.

Martin Luther King Jr puts it like this,

'There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solution. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.' Strength to Love p. 10



Wednesday, 9 September 2015

(Too) Long To Reign Over Us

I think I like the Queen. Although I have no idea what she is really like as a person, it seems, at least from what I have heard and seen of her, she seems ok.

However I do not believe we should have a British Monarchy.

I am all for the disbandment of the monarchy and an end to royalty here in the UK.


The British Monarchy is a symbol of the inequality prevalent here in the West, a sign of the continued growth of the gap between rich and poor. It is ludicrous that an entire family are able to live in such extreme wealth and luxury at the expense of the British population.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Why I Didn't Vote But Support Jeremy Corbyn

I did not vote in this years General Election.

Democracy has long since departed Britain and I refused to be part of a token system that does not represent true democracy. We now live in a plutocracy - a ruling class of wealthy people.

This is why I support Jeremy Corbyn.



Our political landscape currently is dominated by neoliberal politics. What this means is that the Market Rules, so 'free trade' is encouraged without restraint by government. Corporations can basically do what they like for 'growth' and profit.  It also means mass privatisation on all things, concentrating the wealth to the elite and already super-rich.  Added to this is the move away from community to individual responsibility that in turn brands people 'lazy' or 'scroungers'.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Sermon at the Wedding of Jonny and Sarah Steele


‘Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.’ I John 4

When looking around at the world we can all too easily have a sense of fear and dread. Wars and rumours of wars, violence and betrayal leaving us cold, in an emotional and spiritual winter with hope often buried deep in the frozen ground of fear.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Without Why

One of the (many) problems facing evangelical Christianity today is that it has reduced itself to a sales pitch.

'The ontological fallacy of expecting a light at the end of the tunnel, well, that's what the preacher sells, same as a shrink. See, the preacher, he encourages your capacity for illusion. Then he tells you it's a...virtue. Always a buck to be had doing that, and it's such a desperate sense of entitlement, isn't it?'  Rust Cohle, True Detective


The preacher is there to sell you an illusion, a sense that you are the centre of the universe, that you are the reason for it all and that 'this' message, 'this' moment, 'this' Jesus will enable you to step into your god-given destiny to be a world changer.

Monday, 10 August 2015

The NHS Crisis Team Saved My Life

My identical twin brother writes regularly about his depression. He has a new article over on Huffington Post about something that happened to him recently,
'I received a phone call from Colchester's Crisis Team and another lovely lady helped me as I grappled with dark thoughts. When our call finished I managed to sleep with an awareness that I could face another day. I wasn't suddenly 'better' but I was able to cope. I do not believe it sensationalist to write the NHS saved my life that night. They were willing to talk and listen to a sobbing mess, late at night, with only care and compassion.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Nonviolent God

I believe God is non-violent.

What I mean by this is that God is the endless source of forgiveness, effervescent love and relentless mercy. God is not the scales of justice, karma or vengeance, rather God is total unconditionality.

No strings attached.

No hidden exchange clause.

God is the source of all non-violent, non-coercive, non-manipulative Relationship.



I believe Jesus is God and so through the lens of Jesus I seek to see everything else and how we might know who God is.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

God, Creation and Evil

'It makes no more sense to say that God allows creatures to damn themselves out of his love for them for his respect for their freedom than to say that a father might reasonably allow his deranged child to thrust her face in a fire out of a tender regard for her moral autonomy.'

'The god of retribution that has been proclaimed by so much of Christian knowledge really is not and cannot possibly be the God of Self-outpouring love revealed in Christ.





Friday, 10 July 2015

Self-Harm and Depression

'It is terrifying how common it can be to feel utterly numb to everything around me. It's like living inside the world with headphones and sunglasses on; everything is duller in colour and in sound. Reality has become something Other and I feel disconnected. I have sat at home and wondered if I will feel anything significant again; I have been scared that numbness will be normal. Self harm enters the arena as a means to feel something significant, even if that is pain. It feels shameful and stupid but for a fleeting moment it feels of something.'



Tuesday, 7 July 2015

He's Been Thinking About You...Honestly...

He's been thinking about you...




The closure of the Independent Living Fund that was set up to specifically help many within the disabled community live as independently as possible has been closed meaning the very real possibility that this money will no longer be ring-fenced for some of the most vulnerable within our communities. The consequences could be/will be horrific.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Do Not Be Afraid

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear...' 1 John 4:18a

People are steadily becoming more afraid. Recent worldwide events have increased fear levels among many of us, causing us to question and doubt our own safety. More than this it has created ever greater fear of 'the other' or 'neighbour', generating within us a suspicious gaze at those who we perceive to be not like us. As I have said before, the 'neighbour' is those we are least like, prejudiced towards and afraid if.

The onslaught in our media and the rhetoric from our government would keep us bound and gagged in fear. There is no greater way to control people than to keep them afraid, uninformed and ignorant of the truth.



Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Baptist Assembly 2015

In May I spoke at the Baptist Assembly. I was asked to address those who were being commissioned for ministry, to share with them something of what I've learned during my time in ministry.

Because I don't use notes I can't give you the word for word transcript, but below should be something along the lines of what I preached.



'This day you are being commissioned and validated in the ministry that God has called you to, prayed for and sent out as ambassadors of the Gospel, this Gospel that has been testified to through history.

And the one thing I know a little more now that I wish I knew when I started in ministry that I want to pass on to you this evening is this…

Monday, 8 June 2015

Tony Campolo and Same-Sex Marriage

Tony Campolo has released a statement regarding same-sex marriage.


In it he says, '...I have done my best to preach the Gospel, care for the poor and oppressed, and earnestly motivate others to do the same. Because of my open concern for social justice, in recent years I have been asked the same question over and over again: Are you ready to fully accept into the Church those gay Christian couples who have made a lifetime commitment to one another?'

He then goes on to say,

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Why Does Jesus Matter? Part Two

The Gospels describe Mary Magdalane (one of Jesus followers) going to the tomb in order to anoint his body with oils as was customary for Jewish burials.  However, when she gets there the large stone covering the entrance has been rolled away and the tomb is empty. After making this discovery she goes to tell the men what she has seen and they in turn go and look for themselves.

Now an empty tomb is not enough to suddenly make these scared and confused disciples who had locked themselves away behind closed doors into a bold and fearless movement declaring that Jesus is Lord.



But what did it mean to call Jesus Lord?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Why Does Jesus Matter? Part One

I have become ever more aware recently that whilst I might talk about the Christian faith and its significance, there are probably many people who I know who are actually not sure why Christians believe Jesus to be so important not only personally but also historically.

So the next couple of posts will simply explain why Jesus matters. It will not say everything that could be said about Jesus or the Christian faith in any way, shape or form, but hopefully it will give you some kind of insight into who Jesus is and why Easter is so important. It might be that after you read these posts you then want to dig further for yourself and find out more, but for now I hope these couple of posts will, at the very least, give you something to think through.



In the Bible there are four Gospels written that narrate to us the life of Jesus. They describe the life of Jesus, from his birth in a cattle shed through to his resurrection from the dead. Each one tells us the life of Jesus from a different perspective, some borrowing from the other, some unique in their telling.  What is clear from each is that in Jesus a unique event has occurred whereby God has come to dwell among human beings as a living person.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Intolerant Intolerance

David Cameron and the Conservative government are seeking to fast track a new bill that gives them greater power to 'deal with extremism' so that the 'greatness of our nation' is preserved, that we may truly be 'one nation'.

The chilling words of Cameron echoed out last week,

'For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

“Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

“We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.'


'British values' is a slippery phrase, ambiguous enough to mean whatever the government wants it to mean at any given time. The result, contrary to what is said above, is the continued assault on freedom of speech, attack upon dissenting acts and speech and the strangulation of democracy.

Listen to Hitler in 1933,

Monday, 18 May 2015

Yes, It Is Islamic Extremism - But Why?

'Nobody denies that a security issue exists for the West—the reality of deadly violence in western cities by a small handful of extremists, often psychotic and with criminal records, who are killing civilians in the name of some Islamic justification. Just a handful has sufficed to create a furor in the western media and psyche, non-stop. But security issues also exist for Middle Easterners—for Muslims—themselves. Let’s not forget one Arab leader’s comment to an American: “Your 9/11 is our 24/7.” In other words, the one-time horror of 9/11, and of a few subsequent lesser scale terrorist attacks in the West, mercifully do not constitute part of daily life in the West. But such lethal violence is indeed a part of the daily life across so much of the Middle East today, where death from the skies—a form of terror—from American warplanes or drones is commonplace. Or it is unleashed via the chaos of new civil wars in countries whose regimes the US overthrew.'


Apocalypse Now

Steadily withdraw funds from the public sector thus creating a strain on services and increasing public anxiety and anger over those services. Privatisation is then seen to be the only option thus opening the door for corporations to control the entire system.

Change trading laws both nationally and internationally so that said corporations can remove human rights and state law in order to continually maximise profits on almost anything - water, fuel, food, land, health - and increasing their power and influence.

Prop up dictatorial regimes through continued propagation of war and faulty foreign policy whilst all the time providing weapons and information that further destabilize regions and create ideology, radicalisation and hatred.

Through a perceived threat of 'terror' increase militarization, surveillance, laws, and further remove human rights under the propaganda of 'security'.

Remove education and replace it with tests so that people are encouraged not to think for themselves and question the System.

Raise fear levels through the threat of 'other'.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Talk about Democracy is a Joke



'There are huge efforts that do go into making people, to borrow Adam Smith's phrase, "as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be." A lot of the educational system is designed for that, if you think about it, it's designed for obedience and passivity. From childhood, a lot of it is designed to prevent people from being independent and creative. If you're independent-minded in school, you're probably going to get into trouble very early on. That's not the trait that's being preferred or cultivated. When people live through all this stuff, plus corporate propaganda, plus television, plus the press and the whole mass, the deluge of ideological distortion that goes on, they ask questions that from another point of view are completely reasonable....

...There were many different, conflicting strands of democratic theory, but the one I'm talking about held that democracy requires dissolution of private power. He said as long as there is private control over the economic system, talk about democracy is a joke. Repeating basically Adam Smith, Dewey said, Politics is the shadow that big business casts over society. He said attenuating the shadow doesn't do much. Reforms are still going to leave it tyrannical. Basically, a classical liberal view. His main point was that you can't even talk about democracy until you have democratic control of industry, commerce, banking, everything. That means control by the people who work in the institutions, and the communities.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Democracy, Democracy, Democracy

Athenian democracy emerged in the sixth century BC. Over the course of time a democratic system emerged that enabled adult males to have a fair amount of involvement in the running of the city and the election of their leaders. From here there developed the selection of leaders by lot so that hereditary power and status were not the defining influence in who was selected.

Undoubtedly Athenian democracy was not a perfect system - the exclusion of woman and slaves from the process a prime example - but we must be careful not to impose a modern mindset upon an ancient and developing form of governance.

Democracy then could be seen as a means through which the people have a voice, a say into the way communities and countries govern themselves and make decisions. It is a belief that the people as a whole will be able to determine what is best for communities as a whole ensuring the flourishing of neighbour and the common good.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

God Does Not Exist

'Consider, for instance, the recent and curious episode of the “God Helmet.” If you have not heard of it before, this was a device that for a time was believed to have the power to induce “religious” experiences in those who wore it, simply by stimulating the temporal lobes of the brain with weak magnetic field emissions. Its inventor was the cognitive neuroscientist Michael Persinger, who began studying religious mental states as early as the 1970s, and who eventually hit upon the theory that all such experiences have something to do with the structure of the bicameral brain. Perhaps, he speculated, a man who finds himself seized by a mystical sense of an unseen presence—God, an angel, an extraterrestrial, a ghost, a fairy, what have you—is merely experiencing a transient excitation of neurons that causes his brain’s left hemisphere to become indirectly aware of the distinct and usually tacit “alternate self” of the right hemisphere.' David Bentley Hart



The results of the 'God Helmet' were roundly dismissed, the effects shown to be products of their own imagination.

As Bentley Hart rightly points out, even if the 'God Helmet' had worked it would not have proven anything in terms of God as no-one in classical theism is denying the reality of how an encounter with God would indeed have an effect upon the physical reality of our brains. But this is not the emphasis of this blog post.

Monday, 20 April 2015

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Should we vote?



The general election is fast approaching here in the UK and I feel bombarded every day by what feels like political pouting, each party seeking to woo us with their political persuasion.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Meaningful Meaninglessness

'We have to break out. We have to accept life in its meaninglessness, its pleasures that serve nothing etc. Because the paradox is that if you take away from life those things that serve nothing what remains is that which is purely fictional, the paradox being that it actually leaves nothing. Everything collapses.' Slavoj Žižek

What Žižek is getting at here and refuting is the idea that everything we do has to serve a purpose, has to meaningful and contribute in some way to our society.

So the constant rhetoric surrounding our political system at the moment is 'those who work hard get rewarded'.  Our worth then is tied directly to how hard we work and if what we do serves a purpose to better the system and society.

Our education system is steeped in this type of thinking as primary school children are put through test after test as though their ability to answer questions on a test paper is reflective of how well educated and valuable they are.

It's all nonsense.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Colouring Beyond the Lines

God will not colour within our expected and preconceived lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Time and again God redefines our understanding and expectations of God's own Self and who we are in our own humanity.



The life and parables of Jesus consistently catch us off-guard, challenging and transforming all that we think we know into a shock and awe of what we don't know.; the Samaritan woman at the well, the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, the Syrophoenician woman, the prostitute who breaks a jar of perfume over Jesus' feet, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the encounter with the woman subject to bleeding - examples of how Jesus will not colour between the lines of theology, humanity and creation.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A People of Change

'We are absolutely clear; the responsibility for acts of terror rests with those who commit them. But a huge burden of responsibility also lies with those who act as apologists for them' Philip Hammond MP

Here the government propaganda machine is in full throttle removing all responsibility from their own foreign policy and a history of violence within our western political landscape that directly creates isolation, fear, hatred and extreme psychological stress that leads itself to extremist behaviour and ideology.



It is interesting how the government are seeking to silence any who would criticise its current approach to ISIS and fundamentalism by labelling them as 'apologists' for the extremists. Yet being critical of our government and the US/UK foreign policies and facing up to the reality of how these actions create a breading ground for countless 'Jihadi Johns' is NOT the same as condoning the barbaric acts and behaviour of such people.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

'The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.' Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

That old Jonathan Edwards; what a charmer!



This vision of God is one of vengeance, anger, wrath and utter contempt for humanity.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Our Weird Little World

What is the beauty of the Gospel?



The beauty of the Gospel is the beauty of relationship, a letting into our 'weird little world' Someone who really does know us, who truly understands us, who passionately believes in us, who utterly, totally and without condition loves us.

This is what God is like.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Revolution

Tick tock, tick tock.

Seconds continually scratching at the fabric of time, 'now' being unmasked as 'past', the future being drawn into the present.

Relentless and without favour or regard; tick tock, tick tock.

In ignorance and seeming inevitability we surrender to the sea of time finding ourselves carried by the tide, all around us an apparent outcome of the continuous scratching of time.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Yet in the midst of the stream of ignorance and bliss we notice some who are struggling, no longer resting in the tide of time and inevitability but seeking to find their feet, to stand and walk out of the stream. They are shaking, confused, yet determined. They believe that all does not have to be as it seems.

So they fight to find their feet, the current strong and often pulling their feet away from the ground, yet on they go, fighting, striving until they reach the bank. Pulling themselves out and sometimes dragging others with them, they stand and finally survey their surroundings.

Everything looks different.

Tick tock, tick tock no longer a soothing anaesthetic but a call to transformation, an awakening to a different reality. Revolution is in the air.



Friday, 6 February 2015

A War Prayer

Heavenly Father

Have mercy upon us.

As we look around the world we see violence and destruction, death and decay, hatred and murder.

We watch in horror as bombs shatter lives, leaving behind weeping, rubble, blood and bitterness.

We despair as hatred and apathy leave victims living in fear.

Yet like anaesthetic coursing through our veins we watch on.

We pray for the lives destroyed in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many others beyond our sight. Forgive us Lord in the West for our own greed and violence that has created further unrest and suffering for those living in these lands. Forgive us Lord for our ideological and political bullshit that furthers the injustice and oppression of people, not just in these lands but in other places across the world.

We pray Prince of Peace for an end to conflict.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Excluded Possibilities

Paul Tillich once said, 'Love conquers...the excluded possibilities.'

2000 years before him Paul said that love never fails.

And before him Jesus said 'Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.'

Humanity is connected in ways beyond our comprehension. We are a collective people where self-imposed and power-imposed and fear-imposed boundaries separate us, yet these boundaries can never extinguish the shared humanity, the collective consciousness, the inter-connectedness that is a reality of our existence.

So we need to learn ways to reconnect, to be brave and go beyond the boundaries to rediscover our common humanity, the image of God in each of us.

And yet we are a violet and rivalistic species, imitating each others desires to the point where we will scapegoat in order to calm our violence. Rene Girard's groundbreaking work on mimesis highlights our innate desire to violently desire to the point of sacrificing those whom we have scapegoated in order to restore peace, at least for a time.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Symbolic Castration, Homosexuality and Depression

Do you ever feel like you can be honestly you in any situation?

There is the perceived 'you' that is the projection of who you are from other people. In other words, there is the 'you' who people think you are as opposed to who you know you really are.

Job interviews are a good example of this. We are trying to sell ourselves and project the very best (or what we think is the very best!) of ourselves so that we might get the job we want, and there is nothing wrong with this. If we were honestly and actually our full selves in a job interview it would most likely break all kinds of social etiquette! 

But there is a point that we all need to be a bit more honest about who we are rather than trying to live up to a certain expectation that we have placed upon ourselves or that others have put upon us.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Depression as a Sign of Faith?

My twin brother is now blogging over at Huffington Post. His first article called 'Let's Talk About Depression' does exactly what it describes. In it he says,

'Before I was diagnosed I remember feeling emotionally impotent in how to cope with whatever was going on in my head. I certainly felt powerless to talk with anyone about it. Surely all I needed to do was pull myself together, slap on a smile and get on with life? That misguided mantra crumbled when, one morning, I attempted to make a cup of tea. I walked into my kitchen and was suddenly rooted to the spot. All I wanted to do was walk over to the kettle and flick a switch; it seemed impossible though. I stood there, helpless and screamed. Depression has the ability to mentally and physically cripple you and I encountered the effects rather dramatically.'



It is good to hear voices speaking up over the pain and trauma of depression proving personal insight into something than can quite literally kill people.

Monday, 19 January 2015

To Follow

As I discussed in my previous post total 'freedom' to do whatever we want regardless of the consequences or harm committed to others is a total failure in every regard to what it means to be human. The reason why we are shocked and nauseated by the stories of abuse and violence committed by extremists is because these stories militate against our sense of basic common shared lives.

Freedom then is understood through a set of parameters, bounded by 'laws' or 'the common good'. So freedom is not to do whatever I want whenever I want, rather it is a desire to mutual self-giving love.

The difficulty we face however is that the vast majority of us do not like being told what to do. We like to believe we are masters of our own destiny,

Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.



Thursday, 15 January 2015

A False Freedom?

The massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices have rightly produced outrage and condemnation across the world. Within the reflection upon this horrific act the right to freedom and freedom of speech has dominated many conversations. Added to this are discussions over the nature of Islam and how we speak and respond to the rise of radical Islam.

I think however we need to be more aware of what we mean when we talk about freedom and freedom of speech.


There is a dominant cultural narrative and ideology in the West that underpins our daily lives, one that determines what is acceptable in our speech and acts and one that is not. Whilst difficult to pinpoint it invariably reveals itself, especially at times such as this. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

Meaning

'Everything happens for a reason.'

'That's karma.'

'God has a plan.'

Throughout the West there is a desire for us to give meaning to our lives and to interpret what happens in our lives according to some higher purpose.

The fatalistic assumptions we often bring to life events gives us a sense of order and meaning in the midst of sometimes heartbreaking, chaotic and seemingly meaningless suffering.

We are dominated by a sense of 'lack' as though something is missing in our lives. This is the narrative fed to us regularly which enables a capitalist economic ideology to function properly; "you need this in order to fill that which is missing in your life."

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Say Something (I'm Giving Up On You)

Say something, I'm giving up on you

How often have you prayed and felt as though your prayers were lost in a vacuum of insignificance?

The cries in the night swallowed by the deafening silence.

The pleas to God to speak, to act, to respond and yet still you lie there in the darkness that melts into the dark night of your soul.

I'll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would've followed you

Your life was changed, all that you were transformed in the pursuit of God, His Life, His Ways. You gave your life to follow and yet now you feel abandoned, alone, empty.

Say something, I'm giving up on you

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Year Without Meaning

Former Pastor Ryan Bell spent last year on a journey towards atheism.  His blog Year Without God documents his pushing of the limits of theism and viewing the landscape of atheism to see where it might all lead. Now the year has ended he is an atheist, although he is agnostic in the sense that he cannot know with absolute certainty that there is no God.



What encourages me about Ryan's story is how it highlight's those who are willing to push and challenge their belief system in search for deconstruction and reconstruction. It is not necessarily a search for truth per se (although it can often be), but to discover 'strange new worlds'.  The push of the boundary of our belief systems, the desire to hear unfamiliar voices and the existential struggle within are all a wonderful opportunity for discovery and liberation.