Even those who have never watched the stand-off between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson played out in A Few Good Men are, by now, well familiar with the mantra. The film came out in 1992, just before I headed off to University to learn very little about law and a lot about life. Our UCCF workers (who supported the work of the Christian Union) kept telling me that I was part of Generation X – an era in history filled with adolescents who were unsure of where they had come from, who they were or where they were going. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy – by the time they told me all this I was truly and hopelessly confused!

For the last 20 years however the popular perception has been that there are no absolute truths anymore (it’s almost wearisome trying to point out how absolute some people can be with this). Yet just as the ideal of capitalism has given birth to the sort of consumerism that threatens to destroy its mother, the rampant individualism emerging out of a world of relativism is (thankfully) making a mockery of that world and its ludicrous claims.

We all want to be right at the same time, yet how can the atheist and the Christian both believe in what they believe in and both be equally valid and true ways of looking at the world? How can the satanist and the Jew be told that they are each following the supreme divine being in the universe? More often than not this sort of nonsense comes from educated people who really should know better. My 6 year old gets taught to stop, look and listen because whether she wants to believe it or not she stands on a real roadside with the real prospect of real cars that can cause real harm. Truth, there it is… for all to see.

The theme for New Horizon in 2011 is Unleashing The Truth. Truth that stands over and against all pretenders to the heavenly throne. Truth that forms the standard against which all other claims must be weighed and measured. Truth that, let’s be honest, most of those who will gather in Coleraine will be all too ready to agree with.

So, what is it that will prevent us from engaging in a festival of self-affirmation about stuff we already believe in, even if we have varying degrees of understanding? What is there to stop us from gathering to confirm to one another that we are right and the world, which coincidentally will probably not notice our get-together, has really got things rather wrong? The answer, as any 8 year old Sunday School child will declare, is Jesus. Jesus who came to His own but they did not receive Him. Jesus who, lest we forget in this year of the bible, warned against the idolisation of the scriptures when real life is found in the supreme Word of God who fulfils and defines the word of God. Do we understand Jesus and the life He calls us to follow in His terms or have things got lost in translation?

If we want to unleash the truth we must unleash Jesus. This year, we are going gospel for truth that is radical, discomforting, inspiring, sacrificial, penetrating, forgiving, commanding. Can you handle the truth? Come and find out…

Barry Forde

Programme Planning