Paul’s Picks! Huia Come Home : Jay Ruka


“What’s different about “Huia Come Home” is that Jay is writing from a point of view that very much includes his Maori heritage and culture while at the same time being quite at home in Pakeha culture.”

I was delighted to find this recent book by Jay Ruka. For me it follows on very well from the accurate and compelling research and writing on Keith Newman in his fair summary of Maori Pakeha relations from the beginning of the 19th century, and specifically the story of Christianity in New Zealand – “Bible and Treaty” and “Beyond Betrayal”.

What’s different about “Huia Come Home” is that Jay is writing from a point of view that very much includes his Maori heritage and culture while at the same time being quite at home in Pakeha culture. It is written with gentleness, but also with sorrow, as he tries to explain the depth of pain that Maori carry regarding the loss of their land and their sense of betrayal and hopelessness in struggling against the dominant culture.

He briefly highlights some of the most wonderful events in the spread of the gospel and until about 1850 when more than half of Maori professed Christ. he defends the intentions of Henry Williams in his translation of the Treaty, but also traces the rapid deterioration of trust from Maori as their country was colonised and the land taken unjustly, with all the suffering that led to.

Throughout the book he uses a vivid dream which his wife had of an enormous chicken about the size of a large pohutukawa (representing a dominant, increasingly global and bloated pragmatic culture) and the extinct and very beautiful huia as representing our call as Christian New Zealanders to look back to our beginnings and recreate our New Zealand Christian faith in a form which at last might truly result in a church which has its signature in the history and thought patterns of New Zealand.

For this to happen, I think that Pakeha Christians need to find out about our own NZ history and our Christian history and to repent.


Pick up your copy here

Salvation Belongs to Our God – Book Review!

Chris Wright’s book “Salvation belongs to our God” is written as part of an imprint produced by Langham Literature titled the Langham Global Library.  From Langham’s website, this imprint is designed to provide “intercultural exposition and application of the Christian faith, within the framework of the Cape Town Commitment, by authors from the international evangelical community”.

We are often encouraged to “begin with the end in mind”.  This can apply to our business planning, our to do lists, or even our lives.  Chris Wright takes the text of Revelation 7:9-10 from the end of the Bible, and uses this as a lens to help us understand the biblical story of salvation from cover to cover.

As Wright says from his introduction, “the Bible’s description of God acting in salvation includes the whole of human life in every dimension and is not merely an insurance policy for our souls after death. We need, in other words, to have a holistic understanding of salvation. And that too will be a concern of this book all the way through”.

The book is easy to read and the Revelation text gives a great framework for exploring what the Bible teaches us about salvation, and God’s saving work throughout the narrative of scripture.

Two ideas I found especially challenging as Wright unpacks them were:

  1. The different ways in which the Bible talks about salvation (victory in OT battles, deliverance from slavery, the disciples in the midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee are just some examples); and
  2. That salvation is a possession of God – it really does belong to God.

For pastors or Bible teachers, reading this book could provide you with a great framework for a teaching series.  It’s an approachable book, written for a lay audience in mind, so I encourage you to get a copy – it’s available from Church Stores now for $25



Paul’s Pick!

Timothy Keller doesn’t disappoint. His own wrestling between scepticism, conservative Christianity and liberal Christian thinking is the background to this excellent book of Christian apology. He has a big talent for clear and pleasing explanation without loss of essential thinking. He covers topics such as suffering, exclusive Christian claims, injustice, other religions and the function of the bible. If you are struggling with honest questions about faith, or know someone who is, I would recommend Keller. He is a prolific writer and a very good one.

Paul’s Weekly Pick!

I thought the lady had chosen a good name for her book. Holly Ordway is an academic with a doctorate in English Literature. As you might expect, she writes very well. She was an athiest, but intellectually honest. The book is about her journey to accept Christ, mainly through her fencing coach, who was able to satisfy her intellectual questions ablut Christianity but always left her elbow room to arrive at a decision on her own terms. For any very logical person questing for meaning this could be an important book.

Paul’s Weekly Pick!

Eugene Peterson is a good writer. He uses words economically and accurately, but more importantly, he writes about important stuff. This book is a biography of the prophet Jeremiah. It has the effect of making me want to read the book very carefully and of making me realise just what a man Jeremiah was. He must be almost unparalled in spending most of his youth and adult life leaning against what the priests and the nation were saying. He was despised and rejected to an astonishing extent, but did not waver in his stance, or give way to self pity. Read this book, then reread Jeremiah.
Available at Church Stores