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Obituary — Sir James McNeish

“Half a stranger at home” Professor Paul Morris reflects on the work of Sir James McNeish (1931–2016) As a writer and a man, Jim McNeish was drawn to human life beyond the physical and social borders of the settled middle

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Posted in Obituaries

For us there is only the trying, Paul Morris 

Tell You What: Great New Zealand Non-Fiction 2015
Jolisa Gracewood and Susanna Andrew (eds)
Auckland University Press, $30.00
ISBN 9781869408244

Greatest Hits: A Quarter Century of Journalistic Encounters and Notes from Lost Cities
David Cohen
Mākaro Press, $35.00
ISBN 9780994106544

In their introduction, editors Jolisa Gracewood and Susanna Andrew ask why “doesn’t New Zealand have its own equivalent of the Best American Essays or Best Australian Essays series?” Their selection of 29 “essays” is expressly designed to address this very real lacuna. As one who has long lamented the priority given to the New Zealand short story, the short poem, and the long novel over the essay, I had high expectations for this collection. What was it that I was anticipating? If not the wisdom of Montaigne, Hazlitt, Lamb, Orwell, James, Hunter S Thompson, Hughes, Baldwin, Epstein, Ozick, E B White or, more recently, Daum, Jamison, D’Ambrosio and Zadie Smith, then at least reflective first-person narratives about experience that deeply engage the reader, not as moral fable or advice, but as dialogue, a conversation that suggestively and subtly indicates some shared and significant experience and understanding. They should, of course, also be superbly written and entertaining.

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Posted in Essays, Media, Non-fiction and Review

The life of Brian, Paul Morris

Destiny: The Life and Times of a Self-Made Apostle  Peter Lineham Penguin Books, $38.00, ISBN 9780143568919 A Rising Tide: Evangelical Christianity in New Zealand 1930-65   Stuart Lange Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781877578557 Recently, the International Association of Religion

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Religion, Review and Sociology

Hot gospels and wowserism, Paul Morris

The Spirit of the Past: Essays on Christianity in New Zealand History  Geoffrey Troughton and Hugh Morrison (eds)  Victoria University Press, $50.00,  ISBN 9780864736543 Theology no longer forms part of a university education in the social sciences or humanities, where

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Retro righteous indignation, Paul Morris

Shaping Godzone: Public Issues and Church Voices in New Zealand 1840-2000 Laurie Guy Victoria University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9780864736413   This is a 600-page, somewhat pious, lament for the New Zealand churches. These individual and collective Christian voices once heard

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Religion and Review

Cons and rebels, Paul Morris

The Prophet and the Policeman Mark Derby Craig Potton, $39.99, ISBN 9781877517112 The English word “prophet” can mislead us, even if its Maori version emphasises the biblical legacy of seers and seekers of justice who spoke in the name of

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Posted in History, Non-fiction and Review

Pioneers of bicultural spirituality, Paul Morris

Ratana: The Prophet  Keith Newman Raupo, $40.00, ISBN 978014310972 Double Rainbow: James Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem Commune  John Newton Victoria University Press, $40.00,  ISBN 9780864736037 Pakeha and Maori find themselves in Martin Heidegger’s phrase “thrown” together in our

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Posted in Health, Maori, Non-fiction and Review

Ex cathedra, Paul Morris

A Word in Season: Reflections on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics Richard Randerson  Matai House, $19.50, ISBN 9780473136543 The Anglican Church in New Zealand, like the other major denominations, is split between its liberals and conservatives. This division is over how

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Posted in Non-fiction, Religion and Review

Handbook for the global Christian, Nicholas Birns

The Lloyd Geering Reader: Prophet of Modernity  Paul Morris and Mike Grimshaw (eds) Victoria University Press, $39.99, ISBN 9780864735478  Lloyd Geering is the most famous New Zealand Christian thinker worldwide, though Christopher Marshall is gaining ground with his recent work

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Religion and Review
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