Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Book Review – Waves of God’s Embrace: Sacred Perspectives from the Ocean

I recently came across this book, ironically in the bibliography of a chapter I was co-authoring. How had I missed it for the past five years? I’ve been searching out Christian literature focused on the sea and missed the most obvious geographical source: Oceania. Waves of God’s Embrace is written by Winston Halapua Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia. A Tongan by birth, he has worked throughout Oceania. I love the ocean and have spent significant time trying to understand it. There is a certain undefinable feeling I have about the ocean. I wouldn’t be able to describe it, but I felt that Biship Halapua knows that feeling too. It permeates his book.

Waves of God’s embrace uses the ocean as a metaphor and teacher on subjects as diverse as generosity, imagination, diversity, justice, peace, and unity. He also weaves Oceanic culture throughout, showing how particular concepts and customs relate both to the ocean and to our Christian faith. If you are new to the Christian environmental movement or haven’t lived in another culture, it is probably not the book to start with as there is significant contextualization in his writing that needs interpretation and application for those more used to monocultural thinking. For me, though, it hit the spot. I hope one day to meet Bishop Halapua and perhaps don a mask together and enjoy the Creator’s delights in the ocean.

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