7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2009
This is a beautifully written book in which Alastair draws from both his rich cultural upbringing in the traditional surroundings on the hebridean island of Lewis and latterly with his work with ecological and spiritual groups from around the world.
The book explores the idea that as the accepted western capitalist worldview gathers momentum and crashes headlong over more traditional ways of life, be it on the Gaelic west coast of Scotland or in the Forests of Papua New Guinea, is there something to be learned from the way these traditional societies lived with community at the heart of everything that they did.
The concept that Gaelic society existed in a vertical plane based on community, sprituality and consolodation within the land and Modern Western paradigm which exists on a horizontal plane based on individuality, material and personal gain and expansionism and which are very much at odds with each other, have and still are, the source of much confusion within the Gaelic mindset.
Through Alasdairs work with the Gallgael Trust in Glsagow he demonstrates that community is not just confined to peripheral rural areas but can be the source of much positive work within an urban environment, in this case one of the most deprived areas of Europe and is the cause of much hope.
I would suggest that education of young people especially in the outlying areas is crucial to halt the drift of population to the big cities. Children should be aware the community from which they come is sacred and as such I would recommend this book as essential reading and should be on the curriculum of all Scottish Schools
It is only by returning to community can society give heart to the fire.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2009
This Schumacher Briefing looks at how to connect `people, environment and spirituality'. It draws on psychology, theology and sociology in an unusual blend of cross-disciplinary thinking. It's quite technical, and a little advanced compared to what I normally read, but it did begin to click into place after two or three chapters.
McIntosh's premise is that we are disconnected from each other and from the earth, because our modern world has talked itself out of metaphysics. We don't even have a shared language any more for the soul, the spiritual, the deeper ties that give us our sense of identity and of place. And yet, community is built on three strands: soil, soul, and society. It requires all three, and "the breaking of friendship between any one of these three ruptures the fabric of reality."
In order to restore community, we need to acknowledge the role of the spiritual - what McIntosh refers to as teaching `psycho-spiritual literacy'. Out of this inner work, understanding ourselves better, the outer signs of community can then flow. We can begin to take responsibility for ourselves and for others, learn to share feelings of both joy and sorrow, create and nurture shared values.
Those interested in stimulating community may find this book a little dry, long on theory and short on practice. If you're looking for practical ideas you might need to look elsewhere, but if you enjoy psychology, this is a fascinating and unusual book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2009
I read this book at the end of last year and very much enjoyed it. It is a practical and deep tool kit about the art of building and sustaining community. It's good to read a book about community written by a community; though McIntosh is the main voice, brief case studies, written by associates at The Center For Human Ecology appear throughout the book. It's readable and clear. I found the spiritual/psycological aproach very usefull; Mcintosh looks at how we need to pray for strenght to deal with the 'shadow' (our own dark desires) in us and in the world. And to deepen in to the love below.
go for it!
on 2 February 2010
Rekindling community is a powerful little book, with chapters on research conducted within the Centre for Human Ecology, as well as the expertise of the author Alastair Mc Intosh. If you can stand flicking through the pages and back again to read what was before the glossy inserts of particular projects, the book is a must read for anyone interested in building community, or those involved in environmental or social justice projects in local communities. The material in Rekindling Community is an excellent overview of activism-based research and will spark the reader into thinking of their own lives and how they can influence their own communities and organisations which they are involved.
on 2 May 2014
Alastair McIntosh's writing is fluid, insightful, and meditative, whether discussing a drawn-out land rights battle in the Scottish Hebrides or the more esoteric points of Celtic and Christian Spirituality. This book, and "Soil and Soul" are wonderful, informative journeys. Highly recommended.
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