Lewis and Harris are also known as the Long Island - and this book takes a long view. The first chapter,'A Spiritual Place and People', takes us back to the earliest Christians on the island, the Irish monks, who sought both worship in solitude, and God's work amongst the people.The second chapter, 'Conflict, Calvinism and Constitution' scrutinises the rooots and contexts, political, economic and religious of the Reformed faith, and its impact on the island, particularly the embedding of the Calvinism of the Westminster Confession. Chapter 3, 'Land, Gospel and the Hooded Lassie',covers the troubled period of the island's history, when colonisation, Jacobite rebellion, landlordism and capitalism formed a swirling background to Evangelicqal revival. Particularly interesting here is the story of Lady Mary Stuart MacKenzie - it's seldom indeed that a woman features in ecclesiastical history. Chapter 4, 'The Miann - Our Island's Greatest Export' explores the essential quality of island religion, past and present, the "miann", the 'ardent desire for God', the longing which quietly sustains and will sustain faith in the island.
'Island Spirituality'is an extended version of a talk given to the Islands Book Trust in October 2012, and contains the fruits of research undertaken for a forthcoming book, provisionally titled "Poacher's Pilgrimage". "Island Spirituality" contains wonderful Endnotes - some of which in Dr McIntosh's words are 'mini-essays'. This wealth of material encourages the reader to engage with the issues, and thoughtful readers will draw comparisons and possibly gain insights from their own understanding and experience. The author's study is not that of a coldly appraising outsider's eye, for he was raised on the island,and the island formed points of reference for his own far-ranging work and involvement. (See: 'Soil and Soul' 2002) If Lewis and Harris can have a 'reconciled future', this can give hope to those of us who long for a 'reconciled' world.