Book Review: Water From An Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life

Book Review: Water From An Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life
Kenneth McIntosh
Anamchara Books. 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1933630984

One of the most challenging aspects of the practice of religion today is sorting out the heart of spiritual teaching within any of the great traditions. Loud reactionary voices claim to speak for each tradition. This is most evident for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Writing with a clear voice for a substantive approach to Christian spirituality, Kenneth McIntosh explores his discovery of Celtic spirituality and his evolving path in the book, Water From An Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life. McIntosh, a teacher of comparative religions and founder of a community church in Flagstaff, AZ, draws on his experience of the Celtic Christian community at Iona, Scotland. Through the book, McIntosh explores an understanding the Christian tradition from the deeply incarnational Celtic perspective.

Historically, the Celts were tribal people whose communities spanned Western Europe in the pre-Christian era. In time, their presence diminished but continued to be sustained in Scotland and Ireland. Through the missionary work of St. Patrick, Christianity became part of Celtic life. The Celtic understanding of a sacred presence in all of life became incorporated with their practice of Christianity. It formed a distinctive understanding of Christian living based from an earth-centered perspective.

McIntosh presents elements of his own journey into Celtic experience of Christianity while reflecting on Celtic lore, biblical texts, and the writings of a variety of other Christian saints from early church history. The book articulates his process of embracing a new way to live a Christian life away from the fundamentalism that too often characterizes American Christianity.

Water From an Ancient Well is an informative and reflective text that presents a path for living Christianity in a new way. While sometimes meandering to other streams of Christian spirituality and practice, McIntosh returns to the Celtic stream drawing into it insights based on his lived experience. For those hope to find a refreshing source for Christian spirituality, Water From an Ancient Well may prove to be a new well-spring of reflection.

© 2012, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.

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