Using story, scripture, reflection, and prayer, this book offers readers a taste of the living water that refreshed the ancient Celts. The author invites readers to imitate the Celtic saints who were aware of God as a living presence in everybody and everything. This ancient perspective gives radical new alternatives to modern faith practices, ones that are both challenging and constructively positive. This is a Christianity big enough to embrace the entire world.
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Do you remember you high school history teacher quoting the saying, “If you do not learn from history, you will end up repeating it.” Well, after reading Water from an Ancient Well, by Kenneth McIntosh, I’d say that might not be a bad idea. The ancient well that McIntosh is referring to is Celtic Christianity. McIntosh paints a panoramic picture of Celtic Christianity, in his book, and then suggests that the church today might learn from them. Centuries ago Celtic Christians were practicing relational evangelism, living in both the spiritual and physical realms, nurturing their faith through tried and true spiritual disciplines, and caring for the creation in which they lived. The Celts of long-ago saw God in everything (panentheism), and comfortably lived in the tension between an all-powerful God of creation and a loving, forgiving, gracious God, who so loved the world …. McIntosh describes the Celtic Christians in a can-do-nothing-wrong manner. I’m sure they must have had their faults and weaknesses. There are probably even areas where modern day Christians might learn what NOT to do. But, on the whole, Celtic Christianity is a well full of cool, refreshing water that might be able to renew, refresh and perhaps even reform today’s church. Many of us are ill-at-ease with much of what the church has become. There is a comfortableness among many Christians; they don’t expect much from God and don’t do much for God. Today’s church is criticized (I think rightfully so) by those outside its walls as being judgmental, self-righteous, and hypocritical. Evangelism is forced. Often more effort is expended in sustaining the congregation than in serving others. Branches of today’s church are exclusionary, deaf to environmental concerns and intent on being politically powerful. The scary part is that many Christians see nothing wrong with the picture. McIntosh’s book offers the reader a glimpse of another side of Christianity. It is thought provoking and challenging. The reader is not required to agree with everything that is presented in the book. An invitation is given to every reader, though, to step out of his or her comfort zone and dare to be different. The results might be surprising.