Musings on Spiritual Activism (Chap 1-3 by McIntosh and Carmichael)

As I shared in my last posting, I am starting to wake my blog up from a deep sleep and wanted to share a few initial thoughts related to the first 3 chapters from Alastair McIntosh and Matt Carmichael’s Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service.

To be fair, I have only read the first 3 chapters, and am NOT planning to write this as a book review . . . far from it. I am using this space to maintain a running notebook of thoughts and ideas related to the readings for a course I am taking.

The first three chapters involve the notion of activism as related to community, spirituality, and transcendent or mystical states of consciousness. There are many personal examples and, woven throughout, are some references to support the authors’ conjectures. However, I am a bit at a loss to appreciate their flow. In our class this past week when we started to talk about our perspectives of the readings, I  characterized the book as one that needs a good editor, as I have trouble seeing how the paragraphs and sections connect to tell a coherent and clear story. In this way, I am not entirely sure if the text is a general musing on spirituality, an attempt to convince or persuade the reader to do or believe something, or something else entirely.

Remember learning about the different types of writing styles–Expository, Persuasive, Descriptive, or Narrative–some time way back in school? While I have not thought of this classification in some time as I never really had the need to, this book makes me wonder about it. The authors give various arguments for or against things they are seeking to demonstrate (such as should we consider mystical states as authentic aspects of human experiences or intellectual assaults on spirituality and how there may be logical reasons why this may not be defensible), yet they do not provide enough evidence to support their claims, many of which people have argued about for centuries without effectively being able to convince or persuade others. If anything, in raising the issues and not providing sufficient exploration into them, they appear a bit unsophisticated and unaware of who their audience may be or what it may know.

I will continue reading the text as it is a course requirement, and hope that my initial thoughts on it are incomplete and missing something. This has happened before, and I hope it may happen again.



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