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Spiritual Activism
Spiritual Activism

Spiritual Activism

Leadership as Service


224 Pages, 6.15 x 9.20

Cloth, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $34.99)

Publication Date: September 2015

ISBN 9780857843005

Rights: US & CA

UIT Cambridge Ltd. (Sep 2015)
Green Books

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Over the past half century the issues facing activists have changed, as has our understanding and awareness of spirituality. For activists, spiritual philosophy is rising up the agenda because it offers distinct, tried and tested approaches to deep questions: Where did it all go wrong? What does it mean to be human? What is the place of leadership? What is the nature of power?The book begins by defining spirituality for a modern audience of all faiths and beliefs, and goes on to consider the problems and necessities of true leadership. Drawing on a rich history of spirituality and activism, from The Bhagavad Gita, to the Hebrew prophets, to Carl Jung, it is both guide and inspiration for people involved in activism for social or environmental justice.The text is enriched with tales from the authors’ own experiences. It contains case studies of inspirational spiritual activists (including Mama Efua, Desmond Tutu, Gerrard Winstanley, Sojourner Truth and Julia Butterfly Hill), which demonstrate the transformative power of spiritual principles in action.


“The great unspoken in Western political life is the loss of our culture sense’s of the sacred. Many people who work to change our politics or economics come to realise the deeper, spiritual underpinnings of their work, yet don’t know how to articulate it, even to themselves. This book offers a brave, bold and very timely guide to doing just that. If you think you want to change the world, you need to read it.”   - Paul Kingsnorth of The Dark Mountain Project, author of One No, Many Yeses: A Journey to the Heart of the Global Resistance Movement -

"The word brilliant is overused, but it genuinely applies to Spiritual Activism. No other book brings together social change theory with insights from psychology and spirituality like this book does." —Brian D. McLaren, speaker; activist; author, We Make the Road by Walking

"With its clarion call that spirituality is central to activism, this is truly a book for our age, challenging the preconceptions of most activists, let alone those who still see spirituality solely as 'an inner journey." —Sir Jonathan Porritt, first chair of UK government's Sustainable Development Commission; former director, Friends of the Earth

"This is a refreshing and heartening book. It inspires positive action with a rich and skilful integration of spiritual philosophies, psychology and case studies of great activists." —Katrina Shields, author, In the Tiger's Mouth

"Can we somehow manage to act both rightly and effectively? McIntosh and Carmichael have carefully studied the obstacles that have always made this look so hard. Their careful, sober reasoning and their case studies, reveal a map that leads the right way." —Dr. Mary Midgely, philosopher

"For any of us who find that the spiritual moment flows from the practical, that prayer (or song, or silence) refreshes on the knife-edge of activism, this book will be an invaluable resource and inspiration. It addresses questions of power, leadership and accountability with honesty, insight and wisdom, and speaks with humanity and humour on the importance of community in human development." —Rev. Kathy Galloway, first woman leader, the Iona Community

"Ever since the first Gulf War in 1991, Alastair McIntosh has stood in solidarity with our community to strengthen interfaith relationships. I warmly welcome the recognition in Spiritual Activism that true Islam can contribute to human rights, justice and peace for all in today's world." —Dr. Bashir Maan, first elected Muslim politician in the UK; former president, Glasgow Central Mosque

"Nuclear disarmament, as this thoughtful book suggests, is more than a matter of dismantling the weapons. We must also dismantle our minds and hearts to change our current ideas of true security." —Bruce Kent, Vice President, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Author Biography

Alastair McIntosh is a Scottish writer, scholar, broadcaster and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues, raised on the Isle of Lewis. A Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology, an Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity at Edinburgh University, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the College of Social Sciences at Glasgow University, he holds PhD in liberation theology and land reform from the University of Ulster.He has written numerous books. Soil and Soul has been described as "world changing" by George Monbiot, "life changing" by the Bishop of Liverpool and "truly mental" by Thom Yorke of Radiohead.He now lives in Govan where he is a founding director of the GalGael Trust for the regeneration of people and place. A Quaker, he lectures around the world at institutions including WWF International, the World Council of Churches, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the UK Defence Academy (on nonviolence). He regularly presents Scottish Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 and is renowned for his activist victories on the isles of Eigg and Harris.Matt Carmichael is a climate activist, English teacher, writer and homemaker with a degree in theology from Durham. He was a founder board member of Schumacher North and is the creator of the Delta Course; an intensive course on spirituality for groups of people from any or no religious background. He blogs at