chapter  5
The Amish in North America: Knowledge, Tradition and Modernity
Pages 19

This chapter concerns the activity of reading as a practice in the spiritual lives of contemporary women, even though both feminist theologians and women in the more public realm of feminist theology are reading literature, the uses to which women readers are putting literature remains open for investigation. The portrayal of reading as both safe and risky draws on data that emerge from a qualitative project investigating the users and uses of literature in women's contemporary spiritualities. Identifying reading literature as a resource for knowledge about contemporary women's religiosity and spirituality is based on the historical, textual relationship between feminist theology and literature, extant research on women in contemporary spirituality and the experiences of the women readers. The riskiness of reading is also illustrated in the participants' descriptions of reading as painful: reading is an activity that leads to awakening and spiritual nourishment, but often through distress and upset.