Not the Desert Experience: Spirituality in Australian Women's Fiction


  • Elaine Lindsay


When women gather at conferences on feminist theology and spirituality they say to each other: 'We are the ones who will invigorate religion and who will find new ways to talk of God'. Maybe they are saying this because they are women. Maybe they are eternal optimists. But maybe they also feel there is a need for change, that the language of mainstream Australian Christian theology is tired, that the images do not speak to them as women. I have been looking at popular expressions of Australian Spirituality contained in books written within the last fifteen years by theologians and religious commentators, books designed for a general audience. At the same time I've been reading fictions by contemporary Australian women writers to see what they've been saying, albeit obliquely, about Euro-Australian spirituality. Much of the women's imagery and understanding of the divine is substantially different from the mainstream spirituality which is found in religious books - hence the title of this paper.