Publication Date

June 2006

Document Type



Published in "Christian Higher Education Journal" (5)3, pp. 211-233.


This study examined how eight adult education practitioners understand spirituality. The investigation defined and grounded the notion of spirituality within a specific religious/theological tradition, Christianity broadly defined. Data were collected via informal, conversational, taped interviews, and several themes emerged. The study used these results to interrogate the discourse of spirituality and found several serious problems including: the nondefinition and misuse by the discourse of the term spirituality, the hazards of individualized spirituality caused by imprecise definitions of the term, a failure to address the issues of faith substantively, and the separation in the discourse of religion from spirituality. The study concluded that by couching discussions in spiritual terminology, the discourse creates the illusion of confronting or dealing with issues of faith in a substantive manner. In reality, the difficult issues are avoided. The study proposes to move the discussion from issues framed in terms of spirituality towards a discourse of faith.