Everything Happens for a Reason
February 12, 2021
What do we do when nothing makes sense? When the randomness of suffering strikes close to home? Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler, explores how Christian theology can fall short as a source of explanation and comfort. Often the most repeated phrases intent on offering support can leave a person feeling a drift from God’s love. Bowler, after receiving a terminal diagnosis, explores these themes and the comfort she found in God’s abiding presence.
Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God's disapproval. At 35, everything in her life seems to point toward "blessing". She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.
Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been subconsciously subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with "a surge of determination". Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you "can't do" and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, megachurch preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live
Book available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Main Point Books in Wayne.
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