Feb 6: Everything Happens for a Reason with Kate Bowler

Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: The Riverside Church, 9T

Kate Bowler worked as a professor at Duke Divinity School with a specialty in the American prosperity gospel, the creed of televangelism. At thirty-five, soon after she’d had a baby with her high school sweetheart, she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost almost thirty pounds before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.

Kate grew up happily among Mennonites “genetically predisposed to making thick-braided breads and homemade jam,” but as she reckoned with the prospect of an early death, she realized that she had been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel herself, living with the hidden conviction that the gifts in her life had been rewards for good behavior and perfect faith. This type of Christianity celebrates the American “can-do spirit”. But it also implies that if you “can’t do”, and you succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. What is it, she wonders, to die in a world in which everything has a reason? Stripped of certainty, Kate finds that what makes life hard and perplexing can also make it beautiful.

In her book Kate pulls the reader deeply into her life, populated with friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors alike, sharing her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying – and the ways in which dying has allowed her to face life unguarded. The result is a powerful memoir about living meaningfully in the face of catastrophe.

About the Author
Kate Bowler is an assistant professor in the school of divinity at Duke University. Bowler is author of BLESSED: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel and host of “Everything Happens,” a podcast featuring honest conversations about life’s toughest challenges. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.