At age 35, Kate Bowler was living her best life.
She’d just gotten her dream job as a professor at her alma mater, Duke Divinity School. She had a new baby and a loving husband who happened to be her childhood sweetheart.
That’s when she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.
What made Kate different from every other person who receives a devastating diagnosis is that Kate had spent years researching the history of the Prosperity Gospel for her PhD dissertation. The Prosperity Gospel is a way of understanding the Christian faith that says God wants to shower you with blessings—health, wealth, happiness—all you have to do is claim them. The Prosperity Gospel appeals to our need to make sense of the hurts and failures of life. It also fits perfectly with the American dream that says anything is possible.
In her book, Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, Kate tells of her struggle to live despite a terminal diagnosis. I’m reading parts for the third time now, and I’m still crying one minute and laughing out loud the next.
If you ever struggled to know what to say to a sick or dying person, you need to read this.
If you’re struggling to come to grips with your own diagnosis, you need to read this.
But even better, we all need to read this.
The whole country should take a day off and read it together.
It just might lead to a Great National Reset, where we collectively reflect on why we are so angry with each other when the truth is every one of us has a terminal diagnosis. It’s just that some of us haven’t got the word yet. We need a person of faith like Kate who is humble, irreverent, and funny to remind us that…
Faith is still possible.
Love is real.
And life is still worth living.