Sunday, July 23, 2023

Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler Book Review

Bowler was raised in Canada, surrounded by Mennonite communities. She spent a great deal of time studying the prosperity movement for her thesis. (It has been published, Blessed.) Then, at 35, she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She shares her experiences and thoughts on living and the very real threat of dying.

This is a good book for Christians who tend to be flippant about God and His plans. Bowler tackles serious issues like how people make up their minds about God and His goodness and fairness. People wanted Bowler to accept her cancer as part of God's plan for her life. Perhaps she was experiencing it to help others or to be an example.

Bowler realized Christians wanted her to not be upset about her diagnosis (death is not the end), to see it as a learning experience, and to believe that the depth of her faith would determine her outcome. She learned to live with unanswered questions about God and what He was doing.

She found that the best thing she could do was to be present. She knew God was present even though she did not know why it was happening, why some die and others live. Her thoughts about heaven were thought provoking. How could she anticipate heaven when she would not be with her newborn son?

Bowler's book is a thought provoking one. It will make you rethink some of the glib phrases and promises we often hear from others when we are suffering. It will also inspire you to appreciate end enjoy the life God has given you this moment.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Kate Bowler is an assistant professor at Duke Divinity School. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and Duke University, she is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel and The Preacher's Wife: Women and Power in American Megaministry. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. You can find out more at

Random House, 208 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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