(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
April 15, 2018

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing. Kate 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 thirty-five, 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, Zach.

Then she is diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

Here are the first words of the Preface of her new book “Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved”

There’s a branch of Christianity that promises a cure for tragedy. It is called by many names, but most often it is nicknamed the ‘prosperity gospel.’ It’s bold central claim is that God will give your hearts desires: money in the bank, a healthy body, a thriving family, and boundless happiness.”

I grew up on the prairies of Manitoba, Canada surrounded by communities of Mennonites… by the time I was 18 I heard of a different kind of faith. By twenty-five I was travelling the country interviewing the prosperity gospel’s celebrities. Eventually I wrote the first history of the movement from beginning to end. (I scoffed,) but in my deepest soul, I sort of believed that everything does happen for a reason.”

“I don’t believe that any more.”

As a Christian, and a professor at a Divinity School, Kate Bowler was having a beautiful life. Until the phone call came with the results of the CT scan. “You need to come to the hospital right away. Now.”

Kate wrote a few days ago in her blog about Good Friday and Easter Sunday 2018:
“Even though Christians do a lot of thinking and talking about tombs on Easter weekend, the story does not end there… Death cannot define a life. ‘A death is not the sum of a life. A sum of a life is the sum of a life.’

This week was one of intense reflection and gratitude for what we learn at the cross. Suffering is not an affront to God. And I re-learn that every day that I watch others step into the darkness … and march deliberately toward Easter. As I said in my interview with NBC’s Anne Thompson and the Today Show, ‘you keep adding to the sum of my life, and I see the face of God in you. You are Christ’s hands and feet.’

Because of you, and because of Easter, my faith isn’t dependent on whether or not everything in my life works out.

Everything happens. Period. Everything can happen. Anything could happen.

[My husband] Toban so perfectly said in his most grounding casual-wisdom, “What happened to Jesus and the disciples? How can I look at that and expect nothing bad will ever happen to me?” My response to this is to say “Thank you Kate for this wisdom and witness to Hope.”