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Kate Bowler - Everything Happens For A Reason and Other Lies I've Loved

John Woods takes a look at a book that charts one young mum and academic's journey into cancer – and how trite but well meaning Christians can simply add to your problems ...

SPCK  178 pages  £14.99  ISBN 978 0 281 07925 5

Kate Bowler is a young academic at Duke University in North Carolina. She is a historian, who specialises in the history of the Prosperity Gospel Movement. This book is a frank blow-by-blow account of her journey as a new mother into the mysterious labyrinth of cancer.

This journey involves a reassessment of what she believes against the backdrop of an amazing community of supportive care, and a variety of responses, designed to relieve her pain, but often doing the opposite, increasing her pain and making her want to swear! 

The main culprit is the well-meaning but facile response: “everything happens for a reason”. For the others, look up appendix 1 in this engaging and honest book.

Everything Happens For A Reason has been criticised for being a chaotic outpouring; and although I understand the criticism, this also misses the point. The author is reliving the chaos that the C-Word brings to any family.  All carers and would be comforters should read this book, in order to prevent a simple loving response becoming a simplistic one. 

“Final Public Service Announcement to Suffering People. 
Just remember that if cancer or divorce or tragedies of all kinds don’t kill you, people’s good intentions will. Take the phrase “but they mean well ...” as your cue to run screaming from the room. Or demand presents. You deserve a break.” (Kate Bowler)

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle

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