Monday, December 3, 2018

Kate Bowler in recording studio
Bowler works on her podcast in the recording studio.

Duke Divinity School Professor Kate Bowler's highly rated podcast, “Everything Happens,” returned for a second season Nov. 20. In the series, which first launched in January 2018, Bowler interviews people on how they have faced dark times in their lives. 

Bowler was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer three years ago at age 35. Her best-selling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved), was published in February 2018 and tells the story of her struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character.

The book grew out of a viral New York Times op-ed she wrote about the irony of being an expert on the American Prosperity Gospel movement—which believes that God bestows health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith—while being ill. Bowler is an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America, and her 2013 book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, received widespread media attention and academic praise as the first history of the movement.

The second season of the podcast opens with “There Is No Good Card for That,” an episode featuring artist Emily McDowell, who creates emphathetic and irreverent greeting cards that help people say the right things to others going through difficult circumstances. In the episode, McDowell shares what she learned after being on the receiving end of some terrible responses after a serious medical diagnosis.

Watch a video of Bowler discussing her experiences and work at a recent conference with Duke Divinity Professor Dr. Ray Barfield, a pediatric oncologist who teaches pediatrics at Duke University Medical School and Christian philosohy at the Divinity School.