*This post contains Amazon affiliate links to books I discuss, noted in bold with an asterisk. Read more about my affiliate links here*
It’s time for another installment in our Required Reading List—this time for a book that is brand new to our world and bound to make a lasting impact on how Christians discuss grief, death, tragedy, and life in the middle of it. Almost immediately upon its release, this book made the New York Times Bestseller List, and sold out on Amazon in just 3 days! Here you’ll find a full review, links to grab your own copy from Amazon (it's back in stock!), and a free printable at the end!
About the Book:
Kate is a professor at Duke Divinity School and an expert in American religion, specifically having spent years surveying the American prosperity gospel movement. She is married to her high school sweetheart Toban and together they have a son named Zach. Things were going pretty peachy until Kate was diagnosed at age 35 with Stage IV cancer.
This book takes a look at Kate’s experience with the prosperity gospel, where God supposedly grants us health, wealth, and happiness in exchange for our faithfulness AND what it feels like when your life “isn’t very #blessed”. Kate is wise, funny, and honest as she navigates these challenging waters. This book is a gift to us and will prove practical for all of our lives. We know that at some point, we will face grief and hardship and unexplainable tragedy and not knowing what to say. Kate offers us a detailed look into her world and a lifeline for these moments.
Honestly, the book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I participated in the book’s launch team called, “Team Kate”, but I find that I will continue to live my life on “Team Kate”, savoring the incredible gifts she has given us already, and praying for more—more hugs, more silly presents, more French toast in the morning, more humor, and more of her wisdom. I am better having read this book. Grief and life and death and ordinary time in the midst of it all now have been illuminated like no one else has done before. Kate, you are a beautiful person, and I am forever cheering you on.
Chapter 9: Ordinary Time
If I have to pick one, I was probably the most in awe reading this chapter. Kate has created something so beautiful in these pages of discussing how to live in the right-now, ordinary time, fully present. Her authenticity and toughness and heartbreak and humor somehow combine on the page in ways that have captivated me and will not let go. I don’t want them to. If I can grasp her words and live them, I would be inching closer to a life of abundance that makes no sense while making all the sense in the world.
Her appendix includes two parts: “Absolutely Never Say This To People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List” and “Give This a Go, See How It Works: A Short List”. Both are incredible, wise, funny, and practical. Our world needed this. Kate delivered.
Top 5 Quotes:
“What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American Dream that says, ‘You are limitless’? Everything is not possible. The mighty Kingdom of God is not yet here. What if rich did not have to mean wealthy, and whole did not have to mean healed? What if being people of ‘the gospel’ meant that we are simply people with good news? God is here. We are loved. It is enough.” (p. 21)
“But most everyone I meet is dying to make me certain. They want me to know, without a doubt, that there is hidden logic to this seeming chaos. Even when I was still in the hospital, a neighbor came to the door and told my husband that everything happens for a reason. ‘I’d love to hear it,’ he replied. ‘Pardon?’ she said, startled. ‘The reason my wife is dying,’ he said in that sweet and sour way he has, effectively ending the conversation as the neighbor stammered something and handed him a casserole.” (p. 112-113)
“I can’t reconcile the way that the world is jolted by events that are wonderful and terrible, the gorgeous and the tragic. Except I am beginning to believe that these opposites do not cancel each other out…I think the same thoughts again and again: Life is so beautiful. Life is so hard.” (p. 123)
“I have taken up cursing for Lent.” (p.126)
“If I were to invent a sin to describe what that was—for how I lived—I would not say it was simply that I didn’t stop to smell the roses. It was the sin of arrogance, of becoming impervious to life itself. I failed to love what was present and decided to love what was possible instead. I must learn to live in ordinary time, but I don’t know how.” (p. 156)
Follow the author:
Kate has written a book previously on the American prosperity movement called Blessed. You can find it here*. This month, Kate launched her podcast Everything Happens, which you can subscribe to via iTunes and all the other places you play podcasts (Forgive me, Androids—I do not know them by name). Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @katecbowler.
Buy the Book:
Grab your own copy of Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved HERE*!
Share your excitement by downloading this free 4 x 6 print to display on your desk!