About - Kate Bowler

Michele Harper: Beauty in the Breaking

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About

My name is Kate and I’m a historian at Duke Divinity School. My wordy title is that I am an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America. My first book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, 2013), received widespread media attention as the first history of the movement based on divine promises of health, wealth, and happiness.

I researched and traveled Canada and the United States interviewing megachurch leaders and everyday believers about how they make spiritual meaning of the good or bad in their lives. My work on the prosperity gospel has been featured in the New York Times, The New Republic, The Guardian, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Post, NPR, and the BBC.

In 2015, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. In this New York Times op-ed, I write about the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill.

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My third book is called The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities (Princeton University Press, October 2019). It follows the rise of celebrity Christian women in American evangelicalism. Whether they stand alone or beside their husbands, they are leading women who play many parts: faithful wife, spiritual authority, and Hollywood celebrity.

My New York Times bestselling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) (Random House, 2018)tells the story of my struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character.

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Life isn't always shiny. But why is it so hard to speak frankly about suffering? This question is the backdrop behind my podcast, Everything Happens, where, in warm, insightful, often funny conversations, I talk with people about what they’ve learned in dark times.

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Kate Bowler, PhD, is an associate professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School. She is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel which traces the history of the moment based on divine promises of health, wealth, and happiness. Then, after being unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35, she penned the New York Times bestselling memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved). Dr. Bowler subsequently staged a national conversation on speaking frankly about suffering through her popular podcast, Everything Happens.

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