a blessing when thoughts and prayers are not enough - Kate Bowler


Bonus Episode: Debunking "Everything Happens for a Reason" with Kelly Corrigan

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a blessing when thoughts and prayers are not enough

a blessing when thoughts and prayers are not enough

a blessing when thoughts and prayers are not enough

God, i am appalled
at the violence and suffering
that keeps happening.

God, how do i wrap
my mind around this?
what can be done?

be angry and do not sin
Eph. 4:26 Literal Standard Version

God have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Spirit have mercy.

The kind of fasting I want is this:
Remove the chains of oppression
and the yoke of injustice,
and let the oppressed go free.

Isaiah 58:6  Good News Translation

God have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Spirit have mercy.

blessed are we
who ask You God
to free us from the temptation
to look away in fear or horror,
or revert instead to a
‘thoughts and prayers’ theology
that offers the low-hanging fruit
of easy condolences
but is nowhere near enough.

blessed are we
who say, God,
i want to stay just a little bit angry,
mad enough to keep looking steadily,
and hold before my eyes
the sharp images, the memories,
the ugly reality
of what has happened.

God, save me from inaction
that will only make me complicit–
a party to the betrayal of others
and of You.

blessed are we who say, God,
help me form a strategy
that targets my gifts precisely
and doesn’t overreach my resources.
help me bring real comfort
to others who are vulnerable.
and grant me grace
to do this as steady work
that dismantles the systems
and mitigates the harm
even as we go.

God, where do i start?

God have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Spirit have mercy.

there is love in this.
God is alive;
magic is afoot.
you will be carried.

And I said,
“Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8

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Margret Newman
Margret Newman
2 months ago

I didn’t like the idea of “the body keeps the score” which in my mind/body translates to “it’s all in your head” which is the answer the medical community trots out when they have no answers. It’s your fault, your mind is screwed up! do some exercise like martial arts or yoga and it will go away or here are some psychotropic meds. I really was turned off by this author and his very backward thinking. Sorry, Kate, I love your podcast; it is usually perfect! But not this guy! Ugh! When will we finally weed out this extremely backward… Read more »

Jess | Team Everything Happens
Jess | Team Everything Happens
1 month ago
Reply to  Margret Newman

Hi Margret! I’m so sorry this episode didn’t resonate with you. Dr. van der Kolk’s work centers primarily on Vietnam vets and the physical repercussions they were having due to the trauma they endured (which we have now labeled PTSD, but that was before that was even a diagnosis). He helps to name how traumatic experiences change our very DNA and how our bodies might respond to similar circumstances (like how people who have been in war zones may not be able to be around fireworks). It is fascinating and validating research. I would recommend reading the book– it helps… Read more »

Margret Newman
Margret Newman
1 month ago

I understand the idea of not liking fireworks after a war. Of course. Or not driving past a place where you were in an accident or something that triggers unpleasant memories. But that is not what this author is talking about. And he broadly applies his research with Vietnam vets to everyone who suffers an illness. His conclusion reads “all illness is a result of trauma” period end of story but that is simply not true!!!!! If this pandemic has taught the medical community anything it is that dna is constantly scrambled that there is randomness and uncontrollable circumstances. Because… Read more »

Whitney Chambers-Woods
Whitney Chambers-Woods
2 months ago

Kate- I am a cancer survivor (3 months after my husband died with ovarian/uterine), widow to cancer(esophageal/age 42), and daughter who lost her father to melanoma at 37. My precious children and I have 3 terrible chapters in our books of life that are very hard and ugly. I kept a journal, as did my late husband, Robert. My first entry said that I have been a care-giver and a patient. I prefer patient because I know how I feel and can attend to it, but when you love someone who is suffering, it is a helpless and hopeless place.… Read more »

1 month ago

Thank you for this prayer. “Grant me grace to do this steady work”–I needed to reorient myself to this call. I find liturgies to be helpful to pray in times of exhaustion, pain and also selfishness.

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