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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler
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Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

Author: Duke University

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Life isn't always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows. Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In, warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they've learned in dark times. Kate teaches at Duke Divinity School and is author of "Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved)." Find her online at @katecbowler.

59 Episodes
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The pandemic introduced many to living with uncertainty. But for some, uncertainty has always been their norm. Actress Nikki Deloach has starred in several Hallmark Christmas movies, but her life hasn’t matched the happily-ever-after plot-lines of her characters. Nikki’s dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of dementia and her son was diagnosed with congenital heart defects in utero… all in the same week. In this conversation, Kate and Nikki discuss how to live with constant uncertainty, how to stay open to both the terror and the beauty of living close to the edge, and how to make Christmas meaningful when hope is hard to come by.  CW: suicidal ideation, postpartum depression, a parent grappling with a child’s fragile diagnosis, dementia  For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Emergency Rooms are the theater of life itself. For ER Dr. Michele Harper, work has become a calling—to bear witness to people’s problems both large and small, to advocate for better care, to catch those who fall through society’s cracks, to stand up against discrimination, to remind patients that the pain they have endured is not fair… it was never supposed to be this way. In this episode, Kate and Michele talk about the importance of radical honesty when it comes to advocacy as well as the racial and socio-economic disparities that keep people disproportionately affected by the pandemic… and the anxiety and stress that follows. And still, even after all she has seen and all she has walked through, Michele finds great hope in being broken. Yes, we are shattered, but yes, we will be made into something new. CW: domestic violence, a doctor discusses a patient’s experience of sexual assault and a patient’s suicidal ideation, racial discrimination For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/michele-harper-beauty-in-the-breaking/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
At the core of nursing is the ability to love a stranger, to care indiscriminately. Christie Watson was a nurse in the UK for 20 years before she began teaching nurses. But when COVID-19 hit, she knew she needed to stand with her colleagues. So she put on her scrubs once again. In this moving conversation, Kate and Christie discuss the cost of COVID on healthcare workers, chaplains, and those who can’t be by their loved ones’ side when they need it most. If you are a nurse, know a nurse, or have been cared by one before, this one is for you. CW: COVID-19, dying alone For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/christie-watson-bless-the-nurses/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Though magazines and movie stars try to convince us otherwise, we aren’t all living our BEST LIFE NOW. When humor writer Samantha Irby lost both of her parents at 18, she developed the perfect coping mechanism: finding the absurd in everything. Kate and Samantha have a wide-ranging conversation about topics like grieving their Sweet Valley High life dreams, and how losing your parents as a child is the worst form of lost agency, and how important it is to speak honestly about our fragile, imperfect bodies and love them still. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/samantha-irby-im-doing-my-best-life-now/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What does it mean to be blessed? If you were to scroll through social media, you'd assume that "blessed" are the ones with gorgeous, matching families living in open style floor plans. But Jesus had other things in mind. When the Reverend Jan Richardson lost her husband, she continued to write counterintuitive blessings like “A Blessing for the Brokenhearted." In this episode, Kate and Jan talk about the ways grief cracks us open and the ways blessing invites us to stubborn hope. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/jan-richardson-stubborn-hope/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Are some people more empathetic than others? By studying those on the opposite end of the compassion spectrum—those with psychopathy—researcher Dr. Abigail Marsh discovered something quite surprising. In this episode, Kate and Abigail talk about the purpose of fear, what it really means to be brave, and how we can all learn to better belong to one another. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/abigail-marsh-extraordinary-empathy/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sometimes it feels like the world is irreparably broken. A climate crisis leading to more hurricanes, fires, and melting glaciers. A political season that has ripped families and friends apart. A pandemic that has left us more isolated than ever and even more delicate than before. Even the strongest among us may wonder, "What hope is there? Is love enough to save us?" My guest today is someone who believes in the kind of love that can change everything. In this episode, Kate and Bishop Michael Curry talk about the power of ordinary and extraordinary love to remake ourselves and our communities along with us. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/bishop-michael-curry-the-power-of-ordinary-love/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There are some secrets we'd rather not tell, but that eat us alive anyway. Writer Susan Burton was trapped in an eating disorder with no good name. Today's conversation is not a victory story. Issues with our bodies are not ones we overcome because our bodies are, you know, living things. Kate and Susan discuss how we struggle against shame and learn to have compassion for ourselves and our fragile, beautiful bodies. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/susan-burton-bless-this-body/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How do doctors, nurses, and other caring professionals keep their hearts soft when there are forces that make it hard to stay that way? With her radically compassionate approach to medicine, Dr. Victoria Sweet calls us to slow down in a world that loves quick fixes. In today's conversation, Kate and Victoria give us more language about what helps us all stay connected to the people we serve. For show notes, transcripts, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/victoria-sweet-medicine-with-a-soul/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What does it mean to be called to something? What if that job wears you thin? What if you think you've aged out of your vocation? In this episode, Kate and the Reverend Dr. Will Willimon talk about what to do when the roles we play cost us more than we're willing to pay and how aging invites us to take a new look at our purpose. (Also, you'll hear about the time Kate offered Will a bit of necessary... perspective.) For show notes, transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/will-willimon-your-work-is-a-calling/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What do you do when hope feels lost? Abstract artist Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes with grief. In extended isolation because of the pandemic, a nationwide reckoning with race, and our own personal losses, we could all use a bit of what Lanecia calls holy seeing. In this episode, Kate and Lanecia discuss how creativity can be an act of resistance and the hope she discovered on a blank canvas. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions:  https://katebowler.com/podcasts/lanecia-rouse-tinsely-when-hope-seems-lost/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Who are we as we age? Our culture has such poor language for the who-we-are-ness across time. The ways we grow and the things that threaten to diminish us. Clinical psychologist and bestselling author, Mary Pipher knows a lot about the opportunities and costs embedded in aging. In this episode, Kate and Mary offer us a non self-helpy roadmap for how to age beautifully. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/mary-pipher-the-art-of-aging/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We have thick cultural scripts for what is deemed inspirational and it usually goes like this: You can do it. Never give up. Everything you need is inside of you today. But what do you really need to hear when life is coming apart? Morgan Harper Nichols is someone whose words of encouragement gently lift our chins toward hope. In this episode, Kate and Morgan discuss how important it is to reflect truth and hope and beauty back to one another. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/morgan-harper-nichols-blessed-are-the-mirrors/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Our lives have shrunk and our choices have been dramatically restricted. But the obligations never stopped, did they? How do we get off the achievement train and build a beautiful life within constraints? Writer Shauna Niequist was on the fast track to burnout when she received advice that changed the pace of her life entirely. Kate and Shauna talk about the productivity myths we believe and how to embrace a slower, smaller life marked by delight. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/shauna-niequist-spread-too-thin/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What does it feel like to really live? Some people jump out of airplanes. Others prefer for their feet to stay on the floor. Some seek out the feeling of riding the edge of what is possible, and the rest of us are too tired to think about it right now in this pandemic season. Clinical psychologist Dr. Ken Carter studies thrill-seekers. In this episode, Kate and Ken discuss fear—how we manage it and how we live alongside it. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/ken-carter-living-alongside-fear/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Parenting isn't always Instagram-worthy, but the American myth of perfectionism rarely shows that messy middle. Kristen Howerton, mom of four, therapist, and author of Rage Against the Minivan, gives us the permission slip we all need. The one that says you can opt out of greatness. There is no winning in parenthood. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/kristen-howerton-worlds-okayest-mom/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What do we do when the institutions that are supposed to protect us, fail? As a child, Rachael Denhollander was sexually abused by USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. When she came forward with her story, over 300 other women came forward too—eventually bringing him to justice. In this episode, Kate and Rachael talk about how love must be the motivation behind justice and how our worth cannot be taken away, no matter what happens to us. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/rachael-denhollander-the-pursuit-of-justice/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Ray Hinton spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. With the help of justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson, Ray won his release in 2015. In this episode, Kate and Ray discuss the experience of not being believed, a justice system that works against you because of the color of your skin, and the sustaining power of unconditional love. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/anthony-ray-hinton-the-sun-does-shine/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When a group of young moms died around the same time, clinicians Justin Yopp and Don Rosenstein wanted to refer their widowed spouses to a grief support group... but none existed. So they started their own. Kate, Justin, and Don discuss the loss of imagined futures and the particular needs of young, widowed parents. Together, they uncover the magic of we. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/justin-yopp-and-don-rosenstein-the-magic-of-we/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What if your life hasn’t turn out like you thought it would? When writer Heather Lanier’s daughter was born with a rare genetic syndrome, she learned that the world will not always see her beloved as good. In this conversation, Kate and Heather discuss how it’s okay that we are not summed up on bell curves. Perhaps the bodies in which we dwell are whole enough. For show notes, the transcript, and discussion questions: https://katebowler.com/podcasts/heather-lanier-whole-and-holy/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (8)

Shannon Compton

loved this episode. the discussion on being carried versus self made has really resonated with me. I have tried not to depend on anyone my whole life and I have been taught to do so. I also constantly feel socially awkward so I avoid people as much as I can just to escape my own awkward feelings. With a cross country move, unemployment and a surprise baby, I find myself unable to rely on myself. I feel like a failure, I feel like I don't want anyone to do me a kindness because I could never pay it back, but this episode reminds me that maybe I am being carried. maybe I am just discovering community. thank you.

Oct 16th
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Dorothy Enns Klassen

A month ago my best friend lost her brother to cancer, leaving behind his wife and 3 young children. And while I'm not her, nor can I even begin to relate, I grieve for her. I've appreciated this podcast and this episode particularly as someone who just wants to love on someone who is going thru something shitty. It's okay to not be okay but I'm grateful for where it brings a person and friendship to also. 💕

Oct 3rd
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Mark Pearson

What a great conversation between two great thinkers who are great friends. As a flawed human with chronic depression I found what you had to say refreshing and a different view of manynideas that I have heard but not fully absorbed before. Thank you Kate and greetings from Brisbane, Australia 🌻😊

Jun 5th
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Mary K. Pershall

Just listened to your segment with Emily McDowell ... there's no good card for that. I think you don't want to hear any more free associations but I'll just say something terrible happened in our family and I could totally relate to your advice, just be there.

Mar 4th
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Rupert Lissaman

I'm not sure if this is useful to you, but I found your podcast after reading this article today: Hope Isn’t Just About the Future https://nyti.ms/2GHHfjG Strength to you!

Dec 28th
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Tomoyo Atkins

v3VBHがgbv次

Dec 12th
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Tomoyo Atkins

、o,

Dec 12th
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Saif Khan

My very first episode I heard was with Ray barfield. As a son to a father with a 10 year long battle with Neuro-Diseases and an aspiring Medicial Physician, this was flawless. Beautifully Handled by the host, Smooth flow and a Very insightful guest (Ray). Definite Subscriber, Thank you for this.

Feb 14th
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