Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

Everything Happens with Kate Bowler

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 difficult times. Kate teaches at Duke Divinity School and is author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved) and No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear). Find her online at @katecbowler.


December 27, 2022 54 min

As we approach the New Year, we might need a minute to look backward. What even happened this year? Who was I? What went well? What didn't? Before we start making those New Year’s Resolutions, maybe we could have a second of honesty together.  

This week is about celebrating the fact that alongside some of our painful, horrifying moments, we did experience moments of levity and joy and pure delight. In our personal lives, in our...

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This time of year can be rough. Somehow we are supposed to wrap it up or feel complete, but, more often than not, we can look back at a year that, well, sucked. 

Rather than just showing you the shiny parts of life, today is your permission to Cheers to The Crappies. Kelly Corrigan (of Kelly Corrigan Wonders and Tell Me More) and I are exchanging our crappiest moments: in our personal lives, in our inner circle, during our 9-5, and ...

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December 14, 2022 51 min

The indomitable Liz Gilbert (of EAT, PRAY, LOVE fame) joins Kate for a live conversation on the courage to create. Listen as Liz helps us expose our exhausting American need to make everything useful and lets us embrace beauty as a way of really living.

In this episode, Kate and Liz discuss: 

  • Why we stop ourselves from being creative 
  • How we are all capable of making anything (badly! medium-well!) 
  • But how our creativity is best if it ...
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    December 7, 2022 63 min

    Bryan Stevenson (founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable among us.

    In this episode, Kate and Bryan discuss: 

  • The hope that motivates Bryan in this slow, sometimes frustrating work of justice
  • What it means to be a ‘stonecatcher’ (and why it serves both the one be...
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    We are going to practice the season of Advent together. Download a free Advent guide, here.

    At the end of today's episode, we asked you what your traditions were for remembering the people who we've lost. Share yours on my Instagram or Facebook account. Whether it is the 1st or 4th or 22nd year without someone you love, the holidays can be especially difficult. We need practical ways to bring their memory into our special da...

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    November 22, 2022 38 min

    Fred Penner is a Canadian sensation whose television show and hit songs like “The Cat Came Back” was part of so many of our childhoods. But what few of us knew was how much he understood the pain of growing up. He lost his alcoholic father and his 12-year-old sister in the same year. He turned to music. And his gentle wisdom and songs have invited us—children and adults alike—to stay curious and kind in a hard world.

    In this episode...

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    November 18, 2022 62 min

    Today, I have a very special BONUS episode for you all.

    Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed, watched in awe as this simple phrase from Untamed – WE CAN DO HARD THINGS – the mantra that saved her life twenty years ago, became a worldwide rally cry.

    Life is freaking hard. We are all doing hard things every day – we love and lose; we forge and end friendships; battle addiction, illness, and loneliness; care for children and parents; strug...

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    November 15, 2022 45 min

    Julia Samuel is a psychologist in the UK who specializes in working with families who have experienced complicated stories of loss and love. So often we can feel overwhelmed by our histories – our family histories – and need a boost to confront dysfunction, speak the truth, and find trusted people to help us look back and look forward. 

    In this episode, Kate and Julia discuss: 

  • What to do when we’ve inherited the pain of our parents ...
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    November 8, 2022 47 min

    How do we gather in meaningful ways? After the pandemic took apart so many of our favorite ways of hanging out, we might be out of practice. Or too tired or overwhelmed. 

    Priya Parker is an expert facilitator who encourages us all to practice being together for different reasons. And they don’t have to be nearly as fancy or predictable as we might think…

    In this episode, Kate and Priya discuss: 

  • How do we show up for other people and ...
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    November 1, 2022 57 min

    Jay and Katherine Wolf were 26 years old, newly married, and brand new parents when Katherine survived a brain stem stroke that upended their lives. That was fifteen years ago. Today, they continue to live with the enduringness of recovery, caregiving, and care-receiving, all while trying to maintain hope. Theirs is a story of commitment and love in the face of tremendous odds. 

    In this episode, Kate, Jay, and Katherine discuss: 

  • Why...
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    Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has written some of the most influential books on religion in the 20th century. But behind closed doors, he was suffering more than most of us knew. Here, Kate and Stanley talk candidly about his rollercoaster highs and lows of being married to someone with severe mental illness. And why doesn’t God fix our pain? They have some spicy opinions about that. 

    In this episode, Kate and Stanley discuss: 

  • Why Chr...
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    October 18, 2022 46 min

    Melissa Urban’s (CEO of The Whole30) experience of chronic illness forced her to accept her body’s limitations. You are going to love her practical advice for setting healthy boundaries as a way to protect our relationships, manage our limited capacity (especially for those of us navigating chronic pain or illness or caregiving), and remind ourselves of our inherent worth (regardless of how much you can do).

    In this episode, Kate an...

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    October 11, 2022 42 min

    Writer Jeff Chu was raised in a devout Chinese Baptist community, yet struggled to reconcile being gay with the conservative faith of his family. And the feeling of not-quite-belonging gave his life a strong purpose. He became a journalist and a pastor determined to make communities a place where you don’t actually have to “fit in” to belong.  

    In this episode, Kate and Jeff discuss: 

  • Navigating certainty and doubt when ambiguity is ...
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    Writer Mary Laura Philpott had all the regular kind of parental worries until her teenage son had his first seizure. She had to learn to balance her fear alongside her love all the while recognizing that everyone has something they are dealing with.  

    In this episode, Kate and Mary Laura discuss: 

  • Why love sometimes makes us afraid for all we have to lose
  • Why remembering that “everyone has something” can make us feel less alone (and m...
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    September 27, 2022 53 min

    Thomas Lynch is an essayist, poet, and funeral director in Milford, Michigan, where he has served since 1974 when he took over the trade from his father. Thomas speaks honestly about life and death and mortality from what he’s learned, standing so close to the edge. 

    In this episode, Kate and Thomas discuss: 

  • What elements make up a good funeral
  • How the habits of love are hard to break, no matter how old the person died who you grieve
  • ...
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    September 20, 2022 39 min

    Arthur Brooks was a professional musician and spent his twenties touring all over the world. Until one day, he stopped being able to hit the notes. He had to reinvent himself entirely, and wonder… what does happiness look like after I lose the career I had worked so hard for? 

    Now, Arthur writes about high achievers and how they might find meaning and purpose as they experience decline in their bodies or minds or in careers through ...

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    Many of us miss the churches of our childhood and are trying to figure out what pieces of our faith to keep and which to leave behind. My guest today knows that better than anyone. Randall Balmer is a historian of American religion at Dartmouth College, THE expert of American evangelicalism, and a pastor’s kid (PK!) of a fundamentalist preacher.  

    In this conversation, Kate and Randy talk about: 

  • How to reconcile the evangelism of to...
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    September 6, 2022 44 min

    Ibram Kendi and Kate Bowler have more in common than they would have liked. Historians and professors. Parents of young kids. Diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at age 35. No history of the disease in their families. 

    In this conversation, Dr. Ibram Kendi (who Time magazine’s called one of the most influential people of 2020) and Kate discuss: 

  • How a diagnosis like the one they share creates a sense of urgency in their work
  • How to a...
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    I'm Kate Bowler and I am so excited to be back for another season of EVERYTHING HAPPENS. A podcast where we don't have to pretend to explain away our suffering. If your life is not going the way you hoped, I'm someone you do not have to pretend around.

    About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at age 35. And I have ruined small talk ever since. Thanks to the wonders of immunotherapy, I'm no lo...

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    In this special episode, Kate visited the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace in London.

    In this funny and poignant conversation, the Archbishop and Kate discuss:

  • Why sometimes we feel God’s love (or don’t) 
  • How to pray when you have run out of words (he gives us permission to be impolite with God)
  • Why he is suspicious of joy, and why they both use the theology of Winnie the Pooh 
  • How people in emotionally expensiv...
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