After I attended the She Speaks Conference last month, I felt challenged to use my blog as more of a platform to uplift other voices. The late Rachel Held Evans inspired me by the way she did this so that more people in the world could hear amazing people called by God to share God’s message in a different way. I, too, feel the need to uplift these voices.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be uplifting some amazing women and their books in the hopes that you would be open to the message they have to share. This week, I wanted to start with “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler.
New York Times Bestseller, Kate Bowler, the author of “Everything Happens For A Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved” honestly reflects her experience of questioning God’s will in the midst of her suffering. Her soul piercing honesty, humor, and ability to hold onto her faith in the midst of great suffering make this book a fantastic read for anyone and everyone. It is a reminder to us all that community is a gift and that God is still with us in the midst of suffering.
If you have not already, I hope you will read this amazing book as I do feel like it will enrich your life. You can purchase it here.
This past six-weeks, The Rappahannock Charge UMC did a book study sermon series entitled: “Sticks and Stones: The Things We Say” using the lectionary scriptures and Kate Bowler’s book. We studied these phrases: 1) Love the Sinner Hate the Sin 2) You’ll Be in My Thoughts and Prayers 3) God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
4) The prosperity gospel (that week we used Kate’s other book “Blessed”) and 5) God won’t give you more than you can handle and 6) Everything Happens for a Reason. If you are interested you can find the sermons here.
What we found about these phrases is that most people think they are from the Bible, while in fact, they are not. Now there may be some remnants of the phrases that can be found in the Bible, and yet they have been taken out of context to support the phrase.
We talked about phrases that are more helpful to say…phrases that foster relationships and life. Here are a couple of phrases we talked about to use instead of the above phrases:
1) Love the Sinner Hate the Sin: We are all sinners in need of God’s redeeming grace and I believe God created you for a purpose.
2) You’ll Be in My Thoughts and Prayers: How can I pray for you right now? (and pray with that person or simply sit with them in silence)
3) God Helps Those Who Help Themselves: Everyone needs help sometimes, this is why we were created in community.
4) The prosperity gospel: Instead of being lured by the promises of wealth and success of the prosperity gospel, Christ is calling us to surrender our lives to God’s calling where we empty ourselves of our own desires so that others may come to know the love and grace of God.
5) God won’t give you more than you can handle: Christ will return in victory! In the meantime, we are called to shoulder each other’s burdens and rest in the presence of God.
6) Everything Happens for a Reason: God is with you through it all and I know God has not left you and I am here for you.
This has been a beautiful and edifying series as we learned to better care for one another in ways that are biblical. A special thank you to Kate Bowler for writing her book and for the many lives she will inspire and touch through her courage, honesty, and faith.