Chaplain’s Lecture Series returns to Oxford with author and professor Kate Bowler

Daniel Christian •

Chaplain’s Lecture Series returns to Oxford with author and professor Kate Bowler

Bowler’s Feb. 7 talk at Oxford is open to the Emory community and general public.

Kate Bowler, a professor at Duke University’s Divinity School, received the sort of news at age 35 that can change one’s perspective: She had stage IV cancer. That was eight years ago, and in the time since, she’s expanded her interest in the connection between her theological studies and the ways we make meaning out of adversity—the subject of her New York Times best-selling book, Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved).

Bowler will visit Oxford on February 7 for a talk titled “Life After Perfect” as part of the Chaplain’s Lecture Series. The event will be held in the Greer Forum of the Oxford Student Center at 7:30 p.m. and is the first lecture in the series to be held in-person since 2020. Bowler will stay after to sign books, which will be available for purchase at the Gilbert Bookstore. Admission is free and open to the Oxford and Emory communities and the general public.

In addition to her NYT best-selling hit, Bowler has five other published books and hosts the successful podcast “Everything Happens,” for which she interviews guests of pop culture fame and theological renown—from journalist Katie Couric to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to Oxford College’s own Dr. Ken Carter. In 2020, she interviewed Interim Dean Carter on her podcast in an episode called “Living Alongside Fear,” where they explored Dr. Carter’s research on thrill-seekers and living life to its fullest.

“I’m excited to have the series back on our campus” said Oxford Chaplain Lyn Pace, who organized the event in partnership with the Pierce Program in Religion. “I think Kate will connect with students and the larger Oxford and Covington community. I hope what she says draws questions, that it provokes people to think and be curious—to think a little harder about how we live and why it matters, what perfect means and what it doesn’t mean. That’s the main thing about the Chaplain’s Lecture Series: How are we engaging with the ways we make meaning in our lives and the world, both on campus and beyond?”

The Chaplain’s Lecture series has been a staple at Oxford for decades, and Pace has selected the speakers since joining Oxford in 2009. For him, it is important that the talks engage not only Oxford students, but also all of Emory and the local community.

As for what to expect from Bowler, Pace said: “She’s very real and can connect with those who are interested in a religious perspective as well as those who are interested in an everyday one. She talks about the fact that not everything is always positive like we see on social media. Failure is a part of life, and there’s a way to respond to it that allows you to lean and live into it.”

Learn more about Kate Bowler at her website here.