GREENSBORO — First Presbyterian Church launches another “God Talks” speaker series on Thursday.
Think of it like TEDx but for religion.
The keynote speaker is Kate Bowler, a Duke Divinity School historian and assistant professor who writes about the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill.
In 2015, Bowler, who is married and has a young son, received a diagnosis of late-stage cancer at age 35.
Her new book, “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved,” is a New York Times best-seller.
She writes and speaks with a range of emotions.
“If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that hard times are best endured together,” Bowler writes in her blog on katebowler.com. “There is nothing worse than climbing a dark mountain alone.”
She seeks to dispel the notion that a person’s faith is intentionally being tested by cancer or another misfortune.
Bill Leonard, the former dean of the Wake Forest Divinity School, agrees.
“It isn’t that God does these things to us, it’s that life does these things to us,” Leonard said.
Bowler has also shared with her audiences the letters that she writes to her son — and how he keeps her going.
Sam Bostian, who chairs First Presbyterian’s planning group, said her story is especially poignant to those caught up in the bustle of life.
“Anybody needing to take a breath and pause,” Bostian said.
The other speakers are names well-known in their fields.
Fraccaro has advocated for immigrants and human rights for most of his career, including assignments with the United Nations and National Council of Churches.
Meachum, a pioneering member of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society, grew up listening to soul music at his family’s juke joint in Greensboro. He earned an O. Henry Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to arts and culture in the Triad.