The problem with #blessed

Kate Bowler’s Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me is the best thing I’ve read this year so far. It’s funny, sharp, and deeply moving. Kate recently got cancer, some time after writing an academic book on the prosperity theology phenomenon in many American churches. Prosperity theology — the idea that “good” faith in God can make you rich and keep you healthy — is an immensely damaging philosophy, and Kate addresses this with poise and clarity.

I hesitate to quote anything from the essay because you really should read the whole thing, but one of my favorite paragraphs deals with the recent rise of the #blessed hashtag:

Over the last 10 years, “being blessed” has become a full-fledged American phenomenon. Drivers can choose between the standard, mass-produced “Jesus Is Lord” novelty license plate or “Blessed” for $16.99 in a tasteful aluminum. When an “America’s Next Top Model” star took off his shirt, audiences saw it tattooed above his bulging pectorals. When Americans boast on Twitter about how well they’re doing on Thanksgiving, #blessed is the standard hashtag. It is the humble brag of the stars. #Blessed is the only caption suitable for viral images of alpine vacations and family yachting in barely there bikinis. It says: “I totally get it. I am down-to-earth enough to know that this is crazy.” But it also says: “God gave this to me. [Adorable shrug]. Don’t blame me, I’m blessed.”

I am thankful for people like Kate who, instead of saying “Everything happens for a reason,” says “Life is really hard — and yet, I still believe.”

This post is automatically syndicated from Elezea.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Rian Van Der Merwe’s story.