“Roseanne” cancellation shows we cannot predict the future

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ABC canceled Roseanne after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about former President Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett. (I will devote tomorrow’s Daily Article to this evolving story.) Shares of Walt Disney Co. declined after box office sales for Solo: A Star Wars Story came in below expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 400 points yesterday as a political crisis in Italy affected global markets. Oil prices also fell after reports that Saudi Arabia may lead an effort to pump more crude into the market. And the Wall Street Journal warns that Europe’s new privacy rules are thwarting security researchers and police around the world.

What do these stories have in common? They illustrate the fact that we can neither control nor predict the future. I raise this rather obvious point because it is relevant to two of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time.

Two transformative books

I just finished Kate Bowler’s heartbreaking and hopeful Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Dr. Bowler is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and teaches religion at Duke Divinity School. Her new book is transparent, funny, and thoughtful. She is one of the most gifted writers I know.

She is also battling Stage IV cancer.

One simple but profound truth she has learned from her illness is that she is not in control of her life and never was. Some people live to become elderly. Others like Kate, married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of an infant son, get sick at the age of thirty-five.

She describes herself as “addicted to self-rule” and observes that “control is a drug, and we are all hooked.” As a result, she has chosen to stop believing that “everything happens for a reason.”

By contrast, one of the most powerful Holocaust writers I’ve ever read believes just the opposite.

Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic is a poignant novel set primarily in a German concentration camp. We might…

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