I appreciated the book and Bowler's insights so much that I did want to say something about it, but I am left to start with some description of the work from Bowler's NYT article:
After outlining the intellectual history of this very American-exceptionalist form of Christianity, Bowler relates and elaborates on her experiences among property gospel adherents on the themes of wealth, health and victory. In her Times article, she sums up some conclusions from the experience of researching the book:
So why did I call Bowler's Times article "gut-wrenching"? Because, it begins with her announcement that she has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and is necessarily living the antithesis of the controlled certainty that her prosperity gospel research subjects spend their lives and substance grasping for. Again, just read it.
Yet throughout Blessed, Bowler insists that we not approach the good and frequently quite poor believers in this Christian perversion with supercilious scorn. And she's right. These folks are doing their best within the constraints of their country and the leadership they find in their surroundings. (Those leaders, on the other hand ...) My instinctive reaction to their beliefs is mostly just rationalized class and educational privilege.
Bowler sees better what matters in that same article:
If I thought a literal Hell existed -- which I don't -- I'd think there would be a special place in Hell for the peddlers of this rot.