New video release: My Brazos Fellows Story

Head over to the Brazos Fellows website to check out a brand-new video series, “My Brazos Fellows Story.” In these short videos, several alumni from each year of the fellowship so far (2018-2021) share some of what their time as a fellow meant. These stories are a great window into the experience of Brazos Fellows, and an invitation to join us in a future cohort!

Here’s a compilation video that brings in stories from each year:

Remembering my friend Don Lewis

Almost exactly ten years ago, in the fall of 2011, I found myself eating breakfast with Don Lewis. I was a bright-eyed first semester student at Regent College, full of earnest, barely coherent questions, wanting to understand how my evangelical upbringing fit within the larger story of the church. Don was a church historian whose work on evangelicalism, I would later learn, made invaluable contributions to our understanding of this modern renewal movement. But on that October morning, we didn’t talk about history or evangelicals at all.

Don had asked me–a brand-new Regent student not in any of his classes–to grab breakfast. What started with coffee, eggs, and toast took over the whole morning. By the time we were done, Don knew my life story. Back in his office, Don put an arm around me and sat with me in long, quiet prayer, murmuring thanks to God for “my friend, Paul.”

From that morning on, that’s who I was to Don: “my friend.” When I ran into Don in the atrium, “Good to see you, my friend.” When we’d catch up on Skype: “How are you, my friend?” When I started to make my own small contributions to the historical guild, with a huge smile, “Amazing job, my friend!”

A few days ago, on October 19, Don Lewis died, suddenly, without warning. After forty years of teaching at Regent College, this faithful saint went to meet his Lord. Since Tuesday, tributes have been pouring in from former students, many of them echoing my first thought upon hearing the terrible news: I’ve lost a friend.

It turns out that Don had a lot of “my friends.”

Continue reading “Remembering my friend Don Lewis”

Taking Aim at All the Sky

Editor: readers, I’m sure you’ll appreciate a return to the Brazos Fellows blog by alum (’18-’19) Jess Schurz. Jess now researches education policy in the DC area.

“Why am I so restless?”

Though I didn’t have the language for it at the time, this question was the refrain of my college years. It was most incessant in life’s day to day, with my increasingly sporadic, staccato attention span; coming to the end of a conversation or task without reaching for a quick distraction seemed a colossal feat, and one that grew only more elusive.

Over time, the “restless question” broadened out quite a bit, becoming more gnawing, looming, existential. It probed questions outside of the day to day of life, more into the year to year. In the frantic attempt to forge my own life, I flailed around. In the words of Richard Wilbur’s Seed Leaves, I felt “vaguely vast.” I wanted to “Increase, and yet escape / The doom of taking shape.”  That restless question, which reached its full torrent my senior year, ultimately led me to join a new program called Brazos Fellows. This nine-month fellowship, tucked away in unassuming, charming Waco, challenged this restlessness in ways I didn’t quite expect. 

As I met people involved with Brazos Fellows before I began, their habits of life struck me as, frankly, rather odd. They committed to strange things like keeping the Sabbath (did people still do that?), weekly meals with friends (but what if something better came up?), and daily prayer (aren’t the days too full for that?). 

Yet, they had an internal rest — a disposition of “settled-ness” that was undeniable. They were a steady, clear lighthouse while I was a flickering fluorescent light.

In pursuit of this rest, I joined Brazos Fellows. “I’ll take this rest ready-made and packaged to go please,” I all but demanded. These nine months in Waco, I thought, were a time to learn the tricks of the trade, and then be on my merry way. I was, after all, about to enter into the exciting, daunting post-college years. As such, I needed to get this “rest” thing squared away. The year with Brazos was to be my stamp in the passport — a one and done process before heading out the doors. When the program began, however, we received no such one-size-fits-all quick fix. Instead, they gave us a Rule of Life. 

Continue reading “Taking Aim at All the Sky”