The Standard, “an independent conservative student newspaper” is an exciting new journalistic endeavor at Baylor University. In the December issue, Cara Hoekstra writes up a helpful, well-rounded introduction to Brazos Fellows:
So what’s next? What are your plans after graduation? Questions like these have always provoked fear and anxiety among college students, but the challenges of COVID have made them even more urgent. This is where fellowships and other post-graduation opportunities can help transform young people into better human beings.
To provide an inside look at Brazos Fellows, Cara interviewed our Director, Paul Gutacker, as well as a member of the 2020-2021 cohort, Tiffany Owens:
For current fellow Tiffany Owens, Brazos Fellows has been a valuable time to discern vocation and calling. Tiffany was at first drawn to the idea of taking the time to study theology and to think about some of the bigger questions in life. Over the course of the program, though, she has found its most valuable aspects to be the spiritual direction and life coaching, as well as the intentional cultivation of spiritual practices. The interweaving of prayer and communal worship with everyday life has helped her reorient life toward larger existential questions and the development of virtue. According to Tiffany, Brazos Fellows can be summed up as “nine-months to pause to re-examine your assumptions, to re-examine your beliefs.” It is also a time to discover great Christian examples and mentors and to grow in a multitude of ways: spiritually, intellectually, and morally.
Head over to The Standard to read the whole thing–and be sure to check out the other articles in the December issue.
Last week, the Brazos Fellows read from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, a classic collection of spiritual wisdom, and a perennial favorite in our Course of Study. (Be sure to check out Brazos Fellow alum Jess Schurz’s reflection on the desert fathers, “Learning to Be Lonely.”) We were joined by Fr. Jonathan Kanary, who wrote his masters thesis on the tradition of desert monasticism, and had a great time discussing stories and sayings that are at the same time challenging, inspiring, and often bizarre.
I also had the chance to sit down with Fr. Jonathan for “Five Questions in Ten Minutes.” We talked about two spiritually significant practices, spiritual direction and confession,
Last week, Brittany McComb, this year’s Brazos Fellows Scholar in Residence, led our Course of Study discussion of Cyril of Alexandria. Against the Nestorian heresy, the fifth-century patriarch Cyril defended the unity of Christ as one person in two natures. We had a lively discussion of the Christological controversies and Cyril’s theological account of how, in the Incarnation, Christ joins our nature to the divine.
Brittany holds the MA in Theology from Regent College (Vancouver, BC), and is a PhD candidate studying systematic theology at The Catholic University of America. She and I sat down for “Five Questions in Ten Minutes,” and talked about Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus and Anne Carson, why systematic theology gets a bad rap (and why it actually can open up creativity), the mystic-influenced poet she’s reading, and much more. Listen here:
How do you form lifelong habits of discipleship? Brazos Fellows Director Paul Gutacker joins Oliver Hersey on the Transforming Discipleship podcast for a conversation about the fellowship–and bigger questions about discipleship, forming communities of Christian practice, what makes a good mentor, and more:
“There’s nothing magical about it. There’s nothing formulaic about it. Let’s commit to prayer together. Let’s share life together.”
Be sure to check out Transforming Discipleship, hosted on SmallGroups.com for more great conversations about discipleship ministry in the church today.