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:
On Saturday, August 28, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and teacher of the Christian faith. One of my favorite lines from Augustine’s writings comes in Book 3 of the Confessions, where he remembers how he wandered from God as a young man: “You were more inward to me than my most inward part,” or, as sometimes paraphrased, “you were closer to me than I am to myself.” (The Latin is tu autem eras interior intimo meo.)
It’s a remarkable statement. Who could be closer to me than me? What is more intimate to me than my own self? The answer, according to Augustine, is God. The One who made us, the One who is beyond us, also dwells within us. God is more inward to you than your very self.
It’s fascinating to read these words some sixteen hundred years later, at a time when there is great confusion about the self. We cheer “authenticity” and encourage each other to “be your true self,” presumably at any cost. We celebrate those who “find themselves” by breaking free from the constraints of culture, family, tradition, and even biology. We (mis)represent ourselves through social media, carefully curating a digital self that others will like. Much of our energy, much of our attention, is given to our own self-construction; as W.H. Auden put it, “each of us prays to an image of his image of himself.”
Recently Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh gave a (virtual) public lecture on theological anthropology–or how our understanding of God ought to shape our understanding of what it means to be human. Dr. Hindmarsh is a frequent guest instructor for Brazos Fellows, and the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. Here’s a description of his talk:
An icon of the transfiguration will often display Christ as enveloped in layers of light that recede into grey and black behind him. As John Chrysostom said, the eyes of the disciples “were darkened by excessive radiance.” A later hymn writer likewise wrote, “`Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.” There is more than we can take in when we turn to contemplate the beauty, infinitude, and holiness of the Lord. This lecture explores an idea in Hans Urs Von Balthasar of the analogia personalitatis, or, the analogy between human and divine personhood. Is there a kind of dark centre of unknowability exceeding all that enlightens us as we come to know of another human person? How might this mystery inform a deeply theological anthropology? How does it challenge modern views of humanness? And what are its implications for human relations in society and everyday life?
Until August 31, you can watch the lecture for free here:
Editor: at the end of our year, enjoy this from Brazos Fellow Natalie Widdows.
Yesterday was the last day of Brazos Fellows class. Instead of a wordy reflection of how meaningful our classes have been for me, I offer a different glimpse into our classes together. Here are some doodles that Tiffany and I have drawn during our classes this year (and yes, we were paying attention during class.…. most of the time, at least)!
I sometimes reflected on our readings by sketching something related to the topic. I often did this by drawing the images on the front covers of our books. My sketch of Mary and the Christ-child is a personal favorite.