Feasting and Fasting in Time

Editor: Please enjoy another guest post by Brazos Fellow Savannah Anne Carman.

My parents instilled a sense of propriety in my siblings and I. This sense of propriety manifested itself in family rules, such as not playing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving, as well as in my parents’ method of discipline. “Is this the place?” my mom or dad would ask when we were acting out. The reminder to remember “timing” formed a lasting disposition of respect: There is a time for giving and receiving, as during Christmas, but there is also a time for gratitude, and my parents wanted us to give each practice its due time. I was reminded of this when the Brazos Fellows recently finished our unit on Christianity and the Body. Our readings included sayings by the Desert Fathers and St. Basil the Great’s On Fasting and Feasts. Contrary to popular belief, the desert Fathers’ primarily concern was not sex, but rather food. They believed that the first sin was “ravenous greed,” and thus set to order their desires, and first and foremost their desire for food.

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Learning to be Lonely

Editor’s note: we’re glad to share another post by Brazos Fellow Jess Schurz.

I am not sure I ever learned how to be lonely. By that, I do not mean that I’ve never experienced it. In fact, quite the opposite: loneliness loitered like a shadow for much of my time in college. Somewhat ironically, this seems to be a prevalent issue, at least in the West. Social isolation, in the words of Professor James K.A. Smith, is a “quiet epidemic,” what social scientist Robert Putnam named Bowling Alone. Poet Franz Wright laments this sentiment in his poem “Flight,” written to his absentee father: “Since you left me at eight I have always been lonely / star-far from the person right next to me.” Although written about something foreign (I hope) to most of us, this ‘star-far-ness’ seems to be a familiar feeling to many. Continue reading “Learning to be Lonely”