Elizabeth Corey on “Learning, Justice, and Gift”

Over at Public Discourse, Dr. Elizabeth Corey reflects on learning, justice, and gift:

If people are more than wage-earners, then they must see that all of life is not about the practical activity of getting ahead. If they are more than political actors, then we must have education that is not expressly political. In other words, if we want to “do justice” to the total human condition, we must explore all the things that comprise the liberal arts: religion, philosophy, art, music, and literature.

It’s a great piece, and well-worth reading. Dr. Corey serves on the board of Brazos Fellows, as well as an erstwhile instructor in the fellows’ Course of Study. Here she highlights Brazos as one of several examples of the kind of education she’s talking about:

Other people are also developing similar ideas to promote liberal learning outside the university context, both large-scale online and small-scale local. One notable local initiative is taking place right now in Waco, Texas, where I live. Following in the tradition of other, more established fellows programs like John Jay and Falls Church, the three-year-old Brazos Fellows program at Christ Church is an intentional community of young people who gather for a year to study and pray in a traditional Anglican church setting. They read Augustine, Aquinas, George Herbert, Flannery O’Connor, Karl Barth, Tertullian, Athanasius, and many others. But the program is not “merely” academic: its aim is for each fellow to develop a rule of life that is also spiritual and embodied, in community with others.

Head over to Public Discourse to read the whole thing.

Dr. Andrea Turpin on “Learning in Coronavirus Time”

Over at The Anxious Bench blog, Dr. Andrea Turpin, a recent guest instructor of ours, reflects on teaching the Brazos Fellows and how this relates to C.S. Lewis’ insights on the value of education even during crises:

On October 22, 1939, C.S. Lewis ascended the pulpit of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford. From there he delivered to the university’s students his now-famous sermon “Learning in War-Time.” It was, of course, quite an extraordinary time to be a college student in England. Less than two months earlier, on September 3, the United Kingdom had declared war on Germany after Hitler had  invaded British ally Poland.

Lewis addressed the elephant in the room: why bother going to college when the nation is gearing up for a massive war? For one thing, young Oxford men might very well be called away to fight. For another, in Lewis’s words, “Is it not like fiddling while Rome burns?”

I thought of this sermon a couple weeks ago when I taught a Brazos Fellows seminar by Zoom during the first week of social distancing. (Chris Gehrz also thought of it the next week in conjunction with blogging at the Anxious Bench.) Brazos Fellows is a Waco-based postbaccalaureate program for vocational discernment in the context of Christian community and theological study. The fellows and I were discussing a historical theological debate—the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 1900s, to be specific. It would have been easy to say that there were rather more important things to have been thinking about at the moment.

But I was really excited to teach the material. I am convinced that the issues of biblical interpretation, personal piety, and social justice raised by that past controversy are just as relevant today. Lewis had argued that learning should continue in war-time, even—or even especially—about things not related to the war. So I commented that likewise, as a sign of hope, we would continue learning about weighty matters not directly related to the coronavirus.

It’s a great piece–you can read the whole thing here.

“We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ”

Over the last three weeks, the Brazos Fellows have been studying Christology–how Christians have understood the person, nature, and work of Christ. It’s a topic that, over the course of several hundred years in early Christianity, occupied the church’s greatest thinkers, sparked some of the most intense and heated controversies, and led to the foundational creeds of our faith.

To study Christology isn’t easy work! In addition to reading overviews of this doctrinal development, the fellows have been poring over influential texts from the fourth and fifth centuries: Athanasius’ On the Incarnation, Cyril of Alexandria’ On the Unity of Christ, and Gregory of Nazianzus’ On God and Christ. Thankfully, we’ve done this work with the help of a great team of instructors, including graduate students Cody Strecker, Nicholas Krause, and Alex Fogleman, as well as Baylor professor Junius Johnson.

Continue reading ““We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ””