Editor’s note: please enjoy this guest post by Alex Fogleman, one of the Brazos Fellows tutors and director of the Institute for the Renewal of Christian Catechesis. If you’re unfamiliar with the crucial work of IRCC, be sure to peruse its website and blog.
It’s been a delight for me to join the Brazos Fellows on a number of occasions in the Course of Study as an instructor, as well as to get to know the fellows and pray with them on a regular basis. This is an extraordinary group of people.
I have often had the experience, however, of not knowing quite how to describe what makes the Brazos Fellows so special. Yes, the directors, Paul and Paige Gutacker, are exceptional people, wise beyond their years. Yes, the integrated approach to learning is truly inspiring—a rigorous course of study, life together in community and common worship, a rule of life and spiritual disciplines, and spiritual direction and vocational coaching. These are all amazing facets of the program.
But even still, when trying to put words to the unique practice of education that is Brazos Fellows, I’m often left with few examples to compare it to. At least not in this century.
However, as a student of early Christianity, and particularly the history of catechesis, I am struck by the parallels of the Brazos Fellows with the early Christian “catechetical schools”—particularly those associated with one of the greatest theologians and biblical scholars of the early church, Origen of Alexandria (ca. 185–251).