Items of Interest

The City Podcast: The Interesting Lives of Professors

by Timothy Motte on April 14, 2014

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Marie Mater, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Often students don’t realize that their professors have lives outside the classroom. If a student thinks about it at all, she probably assumes that the professor lives in a supply closet on campus.

If they only knew the stories some professors could tell…

Dr. Marie Mater has some the most interesting stories from her travels. And she shares the best ones with us on today’s episode.

Along the way you’ll hear:

  • How to get a cow to cross a rope bridge in the Himalayas,
  • The 3 hardest things for international students to adapt to, (Driving is a big one.)
  • How intercultural communications can go wrong,
  • And 3 things to add to your bucket list.


Email us at with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

Read more from Dr. Mater at Reflection and Choice.

The City Podcast: What 3 Anglophiles Think about England

by Timothy Motte on February 10, 2014

The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.

Featuring: Dr. Holly Ordway, Fr. Micah Snell, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Whether you are a true Anglophile or you’re wondering what Anglophilia is, this podcast is for you.

Dr. John Mark Reynolds loves England. Dr. Holly Ordway spends a great deal of time there on both professional and personal business, and she is practically British by temperament. And HBU Honors College professor, Fr. Micah Snell actually lived in the UK for three years.

So here they are discussing Cultural/Historical Britain, Academic Nostalgia for old England, and Hipster Britain, as well as making some humble predictions for the future and exploding some American misperceptions of the United Kingdom.

This is not entirely off the wall for a place like Houston Baptist University because HBU has an official presence in England with the HBU C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, directed by Dr. Michael Ward. You can here more about that on one of our previous podcasts.


Email us at with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.

Items of Interest: Wisdom and Grace

by Benjamin Domenech on July 23, 2009

But oh! thy Wisdom, Lord! thy Grace! thy Praise!
Open mine Eyes to see the same aright.
Take off their film, my Sins, and let the Rayes
Of thy bright Glory on my peepholes light.
I fain would love and better love thee should,
If ‘fore me thou thy Loveliness unfold.

Edward Taylor
Meditation 35

Items of Interest: The Joy of the Gospel

by Benjamin Domenech on June 22, 2009

The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced, have not been those that have arisen from a hope of my own good estate; but in a direct view of the glorious things of the gospel. When I enjoy this sweetness, it seems to carry me above the thoughts of my own safe estate. It seems at such times a loss that I cannot bear, to take off my eye from the glorious, pleasant object I behold without me, to turn my eye in upon myself, and my own good estate.

Jonathan Edwards
Personal Narrative

Items of Interest: To Entertain Such Imaginations

by Benjamin Domenech on June 4, 2009

There were some who dared in the opinion of the multitude to immortalize themselves; and notwithstanding that the very sense of sight bore witness to their mortality, were ambitious to be called gods, and were honoured as such; to what a length of impiety would not many men have proceeded, if death had not gone on teaching all men the mortality and corruptibility of our nature? Hear, for instance, what the prophet says of a barbarian king, when seized with this frenzy. “I will exalt,” says he, “my throne above the stars of heaven; and I will be like unto the Most High.”

Afterwards, deriding him, and speaking of his death, he says, “Corruption is under you, and the worm is your covering;” but his meaning is, “Do you dare, O man, whom such an end is awaiting, to entertain such imaginations?” Again, of another, I mean the king of the Tyrians, when he conceived the like aims, and was ambitious to be considered as a God, he says, “You are not a God, but a man, and they that pierce you shall say so.” Thus God, in making this body of ours as it is, has from the beginning utterly taken away all occasion of idolatry.

Homilies Concerning the Statues

  • At the newly redesigned First Things online, Elizabeth Scalia responds to the death of George Tiller: “The Pauline paradox “when I am weak, then I am strong” carries a flipside: “When I am strong, then I am weak.” Relativism is dangerous because we can too easily slip into the belief that we so well comprehend God’s will that we can confuse our own will for God’s, and thereby do terrible damage to one another. God’s rain falls on “the just and the unjust,” and it is one of the challenges of the life of faith that we must leave to God the rendering of his Justice.”
  • At GetReligion, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway asks “How Muslim Are We?” in response to President Obama’s statement that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” This is a bit of a stretch in the numbers department, but could he mean philosophically? An interesting question.
  • A piece on “Competitive Altruism” — otherwise known as what your grandmother called “being a showoff” — reminds us of the benefit of anonymous giving: “Traditionally, economists have presumed that if people are seeking status, they will simply buy the most luxurious product they can afford. But Griskevicius and his colleagues — Joshua Taylor of the University of New Mexico and Bram Van den Bergh of the Rotterdam School of Management — theorized that when given an eco-friendly alternative, competitive altruism would compel people to forgo luxury for environmental status. To test the theory, they conducted several experiments.”
  • The always entertaining P.J. O’Rourke reflects on the end of our love affair with the car (and GM) in the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal.
  • Julie Vermeer Elliot is concerned by the belated discernment exhibited by evangelical viewers of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. She writes: “It was not until the recent allegations of sexual impropriety arose that a significant number of Christians began to question whether Jon and Kate were indeed the examples of faithful living that we had imagined. Somehow most of us missed the long trajectory that was, day by day, moving them farther from a life of Christian virtue. Sexual immorality—whether actual or merely suspected—caught our attention, but the materialism, narcissism, and exploitation of children that preceded it was largely overlooked.” Read the rest here.

Items of Interest: The Love of God

by Benjamin Domenech on May 19, 2009

Wilt thou love God as he thee? then digest,
My soul, this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
In heaven, doth make His temple in thy breast.
The Father having begot a Son most blest,
And still begetting—for he ne’er begun—
Hath deign’d to choose thee by adoption,
Co-heir to His glory, and Sabbath’ endless rest.
And as a robb’d man, which by search doth find
His stolen stuff sold, must lose or buy it again,
The Sun of glory came down, and was slain,
Us whom He had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.
‘Twas much, that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

John Donne
Holy Sonnet XV

  • Patrick Deneen, who will have another article in our upcoming issue, has a challenging essay at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University on the Dysfunctional American Campus: “Our current universities no longer undertake what they were designed to achieve, and hence have become largely dysfunctional institutions whose activity – classical liberal education – exists in profound tension with their role – conveyors in the global meritocratic marketplace. It should be recognized that a vast chasm has arisen between what today’s colleges and universities are for – the bestowal of credentials – and what they were designed to achieve – a liberal education.”
  • In the latest issue of Themelios, D.A. Carson reflects briefly on the distinction between the gospel and the consequences of the gospel for how we approach culture. Over at First Things, Charles J. Chaput has some timely remarks on what some of those consequences might be.
  • HBU’s own Hunter Baker comments at Touchstone on the Great Commission Resurgence–a new initiative spearheaded by Johnny Hunt, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Donald A. Yerxa reflects on the pleasures — yes, the pleasures — of getting rid of books.
  • Following up on a previous post, Matthew Milliner shares more thoughts on theology, personality and Catholicism.
  • In the Wall Street Journal, Megan Basham had a provocative response to journalists and administrative officials who hope that the current economic downturn will push more wives and mothers into the workforce as their husbands continue to lose the majority of the jobs: “If our media and our government really want to show support to mothers” she writes, “they might consider actually listening to them.” Read the rest here.

Our next issue is coming together already — we shall have an update on it within the next few weeks.