The City Podcast: Prufrock-in-Chief

by Timothy Motte on September 11, 2013

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

Featuring: Dr. Doni Wilson, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Dr. Doni Wilson, who blogs at Reflection and Choice, and Dr. Holly Ordway, who blogs at Hieropraxis, are English professors. If one were to guess, one might assume that they are strong supporters of President Obama.

On the contrary, Obama seems to remind them of a certain unfavorable literary character – J. Alfred Prufrock.

Dr. Wilson wrote a fine piece about this comparison, and Dr. Reynolds speculates that perhaps the culture of academia is partly to blame for developing these apparent Prufrockian tendencies in our first academic as president since Woodrow Wilson.


Email us at podcasts@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future episodes.


The City Podcast: Do Americans Read Poetry?

by Timothy Motte on July 22, 2013

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

Featuring: Dr. Matthew Boyleston, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

In this conversation, we bring in the Dean of HBU’s School of Fine Arts, Dr. Matthew Boyleston to answer the age-old question: Have people stopped reading poetry?

Dr. Boyleston is an accomplished poet himself, and Cate is quite the aficionado. So you can be sure that this topic is explored thoroughly. Is poetry a girlish activity or a boys’ club? Should poets have day jobs or earn a living by writing? 3 reasons to pay a lot of money to study poetry in school. You’ll also learn what separates poetry from prose. (Hint: It’s not necessarily rhyme.)

Poems read in this podcast:

  • “In My Father’s House” by J. Matthew Boyleston
  • “Carrion Comfort” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “A Preacher Who Takes Up Serpents Laments the Presence of Skeptics in His Church” by Ron Rash
  • “For the Means of Grace and For the Hope of Glory” by J. Matthew Boyleston

Here is a video of a very well-attended poetry reading that Dr. Boyleston gave in HBU’s Museum of Fine Arts in the Fall of 2012.

Email us your favorite poem at podcasts@hbu.edu and we might read it on a future episode.


You might also enjoy these episodes of The City Podcast:
Poetry in Bible Translation
Where Does Beauty in Literature Come From?

The City Podcast: Poetry in Bible Translation

by Timothy Motte on July 15, 2013

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

Featuring: Dr. David Capes, Dr. Holly Ordway, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

The Bible is the most owned, but least read, book.

Does having yet another translation contribute to that problem or its solution?

Dr. David Capes, Professor of Christianity at HBU, was the lead scholar, on a team of over 100, for a new translation called The Voice. One of the unique aspects of this project is that they intentionally brought in poets and novelists alongside the scholars and professors.

Capes says, “Many translations get the words right, but miss the poetry.”

You’ll hear a breathtaking example of Biblical poetry in the first few minutes of this podcast. Dr. Ordway and Dr. Reynolds also address many other important questions with Dr. Capes about Bible translation and study.

  • Is it better to have one translation for a shared culture or many translations to get at the fullness of the original?
  • Should the Bible be read in public or in private?
  • Why don’t daily devotionals work for everyone?
  • Is it the church’s job to re-educate a post-literate culture?

Listen and then email us your thoughts at podcasts@hbu.edu.


Check out our previous conversation with Dr. Capes.

You may want to listen to Dr. Capes radio program, “A Show of Faith”, Sunday nights from 7-9pm Central on KNTH.


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

Featuring: Dr. Micah Mattix, Dr. Holly Ordway, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Our discussion with Dr. Micah Mattix last week did not feel complete. So we had him back for a second round of looking at beauty in literature.

Many evolutionists try to argue that poetry, love, and our sense of beauty are the remnants of something that once had survival value.

Dr. Mattix strongly disagrees, for if you explain love, haven’t you explained away the very phenomenon of love?

Are we the first generation in the history of humanity that does not do poetry for enjoyment?

Also in this podcast we attempt a reading and instant critical analysis of a contemporary poem. If you enjoy this kind of poetic project, let us know by emailing podcast@hbu.edu.


Look for Dr. Mattix’s article “Portrait of the Artist as a Caveman” in The New Atlantis.

The City Podcast: The Public Intellectual Christian

by Timothy Motte on April 9, 2013

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

Featuring: Dr. Micah Mattix, Dr. Holly Ordway, Cate MacDonald, and Dr. John Mark Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds says that Dr. Micah Mattix has earned the right to be called a public intellectual. Which is only one of the reasons we brought him as a guest to The City Podcast.

How should a Christian Academic engage with the public? How does one balance being accessible with being academically rigorous? Being properly evangelistic with being properly topical?

Dr. Mattix is also a poet and a critic.

This podcast includes a debate between Dr. Holly Ordway, who is a proponent of traditional poetic forms, and Dr. Mattix, who favors more modern poetic forms. You’ll also hear his answer to who the greatest living poet is.

Dr. Mattix is also the book editor for The City. You can read his review of A.E. Stallings’ latest collection of poetry in the Winter 2013 issue of The City.


To give feedback or suggest topics, email podcast@hbu.edu.

In Fall 2012 I start work at Houston Baptist University. My job description? Change the world.

Houston is the right place at the right time to do this work. Read John Mark Reynolds’ take on it. You may want to come to Houston too, and if you think that, take it seriously. It is a city that not only has great apologists, but also people who love literature and the arts. My fellow Hieropraxis contributor Andrew Lazo has already laid claim to the endeavor of starting the CS Lewis Society of Houston…he will not have any trouble getting that membership list filled!

In part 1 and part 2 of this piece, I talked about the first six of the Ten Pillars, the vision statement that guides Houston Baptist University. Here are the final four piece of the vision.

7. Bring Athens and Jerusalem together.

“A university is a cultural center and a place for invitation and engagement. Athens and Jerusalem can meet on a campus in the city of Houston.” Yes indeed!

Houston Baptist University is a place where the intellectual and cultural life, nourished and cultivated on campus, intersects with the life of the community. The campus is a space for engagement – and that is perfect for apologetics. St Paul preached on Mars Hill and quoted from the Greek literature of the day to help present the Gospel to the Athenians. Athens met Jerusalem, and the world was changed.

HBU has three museums: the Durham Bible Museum, the Museum of American Architecture and Domestic Arts, and the Museum of Southern History. The Morris Cultural Arts Center includes a recital hall and a theatre. HBU has made the space for engagement to happen.


8. Expand our commitment to the creative arts: visual, musical, and literary.

This is part of the vision of HBU:

“It has been said that the writer of songs influences a culture more than the politician exercising power. What is surely true is that our God is a creative God who brought a beautiful world into existence and filled it with people capable of appreciating beauty. Similarly, just as we believe human beings are made in God’s image, we believe He provided the ability to create artistically as a reflection of his creative glory. The Christian university, committed to the worship of the Creator God, and thus to both aesthetic appreciation and creation, must be involved in the arts.”

I am an academic and a Christian apologist… and by the grace and gift of God, also a poet. Could there be a better place for me than HBU? I think not.

9. Cultivate a strong global focus.

The Gospel is for all people, everywhere. One of the challenges of cultural apologetics is to find ways to share the good news of God in Christ, and remove obstacles to faith, in ways that make sense for people in their particular cultural contexts.

Study abroad and language learning are important parts of learning how to be a gracious, informed, productive citizen in the 21st century. I am excited to be part of an educational program that recognizes the necessity of both local community (in residential learning and community involvement) and global outreach.

10. Move to the next level as an institution.

And finally, I am excited about HBU because the university recognizes the importance of its role in our culture — and is stepping forward boldly to fill the need.

HBU has a brilliant vision that means educating with a ‘mere Christian’ vision to change the world for the cause of Christ:

“Christians of all stripes – evangelicals, other Protestants, and Catholics – must re-engage their historic commitments to the foundational importance of a university education that is marked by the distinctive convictions and values of historic Christianity. The church must again consider the university as part of its mission because the university is so closely tied to the future of the society.”

HBU is growing as an undergraduate university — moving steadily forward in increasing the size of incoming classes. It is also growing, very intentionally, as a graduate university, with new MA degrees such as the MA in Philosophy. More degrees are in development, including an MA in Apologetics.

The vision is clear:

“The foundation of all the efforts detailed here will be to produce graduates who have been challenged to think carefully and critically, to write and speak clearly and effectively, to demonstrate integrity in their daily lives, and to see their faith as being important both to their behavior and to their way of thinking.”

Great things are ahead… and I am astonished at the goodness of God that I get a chance to participate in them.

We are going to change the world.

And that is why I am going to Houston Baptist University.