The City Podcast: How Dante Saved Rod Dreher’s Life

by Timothy Motte on April 27, 2015

in the dark wood

Rod Dreher did not read fiction.

Yet when he found himself in the midst of a deep, dark depression, God overwhelmed him with beauty in the form of a long medieval poem called The Divine Comedy by a man named Dante.

The beauty that he found in that book bypassed his defenses and allowed him to really experience truths that he had known for years but which had never penetrated into his heart. And his depression lifted.

This is his story. May you find beauty in it.

Featuring: Rod Dreher, Gary Hartenburg, Holly Ordway, Cate MacDonald

The City Podcast. Smart. Sane. Spiritual.


Mentioned in this episode:

Amazon Affiliates Disclaimer: Purchases made at Amazon.com through links in this post benefit Houston Baptist University.

Email us at podcast@hbu.edu with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions.

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.