Lee H. Butler, Jr.

Lee H. Butler, Jr. portait

Lee H. Butler, Jr.

Distinguished Service Professor of Theology & Psychology


Professor Butler is an Africana pastoral theologian. Africana pastoral theology is an emerging way of understanding the pastoral theology done by persons of African descent. The theoretical underpinnings of Africana pastoral theology, with deep roots in African cultures and the antebellum period of the Americas, can be traced to African conjure, divination, and variously coordinated healing practices. These Africana theories and practices have helped to sustain and support Black faith and life. Butler’s work focuses on honoring the cultural distinctiveness and the indigenous traditions of African descended peoples throughout the Americas. He explores identity formation, African indigenous religions, American slavocracy, religiosity and spirituality, Black and Womanist theologies, psychological historiography, health and healing. His current research projects focus on terror and trauma in America to develop healing rituals that will restore communities to a celebration of life.

“The formation of America was so radically influenced by violence that today most Americans accept violence and terror as our way of life. Pastoral theology, as the work of healing and justice, seeks to transform a world that violates and terrifies into a place where peace and love reign supreme. As a pastoral theological educator, I strive to help each seminarian to reconcile the pain of their personal journey in order to support the development of a healthy ministerial identity which will allow for a ministry that addresses the whole person. I am committed, with every resource available to me, to helping spiritual caregivers celebrate every joy and confront every trauma experienced by human beings.”


  • BA, Bucknell University, 1981
  • MDiv, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1986
  • ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary, 1988
  • MPhil, PhD, Drew University, 1992, 1994

Sample Courses:

  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • African American Religion, Theology & Spirituality
  • Psychology of The Oppressed & Liberation Theologies