The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV
Denomination: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF)
The Reverend Robert Wright Lee, IV (Rob) is an author, activist, public theologian, and preacher. His work has been covered by MTV, the View, The New Yorker, CNN, the New York Times, NPR, and countless others. That may sound like a mouthful, so Rob is often found just telling stories with friends in his hometown. Speaking of that, Lee is a native of Statesville, North Carolina and graduate of Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He received his Master of Theological Studies in May of 2017 with a focus in practical theology and homiletics His thesis was on the corpus work of Bishop Will Willimon. He was an endowed scholar while at Duke University. Lee completed his undergraduate work in Religious Studies and Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University where he met his wife, Stephanie. He is currently enrolled in doctoral work. Though he flies to New York, Boston, Chicago, and all kinds of other places—the red clay of the Piedmont of North Carolina is in his bones.
Rob believes preaching and writing are his native languages and expressions of the abundance of God. He has written extensively for both secular and religious news outlets. Rob's work has appeared in outlets such as NPR’s Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and multiple appearances on WUNC’s The State of Things. He has regularly appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and other national news outlets, and has a popular podcast, Beloved Journal. He has written for Ministry Matters, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Huffington Post, and the Common English Bible: Student Edition. He has preached from notable churches such as the Historic Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, the American Cathedral in Paris, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago, First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, and Harvard’s Memorial Church in Cambridge. He has given lectures at universities across this country such as The University of Chicago, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, The University of California at Davis, Arizona State University, the Festival of Homiletics, and St. Michael’s
College in Vermont.
Rob is a collateral descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and has been engaged as an activist in the field of racial reconciliation. He participated in the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards and was on ABC’s the View where he spoke about the need to confront white supremacy and white privilege in white churches. In July of 2020 he testified before the United States Congress on H.R. 970, a bill to remove a statue of his ancestor at the Antietam battlefield and on Capitol Hill. In January of 2021, Rev. Lee participated in the Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service for President Joe Biden and has regularly written devotionals for Dr. Jill Biden. Rob has written one book titled “Stained-Glass Millennials” (Smyth and Helwys 2017) his second book “A Sin by Any Other Name” was released in April of 2019 by Penguin Random House. “The Pulpit and the Paper” is Lee’s third book and was released in November 2020 by Smyth and Helwys. In 2022 he anticipates the release of his newest book, “Fostering Hope: A Prayerbook for Foster and Adoptive Families” due out by Smyth and Helwys.
Rob was baptized and raised United Methodist, at Broad Street United Methodist Church in his hometown—but he cherishes the wealth of traditions he’s been afforded to journey with. Lee still lives in his hometown of Statesville, North Carolina with his wife Stephanie, his poodle Frank, and his goldendoodle Maggie. His life has been forever enriched by his two adopted daughters, Athena and Phoenix. He's an avid autograph collector too.
Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV
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Rob Lee: Waiting on the World to Change
Tuesday May 16, 2023
Rob Lee says the Acts account of the Ascension reminds us--as the whole of scripture has told us--that we cannot escape destiny, but we can face it with courage because we know the Author of the story.
Rob Lee: The Night Shift and the Story of God
Tuesday January 18, 2022
The Rev. Rob Lee says the Hebrew Bible reminds us that we are people of a story. That story hasn't always made sense in the moment, but that is where God's story, intertwined with ours, becomes something drawn from the ashes of despair into the realm and reign of redemptive possibility.
Rob Lee: Nevertheless, She Persisted
Tuesday August 15, 2017
The Rev. Rob Lee says he likes to think that the woman in Matthew 15 is an exemplar for all women and men who seek justice and don’t always get the answer they want. We have every right to question God, he says, but we must be prepared for persistence.
Articles by The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV
Rob Lee: Dear Uncle John - Suicide and the Love of God
Wednesday June 13, 2018
Dear Uncle John, I lashed out the other day because of your life, because of my life, because of our shared experience surrounding suicide. I dropped the F-bomb to a guy who tried to say you and others who committed suicide were in hell. It came as a surprise to many on Twitter. The tweet now has some 219 thousand likes and I’ve found both critique and celebration in my language.
Rebert W. Lee IV: Christ the King: Where I Learn to Believe Again
Sunday November 26, 2017
My wife hates spoilers, that’s why she hasn’t allowed me to show her one of the better episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The final episode of the greatest television series of my life came to mind when I was geeking out with my friend Katelyn over the series. All Good Things Parts 1 and 2 try to capture the essence of the series that defined television science fiction in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Rob Lee: When Teaching Becomes an Education
Friday November 10, 2017
I’ve had the best time teaching public speaking at my alma mater this past semester. This is my first semester teaching and frankly the realities and complexities of my life have made it hard for me to keep my eyes on teaching the classes I was assigned. But nonetheless this all changed when two very different students did something liberating and radical in my class.
Rob Lee: 'Building a Bridge': An interview with Father James Martin
Monday October 23, 2017
He might be the most famous Catholic priest in the country. Father James Martin, SJ has sat down with me before and I consider him to be a light in this world. But this past year he, like me, has faced controversy. He wrote a book titled: 'Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.'
Rob Lee: Public Theology And Taylor Swift
Wednesday September 27, 2017
It’s confession time: I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I’m starting to identify with her more now that I’ve been thrust into the realm of public theology.
ON Scripture: Gathering to Resolve Hate (Matthew 18:15-20) By The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV
Tuesday September 05, 2017
When I picture what God looks like, I picture Bertha Hamilton. Mother Bertha as she is known at her church is on staff at the hospital where my mom works. Mrs. Bertha has worked with my mother for some 30 years and was my confirmation mentor. Mrs. Bertha is also a person of color and has deeply influenced the way I look at race and the cost of discipleship.
Video by The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV
Day1 Salon: Next Gen Preachers Roundtable
Wednesday February 10, 2021
Six up-and-coming preachers and church leaders gather to share their authentic and inspiring thoughts about where we are now and where we're heading as the church in this new day. Watch our Day1 Zoom Salon here!