Princeton, NJ, March 29, 2012–Robert C. Dykstra will give his inaugural lecture as Princeton Theological Seminary’s Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology on Saturday, April 14 at 9:00 a.m. in Stuart Hall, Room 6 on the Seminary campus. It is being held in conjunction with the Association for Practical Theology biennial conference, whose annual meeting is that weekend.

dykstraThe lecture is titled “Unrepressing the Kingdom: Pastoral Theology as Aesthetic Imagination” and envisions theology as an urgent reclaiming of intuitions of the beautiful often lost to childhood. How might adults recover childlike attunement to the wonders of God’s kingdom? “If the kingdom of God is within us, and especially within children, as Jesus claimed,” Dykstra says, “that kingdom within us may be in the form of a child’s interest in the beautiful around him or her, and in the artistic abandon which children tend to exhibit and that adults tend to lose track of.”

Dykstra joined the Princeton faculty in 1997 as assistant professor of pastoral theology. He was promoted to associate professor in 2000, to professor in 2007, and assigned the Newcombe chair in 2009. He earned his Ph.D. and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his B.A. from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Before coming to Princeton he taught at The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary as assistant and then associate professor of pastoral theology and congregational care. Dykstra’s academic interests include pastoral care and counseling, psychoanalytic theory, developmental psychology, contemporary issues impacting children and adolescents, human sexuality, pastoral preaching, and the integration of biblical and theological precepts with research in the human sciences.

A native of Minnesota, Dykstra is a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an ordained Presbyterian minister. He served for a number of years as a minister, youth minister, hospital chaplain, and pastoral counselor. His publications include Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys, with Allan Hugh Cole Jr. and Donald Capps (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007), Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings (Chalice Press, 2005), Discovering a Sermon: Personal Pastoral Preaching (Chalice Press, 2001), and Counseling Troubled Youth (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997). A forthcoming book, The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys, also co-authored with Cole and Capps, will be published in 2012 by Westminster John Knox Press.

Charlotte W. Newcombe nee Wilson, a philanthropist, was born in 1890 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A lifelong supporter of students pursuing degrees in higher education, Newcombe was a faithful Presbyterian who made substantial gifts to Princeton Seminary and established The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation to continue her scholarship gifts.

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Celebrating its Bicentennial in 2012, Princeton is the largest Presbyterian seminary in the country, with more than 500 students in six graduate degree programs.