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Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America

SKU 9780827235403

by Michael W. Waters

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Foreword by Vashti Murphy McKenzie

2018 Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Award Winner

"Michael W. Waters... is both blunt and lyrical as he meditates on police violence, racism, hip-hop, and the power of faith." -Sojourners

Download the Stakes Is High Companion Guide

What happens when a people can take no more injustice rained down upon their sons and daughters? When each new travesty echoes the cries of ancestors killed for the color of their skin? How do a people rediscover hope? And how do they use that new-found hope as momentum and strength for change?

In his powerful new book Stakes Is High, pastor, activist, and community leader Michael W. Waters blends hip-hop lyricism and social justice leadership, creating an urgent voice demanding that America listen to the suffering if it hopes to redeem its soul. Weaving stories from centuries of persecution against the backdrop of today’s urban prophets on the radio and in the streets, Waters speaks on behalf of an awakened generation raging against racism – yet fueled by the promise of a just future. Through the pain and hard but holy work, you will hear the call to join the faithful struggle for racial justice.

EPUB and EPDF versions available through your preferred e-book reader (Kindle, Nook, Kobo).

Part of the FTE (Forum for Theological Exploration) Series


“In Stakes is High, there is nowhere to hide from the prophet’s call. The cover should contain a warning label: Reading this book will propel you to action.”―David Crumm, “Chalice Press knows “Stakes Is High’ for people of faith,”, 08/07/2017

“Through raw emotion and critical analysis, Stakes Is High grapples with the race matters plaguing America. Shifting us away from sound bites, Waters takes us on a journey that is deeply historical, theological, cultural, and personal. In the end, we are challenged to view the complexities of the black experience in ways that are both familiar and fresh.” ―Rahiel Tesfamariam, Founder/Publisher of Urban Cusp

“Rev. Dr. Michael Waters personifies the truthful image of a powerful, young, Black pastor/preacher/lecturer, raw cultural writer, boots on the ground, social justice advocate, and true lover of hip-hop music. His keen insight on the intersection of religion and the hip-hop culture is phenomenal. Stakes Is High is powerful and thought-provoking.” ―Sharon Risher, author, For Such a Time as This: Hope and Forgiveness after the Charleston Massacre

“Timely and important. Stakes Is High is the rare book that brings a keen theological eye to contemporary events. In the midst of what has been one of the most important movements for human dignity, Black Lives Matter, in recent decades, hearing the voice of emerging Christian leadership dedicated to both chronicling the moment and changing the world is vital!” ―Stephen G. Ray Jr., Fisher Professor of Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

“In Stakes Is High Dr. Waters shares some of his most thought-provoking writings on race relations in the United States. Part theology/part commentary this book has a wide reach and relevance from seminaries to academic classrooms to book clubs. Dr. Waters will challenge you, inspire you, and make you question your own thoughts about the state of the nation.” ―John Thomas III, Editor, The Christian Recorder and General Officer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

“I appreciate the way Waters challenges us to consider the question ‘How often must we drink from this bitter well? of racism in America.’ His use of historical narratives juxtaposed with contemporary illustrations gives the reader a sense of this long arc of injustice. Waters mixes the names of familiar and lesser known people who have found themselves on the underside of this arc, and challenges us to think critically and creatively about next steps toward liberty and justice for all.” ―Leah Gunning Francis, Christian Theological Seminary, author of Ferguson and Faith

“No one will remain unaffected as Michael Waters masterfully tells the stories of the struggle and gives powerful evidence for the hope that things are about to change.” ―Joerg Rieger, Vanderbilt University, co-author of Unified We Are a Force