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Michael W. Waters
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The Reverend Dr. Michael W. Waters is the founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas. As pastor, preacher, professor, author, motivational speaker, and community organizer, Dr. Waters’ words of hope and empowerment have inspired national and international audiences.

Named among America's emergent leaders by EBONY Magazine, and highlighted by The Associated Press, Dr. Waters’ keen insights have been engaged upon such esteemed platforms as The NBC Nightly News, the British Broadcasting Corporation's Newshour, and National Public Radio. He is the author of FREESTYLE: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2014).

Entries by Michael W. Waters

Michael Brown and Our Great Opportunity

(31) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 11:02 AM

The days succeeding the tragic police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, have further affirmed or exposed several unfortunate realities present within our society today.

We live in a news media culture often shallow in depth and largely out of touch with reality -- so much...

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Convenience Stores and Convenient Narratives

(9) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 10:25 PM

Co-authored with James Howard Hill, Jr., a seminarian at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Contact at @j_hilljr.

Convenience stores hold an ominous place within the annals of African-American history.

On August 24, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicagoan visiting his...

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Black Life Is Expendable

(168) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 1:40 PM

Another day, another unarmed black man killed by police. We grieve their loss and pray God's strength for their families:

Eric Garner, 43, strangled to death on a Staten Island sidewalk.

John Crawford, 22, shot to death in a Beavercreek Walmart.

Michael Brown, 18, shot to death, reportedly with arms...

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Jesus was a Migrant Child

(9) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 3:24 PM

"You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." - Deuteronomy 10:19, NRSV

Recorded in each of the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there is a narrative of young children being brought to Jesus so that Jesus might bless them. Tension...

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For Mothers in Mourning: A Solemn Prayer

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 7:31 PM

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." - Matthew 5:4

I awoke one recent morning with an overwhelming sense of grief and anguish. My heart was unusually heavy, the cause for which I did not know. After some still moments, my mind soon returned to my...

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Christ, Coachella and a Call to Creative Cyphers: A Holy Week Contemplation

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 11:26 AM

Near the commencement of Outkast's hour-and-a-half long performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this past weekend, their first performance together as a group in a decade, a lone table occupied center stage. The lauded duo reciprocally encircled the table while simultaneously reciting their seminal lyrics. The table...

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So Many Tears: The Year in Black Pain

(48) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 8:31 AM

"Lord, I suffered through the years and shed so many tears."
- Tupac Shakur, "So Many Tears", Me Against the World (1995).

There are certain years, concretized within our collective memory, noted for the multiplicity of tragedies encountered over the duration of its days. These are years where the...

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Reflections on Coming of Age in the Age of 9/11

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 3:54 PM

Each generation faces tragedies that shape its members and forever transform their worldview.

For my grandparents' generation, these were the Great Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and America's entry into World War II. For my parents' generation, these tragedies were the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy,...

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They Reminisce Over You, My God: For Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole, and Denise

(3) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 11:41 AM

"Déjà vu, tell you what I'm gonna do, when they reminisce over you, my God." -- "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)," Pete Rock and CL Smooth, 1992

Fifty years ago, on Sept. 15, 1963, 10:22 a.m., a bomb ripped through the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Ala., moments...

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Toy Soldiers and America's Killing Fields

(13) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 7:28 PM

"Just last year Chicago had over 600 caskets/ Man killing's some wack s***/... Do you know what it feels like when people is passing?"

These are the heart-wrenching lyrics of Kanye West's "Everything I Am" from his 2007 studio album, Graduation. The Chicagoan's musings, now several years removed, retain...

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A Desired Eulogy: For Emmett, Virgil, Trayvon, and Jordan

(110) Comments | Posted July 14, 2013 | 9:46 AM

Fifty years ago, on Wednesday, September 18, 1963, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arose to speak from the pulpit of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Near the altar before him rested three small caskets containing the mutilated bodies of three young girls, Addie Mae Collins...

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Jay-Z and the Misappropriation of Fatherhood

(37) Comments | Posted July 7, 2013 | 12:39 PM

On, July 4, 2013, cultural iconoclast Jay-Z released his highly anticipated 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. Once again pushing past music business boundaries, Jay-Z sold a million copies of the album before its official release. An exclusive deal with Samsung handsomely paid the rapper $25 million dollars and...

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To Medgar, With Gratitude

(4) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 6:19 PM

Fifty years ago, early on the morning of June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers, 37, arrived home, exhausted, not just from another day of activism, but under the weight of the Movement and threats against his life. Engulfed by utter exhaustion, Medgar broke his own cardinal rule. Instead of sliding out...

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With Deepest Regret: A Letter to the Ancestors

(19) Comments | Posted January 1, 2013 | 8:14 AM

This letter is part of our "Letters to Our Ancestors" project. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we've asked members of our community to share their own letters to our forefathers. With these letters, we hope to look back on the progress our community has made...

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My First Time: A Love Story

(3) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 4:47 PM

I will never forget my first time. It was the day that I became a man.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a bright and sunny day, reminiscent of the early days of spring. It was actually late fall in Houston, November, to be exact. I...

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A Different World: The Post-Millennial Perils of Black Family T.V. Programming

(7) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 12:20 PM

Growing up as a child in the mid-1980's, my friends and I practically lived outside!

We played football, I most commonly with the distinction of being "all-time quarterback" while guiding both teams on historic drives up and down our street. We raced our bikes downhill only to ascend the hill...

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George Zimmerman and God-Sponsored Racism

(552) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 11:37 AM

On Wednesday, July 18th, George Zimmerman, presently awaiting trial for the murder of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, introduced a strange, yet not altogether foreign theological argument in justification of his actions in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.

Zimmerman theologized...

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A Banner Called Free: Lessons of Faith, Hope and Beloved Community at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison

(4) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 10:56 AM

A maximum security prison is an unlikely destination when seeking a transformative encounter with God. Yet, I recently experienced God as never before amid high fences, barbed wire, legions of guards and multiple checkpoints, while in the company of extraordinary men and women.

Last week, I attended the Fund...

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Stay Schemien': P. Diddy, Justin Combs, and the Media's Curious Portrayal of Black Achievement

(406) Comments | Posted June 3, 2012 | 9:59 AM

Two years ago, in celebration of his son Justin Dior Combs' sixteenth birthday, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs purchased for him a $360,000 silver Maybach. The media promptly attacked Mr. Combs for his benevolence towards his child. Mr. Combs was accused of setting a poor example for Justin by giving him...

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The Liturgy Of Trayvon Martin: Skittles, Iced Tea And A Hoodie

(13) Comments | Posted March 23, 2012 | 12:18 PM

Symbols have long been important for religious and spiritual reflection. These symbols have been employed to provide greater understanding to transcendent truths, to provide comfort amid chaos, and to inspire the faithful to put their faith to action towards the common good. Many times, these symbols have emerged from rather...

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