Chris Yaw

I am a Christ Lover

Chris Yaw

I know, I'm kind of messy - but here goes... I’m an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Metro Detroit... With a passion for gun safety... A zest for online Christian formation... A zeal for video blogging... A constant writer... A heart for those who have unintentionally harmed... A commitment to workforce housing... A love for marrying people... And an amazing wife, three kiddos and a cat named Sparrow... If you have interests in any of these areas I'd love to connect with you.

Me

Contact Details


  • St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan, 48076, USA


  • +011 248-557-5430


  • chris@stdavidssf.org

St. David's

I have served as rector of St. David's Episcopal Church in Southfield, MI for 16 years, join us Sundays in person or via zoom.

Trinity Gun Disposal

Working on the issue of unwanted gun disposal, we've made some real progress in helping rid the U.S. of unwanted firearms.

ChurchNext

Since 2013 we have been helping people learn more about faith through our online learning courses at ChurchNext.

Oakland Housing

Helping middle income families get better housing is a challenge that Oakland Housing has been addressing for 75 years.

Hyacinth Fellowship

Because hurting others hurts us, the Hyacinth Fellowship organizes support groups and reminds us that we are not our worst mistakes.

Yaw Wedding

I have been officiating weddings for more than 20 years and continue to find joy in helping couples build lifelong relationships.

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U.S. Guns Produced Today
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Americans Accidentally Killed Today
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Weddings Performed
  • Bird Poop


    So you finally found your dream home site! 

    You imagine sitting in the living room looking through that plate glass window at the snow-capped mountains and pristine lake below, so you call a builder who makes it happen! 

    And the first day you move in, you wake up, brew a cup of coffee, sit down in your favorite chair and look out at that lake when it happens, 

    A bird flies by and poops in the middle of your window! 

    You get up and clean it off, then the same thing happens the next day, and the next, and before you know it, you're no longer paying attention to the view, but the poop. 

    Since when has cleaning the poop become our most important job? Instead of paying attention to the view - that pristine view, the reason you built the house in the first place. 

    This Sunday, as we begin the season after Pentecost, the long green season that will take us all the way up through Advent, we run headlong into a group  religious leaders that will oppose Jesus at every turn. While they serve God and purport to know God, they fall short when they put tradition and career ahead of revelation.

    Yes, Jesus is here to reveal many things, one of the most important is for you and I to stay open to change.

    Don't let the insignificant and unimportant keep you from embracing the big picture! Shrug it off, don't pay it no mind, the main thing is keeping the main thing, the main thing!

  • Eating Fast

     


    When I was a teenager I ate so quickly.

    And 20 minutes later, like clockwork, I could feel it! Yes, we all know it takes about 20 minutes for us to begin feeling satiated after a meal, but time and time again I didn't pay attention to that.

    It took experience, getting older, for it to finally sink in.

    This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost. 
    For Jesus' followers, this was the time when it finally sunk in.

    They had heard him preach for years, seen him heal, feed, and stand up for righteousness.

    They had seen him die, rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven.

    This was over a period of years.

    And when they finally got it, on this iconic Jewish holiday called Pentecost we see God show up, empowering them like never before, to go out and do the works that they had witnessed.

    We ask ourselves how long will it take us to get it?

    Has our Pentecost come?
    How are we commemorating it?
    Or are we still waiting for it? For time and experience to sink in?

    I bet there is a lesson, a reminder, a red flag even, in your life that you have been putting off, denying, and not allowing to sink in;
    Like eating too quickly
    Pentecost invites you to look at this, look for this, for your good, and the good of others.
  • Rising and Arising

     


    (Thursday and again on Sunday we celebrate Ascension Day! We commemorate Jesus' last day on earth, and the first day of our sacred assignment: to continue the work he began. What does that mean to you?)

    After he rose, he arose!

    Jesus stuck around for forty days, basking in the miracle of new life following his resurrection before he did something just as magical: standing before his disciples 40 days after his return from the grave, he was lifted up and ascended on high into heaven.

    But before he did this, he promised the disciples that power would come their way, in 10 days time, the Holy Spirit of ambition, assertiveness, adventure, and imagination would come upon them, convincing them that love is the answer,

    And giving them boldness to go do more of what Jesus did, heal the sick, encourage the downtrodden;

    And teach a new way of living, not based in revenge and selfishness, but love, sharing, and selflessness.

    Ascension Day is about the handing over of God's work from the teacher, to the students.

    We do well to imitate that teacher, to look toward Jesus as the source of our power and inspiration;

    To embody his vision of a whole world that respects, assists, and loves one another, eschewing the temptations to hoard, dominate, and embrace a small, myopic view of life.

    Let us also rise and arise to the challenge before us, to worship, obey, and imitate our ascended Lord.
  • You Just Got a Promotion!

     


    You just got a promotion - will you take it?

    That's right, Jesus whom we call Lord, has actually asked us to call him "friend!"

    It's a subtle change in how the Lord considers you and me - no longer as servants, but as friends (John 15 in this Sunday's gospel).

    What does this mean to be a friend? Well, it asks us to up our game. 

    Friends share equal status and responsibility for making the relationship work and making the work go forward. Moving out of the servant's quarters, and into a corner office means we not only enjoy a better salary, benefits, and snazzy title, but we also have responsibilities and the duties that the servant never had.

    Our promotion allows us to grow up, to live into our potential, and to be the driving force of positive change in the world God created us to be. I think this Sunday's gospel asks us to contemplate what kind of relationship we want with Jesus - and that he has made it clear that he wants to partner with us - doing the difficult but needful work of self-sacrifice, reconciliation, healing, and love.

    Let us take a moment and contemplate this blessed promotion and do our part to be a good friend.
  • Love Is Ready to Die Not Kill

     


    A politician recently told a crowd to put on the armor of God - and to strap on a handgun.
     
    This is the perfect image of our ongoing American wrestling match - with a cross in one hand, and a gun in the other.
     
    But let's be clear: Jesus didn't advocate violence, 
    he called himself the Prince of Peace!

    He didn't retaliate against his persecutors,
    he forgave them.

    He didn't defend himself,
    but in Sunday's gospel, he says he laid down his life - a
    nd that we should too.
     
    Time and again, Jesus showed us love, and that love is ready to die, not kill.
     
    How are we being tempted by our evolutionary and cultural programming to fight and harm instead of following the Jesus Way of forgiveness and peace?

  • Forgiveness and Failure

     

    What will be the good news to those grandparents in Newaygo who, last week, left an unlocked and loaded weapon within reach of a toddler, resulting in the child's death?

    The legal system, their neighbors, their family will understandably condemn, judge, and vilify this couple who are already punishing themselves, more than likely, much more harshly than anyone else.

    Two weeks after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and declared his mission: 'that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed.'

    There is a place for judgment, it needs to happen.
    But we often go overboard - and make our sins our identity: we did something bad, hence we are bad.

    The Risen Christ won't have it.
    Of course those grandparents did a bad thing.
    But does that make them bad people?

    The Resurrection helps us separate bad deeds from good people.
    It puts into perspective our divinity and humanity.

    Don't let judgment overshadow forgiveness.
  • Spy Wednesday



    Putting stuff before people, we do it all the time!


    And not just money and possessions, but political opinions, ethnic pride, and financial status. It can divide us, and keeps us from connecting like we should, with the people we should, to follow the example we should!

    Spy Wednesday, Holy Week's Hump Day, points to Judas and you and me and the ways we make regretful decisions that sacrifice relationships, which are the greatest well of happiness humans have!

    Holy Wednesday invites you and me to take the high road, like Jesus, and to let God get mad, let God get even. Amidst that betrayal, Jesus still loved Judas, he put the relationship above all else, because when we love our neighbor, especially our enemy, we love God. 

    How will we love our enemies today, like Jesus?

  • Life After Church

     

    Our best life often comes after a lot of little deaths...

    When we have found a way to put to death our selfishness, gluttony, laziness, apathy, lack of belief in ourselves, we often discover what remains:

    It's who we are at our essence, the God-breathed image of God, alive to peace, joy, harmony, courage, and hope.

    Yet for these to emerge, we must actively put to death their opponents.

    When Jesus talked about a seed falling to the ground, to its death, in order for abundant new life to emerge, we can take this as a challenge to confront the negative forces that keep us down, knowing that when these are vanquished, newness and new life emerge!

    What does this look like for you?

    Don't be afraid of death! In the midst, is your new life!
  • Turning Over Tables

     

    What makes you mad?

    For Jesus, it was injustice - seeing hypocrisy, greed, and selfishness playing out - as religious people built walls of separation between God and God's people - denying them of what we all yearn for - wholeness, abundance, peace, and connection with their creator.

    Did you notice that Jesus didn't sit around.
    He staged a dramatic protest.
    He made it known that he was not going to stand by idly in the face of injustice.

    And in so doing, he teaches you and me how to channel our own voices of protest.

    You and I were not created to sit idly by as our hearts get similarly pierced by the injustices all around us!

    What's making your blood boil?
    What's got your Godly anger piqued?
    Did God give you that emotion so you could suppress it?

    No!
    To carry on Jesus work means to engage in our own dramatic protest - we see injustice around us!
    Where do you see it?

    As God led Jesus to champion the rights of the oppressed, how are we being similarly led?
  •  


    Are you believing God today?

    The patriarch of the major Abrahamic faiths, Abraham, was famous for doing that, for having faith.

    But not just any faith, a belief that was honed over years of success, like having a child at an old age, but also through missteps, like denying his marriage and taking sleeping with the maid.

    But while Abraham certainly shows us faithfulness, much more he shows us God's faithfulness! - how God continued to believe in Abraham - despite the cringe-worthy mistakes!

    That same God believes in you - despite the mistakes and mishaps you have made, you and I are challenged to believe in the journey! To believe that as we, too, hone or beliefs in God, God is doing wonders through us as well.

    So forgive yourself, look to God for strength, your own faithfulness comes from God's faithfulness!

    See you Sunday!
  • Protestor Jesus

     


    It's one of the clearest statements in the Bible, the prophet Micah asks, 'What does the Lord require of you? But to do justice...'


    Maybe you wonder why the richest society ever, allows one in 8 people to live in poverty; Why the top 1% richest people pay a lower percentage of their wealth in taxes than the rest of us; or why women still make less than 80 cents in the dollar compared to men?

    God did not make you feel uncomfortable, to annoy you, but to inspire you!

    Don't ignore the inequalities that bother you! But dig down and see why they are there! Find a way to constructively channel your emotions.

    This Sunday we will hear about the start of Jesus' ministry - in which he rooted himself in prayer then said, 'Let's go...'

    Let's go! is still our rallying cry. There are all kinds of groups working for all kinds of crucial societal change, that need our attention! Fight the temptation to disengage and ignore, and rationalize.

    You were put here to make positive change in the world.

    Of course, God's call is usually messy, uncomfortable, inconvenient, costly, maybe even dangerous.

    But this is why you are so smart,
    This is why you are so rich,
    This is why you have the relationships you do
    What does s the Lord require of you? To do justice.

  • How We Make Idols...

     

    Conversations over politics ever separated you from anybody?

    Happens too often, doesn't it? And among religious people, who may be forgetting how Christ came to unite the world in love, not divide it in fear.

    We love when we seek common ground, living into our ministry of reconciliation, 2 cor 5.
    We divide when we amplify difference.

    Winning arguments, then,  having it our way, insisting on not compromising is an idol when we choose being right over being in relationship!

    'Im not talking with that person, they voted this way!' is not an option.

    The Apostle Paul got it.
    This weekend we'll hear him say, if my eating meat offends my neighbor I'll skip the meat and keep the neighbor.

    Following Jesus means putting others first not just when we agree, but especially when we disagree.

    Look for common ground.
    Seek compromise.
    Putting others first, as Christ did with us, is the essence of the gospel, let us go out and do likewise. 
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    ADDRESS

    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA

    EMAIL

    chris@stdavidssf.org

    TELEPHONE

    +011 248-557-5430