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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Homeless Americans
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Weddings Performed
  • Set Free

    Set Free


    Think for a moment about one thing you do that you really wish you didn’t do.

    Is it something you buy, consume, watch or say that you really wish you could stop buying, consuming, watching or saying?

    Now think about what it would be like to never do it again - to be free from your worst habit, pattern or tendency - to be released and liberated to be your very best self.

    I like to think that this must have been close to what was going on in Sunday’s gospel passage from St. Mark, which tells the story of a demon-possessed man whom Jesus set free. We don’t know who he was or what had afflicted him, but we do know that Mark places this episode at the beginning of his book - as the very first miracle of Jesus’ ministry. And this was probably not an accident.

    As you and I know, the Bible tells us many healing stories about Jesus – 16 to be exact. These were people who suffered from a range of maladies from blood loss to death, yet it was this incident, the casting out of a demon that grabs Mark’s attention.

    I like to think that it’s the reality and metaphor of Christ’s role as one who came to set all of humanity free that so captured his attention - and should ours as well. Think hard again on this question: what one thing do you do that you really wish you didn’t do? Have you trusted Christ to set you free from this? Can you try it this week?
  • Meet Me In The Middle

    Meet Me In The Middle


    It's been said that the problem with Christianity is that the pious are too liberal and the liberal are too pious. At this historic hour, when our nation and many of its monolithic institutions are questioning ‘the way things have always been,’ and pondering the notions of renewal and reimagination, what better time for Christians to reconsider our own notions of compromise and conciliation as formidable guideposts to the rejuvenation of our own faith.

    After all, one of Jesus’ most dramatic prayers, shortly before his death, was that all who follow him ‘may be one’ (John 17). And the only way for this to happen is for compromise of some sort to float a ribbon to wrap around us all. Someone once told me there were some 50,000 registered Christian denominations in the U.S., a testimony to not only our diversity but our failure at coexistence.

    What this might mean to the pious is a new breath of openness. The Book of Hebrews describes God as ‘a consuming fire’ which, if we remember the last time we gazed into a fireplace, awakens visions of ever-changing bursts of flame leaping up the chimney. Like snowflakes, each flame, each movement, each spark-blast is different. Might God be doing something new with our pious understandings of the environment, human sexuality, human and civil rights? Might God be using women and those of same gender attraction in new and renewed ways? How open are we to reimagining our preconceived notions?

    Liberals might move toward the middle by re-examining the spiritual disciplines of our tradition. The age-old devotions of daily prayer, fasting, alms-giving and study continue to form mature Christians. And the plain fact of the matter is that if America (where 85% of us self-identify as ‘Christians’) were to move even one small step in this direction we would see social issues like domestic violence, poverty, obesity and even Bible literacy (one in ten Americans believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife – I’m not making this up) greatly lessen in concern.

    How might we take the our nation’s and new president’s call to change, renewal and solidarity to task in our lives? How might we meet one another in the middle?
  • Hold that Flight!

    Hold that Flight!


    It’s that bustling, shifting pulse of humanity every one of us have witnessed at our local airports as we enter the terminal headed to our gates. Kids in strollers, businessmen on missions, ipod-ed teens in la-la land, and you and I trying to make our way through it all.

    What breaks the dull roar of a thousand echo-y conversations is the overhead P.A., “Flight 53 to New York is now boarding,” “Flight 2112 from Albany is now arriving,” and “Flight 987 to Atlanta has been delayed.” And when you and I stand back and watch, we see something rather remarkable.

    We notice a marketing executive cut short her cell phone conversation and head left, she’s obviously on the New York flight. We see the young husband and his two kids pick up the pace toward the Albany flight where Mom is preparing kisses and hugs for her loved ones after a week away. And we see a retired couple ease up on their pace and head into McDonald’s – they were probably headed to Atlanta.

    And here’s the rub - everybody hears the overhead announcements but only a few people hear the overhead announcements.

    I like to think that this is what was going on when Jesus walked along the Sea of Galilee and called those first four disciples. Surely everyone heard it - co-workers and relatives - but only four people heard it.

    Some people, when they find out I’m a priest, respond with a respectful, almost worshipful, envy – as if the ways I spend my days are more holy or hallowed than the way they spend theirs – as if priests have a call and everyone else has a job. But truth be told, every Christian simply responds to the voice they’ve heard. One is no better than the other. Each one is needed for Jesus' work to be done.

    So how has Christ called you?
  • Kid Rock BC

    Kid Rock BC



    Think of him as the Kid Rock of the New Testament.
    Nathanael.
    He's that swaggering, self-assured loner we hear about in Sunday's gospel. We don’t know much about him because this is one of only two times he’s mentioned in the entire Bible.

    Nathanael comes to our attention thanks to an over-anxious neophyte called Philip who plays the role of Art Carney to Nathanael’s Jackie Gleason. Phillip is excited and bubbly, and somewhat badgering and overanxious, to get Nathanael hooked up with the one, “whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote about.” Nathanael gives a listen, but not much else. And when he hears that the Messiah is from Nazareth he gives the cocky, Kid Rock retort: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” - which is the modern day equivalent of saying: “Can anything good come out of Cleveland?”

    For someone as cocky as Nathanael, this was a disconnect. He’s a Renaissance Man, a gentleman of the world - so the revelation of the Messiah could only come from a place with a prestigious provenance. Give me Rome, Alexandria, or at least Jerusalem-but Cleveland?

    It’s a wonder Nathanael’s interest didn’t wane right there. But, for some reason, he followed the giddy and giggly Philip. And when Nathanael came within earshot of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah spoke first.

    “Ah Nathanael! - said Jesus - “Here comes the icon of all Israel! Radiating honesty and righteousness!” And Nathanael, far above the compliments of anyone especially strangers claiming to be the Messiah, goes into Kid Rock mode once again: “Ya, sure, and how would you know?” We imagine Nathanael uttering these words as he was buffing his fingernails or checking his Blackberry. But Jesus is unphased and unfluttered as he settles in for the kill.

    And the ‘kill,’ mind you, is a term we borrow from our friends in sales to describe that moment in time when we are about to hear nothing more than a single sentence uttered. Nothing more than a few seconds of time will go by and a lifetime of habit, custom and convention, at the drop of a sentence of such weight and profundity, will cause attitudes to change, behaviors to amend and an internal earthquake, a seismic shift in personality and priority, to happen. The old Nathanael is about to die. He's about to be killed! Yes, it is even faster than a kill- and its results just as devastating as Jesus utters the disabling sentence: “I saw you under the fig tree.”

    Jesus knew Nathanael's secret.
    What was under the tree was only known by Nathanael and God.
    Jesus knew Nathanael's secrets.
    Jesus knows our secrets.
    Our secret ambitions, our secret lusts, our secret fears and our secret joys. Jesus knows them all.

    If this could get Kid Rock converted, how about us?
  • Prayer at Work... or Not

    Prayer at Work... or Not


    Prayer.

    It’s what we wish we did at the start of every day, but too often becomes an activity of last resort. Think of the popular phrases like a ‘Hail Mary’ football pass, ‘we haven’t got a prayer,’ and ‘when all else fails, pray.’

    Assessing our current economic situation has many of us in this position of 'last resort.' What this does is present an opportunity to ponder the importance of prayer. The Church of England recently released two prayers to help us do this.

    The first is for those who have been laid off. The second is for those who continue to work in jobs where others have been laid off.

    Prayer for the Unemployed
    Thank you, Heavenly Father, that in the middle of 
the sadness,
the anger,
the uncertainty,
the pain, I can talk to you.
    Hear me as I cry out in confusion,
help me to think clearly,
and calm my soul.
    As life carries on, 
may I know your presence with me
each and every day.
    And as I look to the future,help me to look for fresh opportunities, for new directions.
Guide me by your Spirit,
and show me your path, through Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

    Prayer for those remaining in the workplace
    Life has changed:
colleagues have gone – laid off, out of work.

    Suddenly, what seemed so secure is now so very fragile.
    It's hard to know what I feel:
 sadness, certainly,
 guilt, almost, at still having a job to go to,
 and fear of the future:
 who will be next?
 how will I cope with the increased pressure of work?
    Lord Jesus, in the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going:
 to work to the best of my ability,
 taking each day at a time,
 and taking time each day to walk with you, for you are the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

    In what ways might you use these prayers?
    Can you copy them down and use them again?
    Who can you pass them along to?


    Resources:
    Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey
    Living Faithfully: As A Prayer Book People by John H. Westerhoff
    A User's Guide to the Book of Common Prayer: Morning And Evening Prayer (User's Guide to the Book of Common Prayer: Morning and Evening) by Christopher L. Webber
  • True Confessions

    True Confessions


    Several years ago a New York City artist, who went by the name Mr. Apology began The Apology Line – perhaps you’ve heard of it.
    It was a phone line hooked up to a tape recorder-
    The number was advertised all over town with posters that read:

    “Attention Amateurs, Professionals, Criminals, Blue collar, White collar-
    “You have wronged people - it is to people that you must apologize, not to the State, not to God. Get your misdeeds off your chest, Call Apology 212-255-2748
    “… Apology will automatically tape-record your anonymous call. Do not identify yourself and call from a pay phone to prevent tracing. Describe in detail what you have done and how you feel about it.
    “When enough statements have been collected they will be played to the public at a time and place to be advertised.”

    Initially, confessions were brief, but over time, they got longer.
    A man called in who had given his wedding ring to a prostitute in Vietnam and for years had told his wife he had lost it.
    A woman, distraught over a friend’s confession of a violent act, called to get it off her chest.
    Another man called to shed feelings stirred by an erotic dream he had about his mother.
    There were even murder confessions.

    Mr. Apology figured about one third of the confessions were true, one third were false and one third were a mix between the two. Sometimes people asked him to call back. Sometimes Mr. Apology did.

    Designed to gather a handful of recordings for an art exhibit, Mr. Apology decided not to disconnect The Apology Line once he'd met his quota. He kept it open for 15 years, encouraged others to do the same thing, and even inspired a film (see below, warning explicit language).



    I often wonder if The Apology Line is today’s really cool update of the scene St. Mark describes when he tells us that ‘people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out ’ to repent and receive forgiveness from John the Baptist. Was this the venue people were looking for to air out their deepest, darkest secrets that a judgmental and unapproachable religious establishment was utterly incapable of doing? Did John, whose singular passion was not tied to food, clothing or even a home, possess the fervor and compassion that along might unburden people?

    You and I can't help but ask ourselves:
    What will it take for us to reveal our deepest, darkest transgressions?
    What are we waiting for to confess?
    Do we trust each other with our secrets?

    As we mark the event of Christ’s baptism, we face the reality that Jesus too went through John’s baptism - can we trust Christ to listen and forgive us?
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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