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
  • Turning Around

    Turning Around


    In the Hebrew Scriptures the prophet Nathan tells the philandering King David this extraordinary tale we all know so well as it has become enshrined in Western literature as the consummate ‘Gotcha’ story-
    The ending of ‘The Sting,’ the middle of ‘The Crying Game,’ have nothing on this 3,000 year old tale which eloquently and elegantly takes a turn -and stops the King in his tracks, laying his motives and actions as bare as Bathesheba’s shapely bum.

    “Can’t you see what we all see?” Nathan seems to be saying-
    What you are doing is so obviously wrong. It is sin and sin is a rebellion against God. But it is also a rebellion against us, the people you’ve been chosen to serve - and ultimately it is a rebellion against yourself.

    When you sin, Nathan seems to be pointing out, you are betraying your own self-hood by taking part in this sin that is original to the world. And it is this: the insistence on being what you are not, a desire for a life other than your own.

    The Shepherd boy, David, was chosen by God to fearlessly lead and unite the 12 tribes of Israel. Yet once he was anointed King, given the security code to the palace, the cars, bodyguards and expense accounts, he began to fancy himself not in the tradition of an obedient Abraham, hopeful Joseph, or faithful Jacob-
    But as Hugh Hefner-
    -making a mockery of his people and his reputation as he longed to live a life that was not his own.
    ‘Be our King!’ – was the strong and united call of Israel-
    God said no, then yes, all the while knowing it was a hard job to fill, and God did the best that could be done-
    However David decided he wanted to be somebody else.

    In what ways do we try to be somebody else?
    How do we use the resources we've been given toward selfish ends?
    How much energy and how many resources do we spend doing this?
    How might we more fully concentrate on who we are, who we're called to be and what we're called to do?

    Reading:
    Choice, Desire, and the Will of God - David Runcorn
    An Altar in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor
    Cheese - Max McCalman
  • Finding the Exit

    Finding the Exit


    King David had six children by six different wives before he spied his bathing beauty (...who was likely just as gorgeous and unsuspecting as Erin Andrews...). Of course, this doesn't include any other wives or concubines that we don't know about.
    Yet when he eyed that prize, David, like us, felt that familiar temptation to take what wasn't his and do something he knew he shouldn't do.

    So David goes from thinking about it to exploring the possibility. He sends emissaries. Not only does he learn her name, but that she's married. Hmmm... she belongs to someone else... in Hebrew culture, an even bigger problem... But it doesn't stop him. Nor does her pregnancy. Nor does her husband, who he swiftly eliminates. All of these were not just road blocks on David's path of folly. But these were also potential exits. They were bumps to shake him back to his senses. Unfortunately he ignores them. In fact, it seems like nothing is going to stop the King. He has reached warp speed on what has become a superhighway.

    As we all know, the pursuit of those things we know we shouldn't do or have can turn into a dark paths, that can become roads that can become destinies. Our follies naturally evolve into all-consuming pursuits that profoundly change us, whether we acknowledge it or not. Thankfully for David, the Lord sent a prophet named Nathan to point to the exit ramp, which always means slowing down, changing direction, and finally coming to a halt.

    Chances are we're taking a look at or traveling down some sort of dark path, road or superhighway. What are the exit ramps we're passing up? How many more speed bumps will we have to plow over? What's keeping us from taking the next exit?

    Reading...
    An Altar to the World - Barbara Brown Taylor (A 'MUST READ')
    Be Prepared-Greenberg & Hayden
    Me of Little Faith - Lewis Black
    www.chrisyaw.com
  • Overtaken by Love

    Overtaken by Love


    One of the themes in this Sunday’s Gospel, which details Jesus’ rock star popularity, is this overwhelming sense of love he had for pretty much everybody. Jesus has love written all over him. Jesus, filled with compassion, skips vacation, skips lunch, and all the while pines over the needs of others, ‘they look like sheep without a shepherd’ he laments – and instead of taking time for himself, he jumps back into the fray, thinking of nothing more than the pressing needs around him.

    This picture of Jesus’ life is an icon of other-centeredness – where the needs of others trump those of his own. Sure, Jesus recognized times of respite, and often sojourned alone –as we know, even our cars need maintenance. But the relentless ability Jesus had to constantly put others before him has marveled disciples of all ages. So here is my list of 7 Tips for Living an Other-Centered Life:

    1-Wake up with a sense of others. When we get up and thank God for a new day, include a list of specific people for whom we are also thankful. Name them. And don’t forget people we will meet in the day ahead.
    2-Make a ‘sick list.’ Keep it in your desk or in your head, but make a list of those whom you know are undergoing adversity. Find a way to review this list regularly, perhaps during your commute and for 2 minutes think about and pray for them, contemplating ways you may be able to help.
    3-Shop for others. Next time you go to the store, any store don’t just shop for yourself, shop for others. Put on your shopping list, ‘food for the hungry,’ ‘clothes for the homeless,’ and ‘kitchen appliances for the poor.’ It need not be large or expensive, but make it meaningful, it will help us live outside ourselves.
    4-Put others in the driver’s seat. Next time you take to the highway intentionally think of other drivers. As we know there is a certain anonymity to driving that can make us rude or discourteous. I was once driving in England with a friend when we were terribly cut off by a speeding driver. When I asked my friend why he didn’t so much as honk he replied, ‘Perhaps he is having a bad day.’ Try treating other drivers politely.
    5-Find a mentor. There are people in our lives who seem to glow with other-centeredness – those who seem to live to ask what is new in our lives and constantly surprise us with gifts, cards and other signs of care for us. Draw closer to these people, it may rub off.
    6-Make a Blessing List- Every once in a while we’re hear someone say, ‘I love that color/flavor/flower, etc.’ Or you may hear someone say ‘oh I really need one of those. Don’t’ let these comments slide by, but inconspicuously take note and do what you can to surprise that person at an unexpected moment.
    7-Immerse Yourself in the Love Story- Finding a way to connect with the Love Story that is Jesus’ story is the best way to grown in other-centeredness. Routine Bible study or devotional reading are great aids as are music and movies, find what works for you and go deeper. Love isn’t just a feeling, emotion or even a gift, it’s action, something we play a role in writing all over ourselves.


    Reading…
    An Altar in the World – Barbara Brown Taylor
    Traffic-Tom Vanderbilt
    The Four Hour Workweek- Tim Ferriss
  • Voices and Choices

    Voices and Choices


    "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

    This is a story about the decisions we make when we choose to listen to the voices around us, instead of our own, and we end up going in directions we don’t want to go. Yet we listen to them anyway, not knowing it may cost us our lives.

    There’s a tug of war going on in Herod’s household – his wife wants John dead, and Herod wants him alive. His wife sees John as an irritating boil on the underside of their marriage and wants him lanced. Herod sees him as a man of integrity who speaks God’s truth.

    The pressure’s on.
    Will Herod cave?
    The painting above tells us the answer.

    What happens to us when we cave?
    Three things. First, we allow others to define us. We surrender the ship to the sailors, relinquishing our appointed roles to those less qualified and much less invested in the good will of the enterprise. Second, we tear down our own self-image. We subtly give in to our deepest fears of self-worth, trading our confidence in ourselves for that of others, to our long-term detriment. And finally, when we choose to listen to the voices of others over our own we give up our ability to reach our full potential. We will never be complete. We can only ascend to the heights of a scale defined by someone else, not by us, not by God.

    Living Christian lives of integrity is a by-product of a deeper walk with Jesus.
    Growing in Christ means continually reminding ourselves of our place in the universe; we are God’s people, created for a reason, destined for duty, equipped with hearts made for hearing the Creator’s voice, so each one of us can play the unique role we’ve been given. And while our stage instructions frequently come from other people, we all play a balancing game between “Mother Knows Best” and our own inner conscience, which sometimes takes us someplace else.

    To what degree do we allow the voices and opinions of others to shape us? Do we understand the consequences of this? In what ways can we be more true to the voice within us?

    Reading…
    Walking the Bible – Bruce Feiler
    The Sins of Scripture – John Spong
    The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
  • The Church Exists By Mission as Fire Exists By Burning

    The Church Exists By Mission as Fire Exists By Burning


    The title of this week's entry is a quote from German theologian Emil Brunner and reminds us of this week's Gospel reading and the sending out of Jesus’ first converts.

    We hear about ‘conversion’ - a popular topic in the New Testament, and not just for the uninitiated. In fact the majority of conversion language used in the New Testament is aimed at followers of Jesus.
    Sure, we’re asked to ‘change’ when we agree to follow Christ-
    But it's as if we’re asked to change even more as we get to know Him.

    I remember a seminary professor saying that only 15% of conversions to Christianity are sudden, like Paul being struck from his horse, and 85% are gradual.

    They are like the disciples who slowly, but surely, figured out who Jesus was.
    Ever notice that the Bible does not record one instance of an Apostle being baptized?
    And, aside from Doubting Thomas, and his moment of Epiphany, we get the idea that Jesus became known to the disciples not all at once, but after repeated encounters.

    And that’s what happens to most of us.

    We come to trust in Christ gradually, sometimes very gradually-
    And it often happens in churches, where many of us have been attending for decades, and over a period of time, perhaps we can’t name the day or days, but we come to deeper and deeper places of following Jesus.

    And so we hear what happens to those who draw closer to that voice as Jesus, amidst his teaching tour, calls twelve people, impels these followers to do the one thing every Christian is charged to do:
    To go.
    Do something.
    Do something to change the world.

    Many of us forget about this essential, for it is so easy to do.
    In fact, most of us do!
    It's been said that 80% of America’s churches are not growing.
    The reasons are many and myriad-
    But we all know how easy it is to come and fellowship and worship and stay warm in this wonderful cocoon-
    -without realizing how essential our going forth in the name of Christ really is.

    But it is, for ‘The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning."
    Jesus sends them out, gives us abilities, to do the same work He does.
    What might that work look like for us this week?

    -----------------------
    Reading...
    Keeping the Baby Alive Till Your Wife Comes Home - Walter Roark
    Fireweed Evangelism - Elizabeth Geitz
    Transforming Disciples - Linda Grenz
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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