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
  • All Saints' Rising

    All Saints' Rising


    We all knew she was going to die.
    It was Grandma, for Pete’s sake.
    She was well into her 80’s, her health was not good, and she’d begun to get snappy these past few years. She was angry, uncomfortable, and had told us more than once that she wanted nothing more than to see her husband, her parents and her Savior.
    Yet we did not want her to go.

    For a week she hung on, after her sudden collapse on the bedroom floor.
    She had a single room at St. Joe’s.
    We took turns visiting.
    She slept mostly, moved a bit, but we couldn’t be sure if it was she or the medicine doing it.

    She was no Lazarus, struck down in the prime of life, to the awe and surprise of family and friends. But we were Mary and Martha asking similar questions - saddened, mourning, crying. Why did grandma have to go now? I know others, alert and vibrant, who live, work even drive well into their 90s, why couldn’t grandma be one of them? There were great grandchildren to meet, stories to tell, advice to give and holidays to round out. What would it be like not to have that familiar presence – that voice, that laugh, that touch – that had been with us ever since any of us could remember?

    We came to the Master’s feet with our Lazarus-tomb questions: ‘Why her?’ ‘Why now?’ ‘Only if!’ And we imagined the myriad of alternative scenarios.

    Oh yes, the Master did finally come. Jesus had heard us. God knew how out of sorts we were. And He showed up on the scene. But in the end, He was too late. Grandma died. And Jesus joined us. He stood there in room 717 and wept right along with the rest of us. We were not the only ones grieving.

    It is a pain relived at this time every year as we lift up this memory, and countless others - of all the souls and all the saints who have touched our lives, who indeed are here, but here no more. The miracle we look for is not that of a man wrapped in burial cloths arising like some haunted house mummy, rather it is one that carries every bit as much meaning as did the miracle witnessed by Mary and Martha. For we are assured, by the testimony of Scripture, the promises of our fore bearers, and the strange warming of our hearts that this life is not all there is. Our miracle is the promise and reality of new life.

    All Saints’ Day reminds us of this. It tells us that a thin veil is all that separates those who live on this side of eternity or the other. And the miracle of Lazarus raised reminds us that we will all be raised. We will reunite with loved ones one day. Death has been overcome. God has that kind of power.

    In what ways can we remind ourselves of God’s eternal plans for us?
    How can we better convince ourselves that God is in control of our destiny?
    What things can we let go of, knowing that God, ultimately is in charge?


    Reading
    Mixed Blessings – Barbara Brown Taylor
    A People’s History of Christianity – Diana Butler Bass
    World Without End – Ken Follett
  • Despite Bartimeaus

    Despite Bartimeaus



    Don’t we all wish it was just that easy…

    “Hey Jesus, it’s me, ya the blind one… or the poor one… or the one without a job… or the one with the goofy nose.” (You can fill in the blank however you’d like.)
    “And I have faith and I want healing, food, employment, plastic surgery.” (Again, fill in the blank.)
    “Go ahead, wave that magic wand!” we say, “We heard you did it for blind Bartimaeus in Jericho, It was so simple for you. All he did was call your name, tell you what he wanted and bingo! So have at it, do your stuff! I’m waiting!...”

    And wait we do.
    In the doctor’s office, the bread line, the unemployment line…
    Drumming our fingers, furrowing our brows, taking another hit of Maalox…
    Sure we pray… till we’re blue in the face… in a lot of different ways… in special places… to special people.
    Visit the Pentecostal Revival tent. Bury a statue of St. Joseph in the yard.
    And when we don’t get what Bartimeaus got we react in a number of different ways.

    Some of us get angry. We no longer talk to God. We boycott church, refuse to pray, anything to get back at that capricious charlatan who obviously doesn’t think I’m worth listening to. Sure, our anger doesn’t help matters, but it makes us feel better.

    Some of us give up on God. We consider our experiences proof that there is no God. So we focus more on logic, reason and rationale, all the while ignoring the mysterious parts of our souls that opened our eyes to faith in the first place. We shun the Spirit’s tugs and tingles. Sunsets become ‘geological phenomenon.’ All is dismissed as fairy tale, innuendo, and the leftovers of a work-in-process evolutionary progression.

    This story of ecstatic healing becomes a tale of cold betrayal.
    The intimate becomes distant.
    Joy becomes pain.

    Some of us have been told we need faith like Bartimeaus.
    But most of us need faith despite Bartimeaus.

    For at the very moment of heightened doubt, when we are convinced God has done nothing and once again left us out in the cold, let us remind ourselves that God, indeed, has done something. God has come among us. God has become one of us. And God has not simply come down to our level - God has gone lower. From the peaks of heaven to the pit of hell, Jesus came to endure for us what we would never want for our worst enemy. No, we never, ever suffer alone. There is no place on earth where you and I must look up to Jesus, for He is always right next to us.

    And lest we think we are alone in our suffering, desperation and abandonment, let us remember that whatever’s happened to us has also been experienced by God in the flesh. No matter how bad things are, how angry, depressed or forgotten we feel, God knows what it’s like to go through that, and worse. Because when you and I think that at least God hasn’t killed us, we also remember, oh yeah, he saved that for Jesus.


    The Road to Daybreak – Henri Nouwen
    The Source – James Michener
    Jesus - Borg
  • Follow

    Follow


    OK, I’ll admit it, for ambitious people like me this Sunday’s reading, about the demands of James and John to, “grant us to sit one at your right hand and one at your left” is more than a bit off-putting. After all, I never had an ambition to be ambitious it just came to me.

    Maybe the great psychoanalyst Alfred Adler was right in positing ambition as humanity’s dominant impulse. While Sigmund Freud contended that sex was our governing urge, Adler argued that the quest for recognition, our desire for attention, is the basic drive of human life.

    Perhaps that’s why Jesus didn’t come down too hard on the brothers Zebedee for their incredibly self-centered and obnoxious request. He didn’t even call them on the carpet when they immediately agreed, ‘Yes Lord, we’ll drink the cup you drink and take the baptism you’ll take!’ It’s as if they’re 4-year-olds demanding a Golden Retriever from Mom and Dad, and just as willingly agreeing, ‘Sure I’ll take him for a walk three times a day, play fetch till it’s dark and donate all my allowance to feed him until I’m 17!’

    No, Jesus let James and John down ever so gently – he did not fault them for being ambitious, rather he sternly corrected them for being ambitious about the wrong things.

    How many times have you and I been ambitious about the wrong things? How many relationships, possessions or experiences did we spend incredible energy to acquire only to find out it was not what we thought it was?

    Check out this video to see what I mean (especially if you’re the parent of a teenaged girl).


    Misdirected ambition is arguably humanity’s biggest fault. We think we know what we want, we go for it, and we find that in taking the lead we would have been much better off to have followed. And when we finally agree to follow, we find that Jesus does not take away our ambitions, He simply realigns them.

    For human ambitions are often God-given, God-directed, and are at their best when they find their fulfillment in service. It is often seen when millionaires use their business acumen to clean up urban schools, good parents open up their homes to foster kids, and when you and I realize that our gifts were not given to us solely for our own pleasure and boasting, but to do God’s work.

    Do any of our ambitions need redirecting?
    How might the Lord be calling us to redirect them?

    Reading
    Among the Lilies – Ronald Rolheiser
    Eventide- Kent Haruf
    Microtrends-Mark Penn
  • Let the Children Come… With Purell

    Let the Children Come… With Purell


    There she stood, as still as a sentry, as observant as any FBI agent on Presidential Guard Detail – our friend Carolyn, manning her post alongside my wife and our new baby on his first day in church. As so many people tried to make their way to the baby’s side found out; before you could get to baby, you had to pass by Carolyn, who was armed and ready with a big old bottle of Purell. ‘Wash your hands before you touch mine!’ reads the little red hexagonal sign pinned to baby’s car carrier. In these days of flu shots, viruses, random germs, N1H1, Mad Cow, Hanta, you name it - new parents take every precaution. We all understand this, and we all dutifully obey.

    Yet this scene carried out in of all places, a church, couldn’t help but make my mind wonder… When Jesus bid the little children, ‘Come!’, as Mark 10 tells us, which of the disciples would have been the designated Purell holder? Would it have been Thomas who doubted Jesus’ divinity nearly until the end? Would it have been John, ‘the beloved disciple,’ who would’ve been more concerned about a child giving Jesus a cold rather than vice versa? Would it have been Judas, who would have bought the generic brand and pocketed the difference?

    What’s more, would Mother Mary have taken Joseph to task in that smelly manger, reminding the new (old) father that no shepherd, angel or drummer boy could approach this pastoral setting without, first, a squirt of cold gelatinous antiseptic? And would these parents have been as obsessed with cleanliness as we are? Or would there have been the few waivers issued by dutiful parents who give a free pass to Popes and mothers-in-laws? And would Jesus have shared their concerns for cleanliness? Would Jesus have requested a Purell Sentry through which everyone would have to pass before coming in contact with Him?

    The ways you and I approach God are studded with concerns like this. We have barriers of our own that keep us from Jesus. We skip our daily prayers because we’ve had a spat with our spouse or neighbor and feel hypocritical. We abstain from the Eucharist because we’ve been less than honest with our taxes. We skip church out of guilt over an affair. It seems like there is always a barrier between God and us. It seems like we are always looking out for some sentry that will keep us from approaching the throne of Grace.

    If Jesus’ ministry teaches us anything, it is that no such sentry exists. Jesus’ mission was to remove them - every barrier that would keep you and me from God. Jesus turned over the moneychangers’ tables at the Temple and tore the curtain in the Temple in two. And this Thanksgiving season (Canadian is Monday) reminds us that more than a meal and the founding of this great country, you and I give thanks to a Christ who has given us 24/7 access to the Father.

    Dear friends, there is nothing that can keep us from coming to Jesus, no sin, shortcoming or human ritual. It’s because, more than anything, Jesus wants us to come – He died to get this point across. And He is bidding us today, as He did the little children, to come.
    What’s keeping us?


    Reading
    Among the Lilies – Ronald Rolheiser
    Microtrends – Mark Penn
    Where God Happens – Rowan Williams
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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