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
  • Calling Him King

    Calling Him King


    Here in the birthplace of modern Democracy most Americans remain hopelessly and happily clueless regarding the vagaries of royal rule. While we look fondly across the pond at the tabloid tales of the House of Windsor, never hiding our fascinations and even occasional envies toward kings, queens, and all things royal, the vast majority of us seem to prefer our own form of meritocratic governance, one whose most popular notions of monarchs are safely limited to The Lion King.

    So we do not, admittedly, take the same insight or baggage to the table that Brits, Swedes or Ethiopians do when we walk into church this weekend to celebrate the annual feast of Christ the King.

    While what it’s like to have that person’s face on our money may be beyond us, most of us probably still have general notions of what it might be like to live under royal rule. We imagine that the citizenry would expect to receive some important things like; protection against malevolents at home and abroad, justice in settling disputes, evenhanded punishment for transgressors, and a general economic framework for living a prosperous life, to name a few.

    In exchange we subjects would agree to surrender most everything to the king; our taxes, our obedience, our respect and honor, and our ultimate loyalties, which, in times of unrest, would mean consignment to the military and perhaps the gift of our lives for our king.

    Calling Christ our King is a bit like that. For this Sunday is ultimately a feast of surrender. It is our annual invitation to contemplate our deepest loyalties, our obedience, our respect, our possessions, honor, and ultimate commitments. What does it mean, for example, to truly honor Jesus – in our drive to work, our water cooler conversations, and the way we treat telemarketers? What does it mean to respect the things that we freely admit do not belong to us; our homes, cars and our bodies? In what ways do we give the king his due – do we really consider that a portion of our money and possessions might belong to Someone else?

    This feast comes at a fitting time for me, and maybe you too, because there are so many things in my life vying for this same allegiance and commitment. So this Sunday I will ask; how can I surrender more? How might I bring more honor, respect and loyalty to the One whom all this, and more, is due?

    Reading
    Tefillin – Martin Sandberg
    The Bottom Billion – Paul Collier
    Inclusion: Making Room for Grace – Eric Law
  • Left Behind

    Left Behind



    I’ve been Left Behind.

    Literally.

    While entranced readers (63 million and counting) have made Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ ‘Left Behind’ series one of the most popular book series of our generation, I am still rather indifferent about the whole thing.
    Yes, Publisher’s Weekly says it’s the most successful Christian fiction series ever, the New York Times and Chicago Tribune have said positive things about them, and many people, maybe even you, think these are the most influential books we’ve seen since the Bible. Yet little old me, with a library of chock full of hundreds of Christian books, has yet to crack the spine of even one (of about 20) of these bestsellers.

    Sure, I have never been much into fiction, even science fiction, but I must say that the biggest reason I’ve steered away is because this series is based on the biblical book of Revelation, and more to the point, an interpretation of apocalyptic writings that just doesn’t sit very well with me.

    This Sunday many of us will hear Mark 13 read from our pulpits – this is a ‘mini-apocalypse’ that is full of Revelation-like images, symbols and warnings. Just like Revelation, it mimics Old Testament and Apocryphal imagery with dire warnings of the coming day of the Lord. Through the centuries interpreters have had a field day concocting kooky links between modern events with apocalyptic writings. Martin Luther thought it so full of potential pitfalls he suggested removing Revelation from his New Testament Canon. John Calvin simply avoided it all by writing commentaries on every New Testament book except Revelation.

    Colorful, mind-stretching, difficult to interpret – sure. But apocalyptic writings continue to keep their place in the canon because each generation seems to figure out what the real purpose of this kind of literature is. It’s not really about foretelling the future. It’s about encouraging faithfulness, patience, discipline and single-mindedness through tough times.

    Sure, no one at my suburban church is facing the kind of serious persecutions that the first hearers of Revelation or Mark 13 were facing – the only time I see Christians going to the Lions here in Detroit is on game day. However, we are all still facing the kinds of things that Jesus warns us about when he says, “Beware that no one leads you astray.”

    For then, as now, we are tempted to lose sight of the goal. Every day we face a myriad of distractions and diversions that keep us from keeping the main thing, the main thing. Just like Mark’s audience, we face the real peril of amnesia – forgetting who we are, and assuming a different identity simply because we want to avoid pain or amass worldly gain. What are some of the things tempting to lead us astray today? How are we addressing them? Are we cool with it?

    Reading
    The Book of Revelation (Commentary) – Robert Mounce
    The Book of Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary – Leon Morris
    Strength for the Journey – Peter Gomes
  • Guilt vs. Pride

    Guilt vs. Pride



    Many of us may be thinking that the timing of this Sunday’s Gospel reading, on ‘The Widow’s Mite,’ was purposely chosen for the fall fundraising season (‘Stewardship Season’ is the norm in Episcopal churches this time of year). It was selected, you may be thinking, as a way to guilt the pew warmers into coughing up more money for the church and also make an example out of this poor widow; that we are not acceptable to God until we sign over everything we own to the Church. “Yes, you can make your checks out to St. David’s in Southfield, Michigan…”

    But what if we were to read this text a bit differently, as some theologians have suggested, and look at this encounter not as a lesson in selfless giving, but as an example of selfish pride run amuck. Not, of course, on the part of the widow, but on the part of the Temple elite who had concocted a shady religious system in which God was not the main beneficiary, they were. Let’s take a closer look.

    As we know, this story (found both in Mark and Luke) comes on the tails of Jesus’ observations regarding the religious leaders of his day. Jesus warns, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes…” He then points out their self-centered prayers, processions through the market places, and the taking of the best seats at worship services and banquets. This observation is followed by another, that of the widow giving all she has to the Temple Treasury. Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

    Try reading this last statement like the first - as a simple declaration as to what’s going on. Now imagine this paraphrase, “What a tragedy for religion to look like this! That poor woman has to give away everything she has to meet Temple approval. She has been taught and encouraged to donate as she does, now she has nothing left to take care of herself or anyone else who might be in her household.”

    The two texts, if they are interpreted this way, become a unified declaration against what has been called our biggest, most lingering sin: pride. For it was a prideful clergy that concocted such a self-perpetuating, get rich scheme as this in order to line their pockets, not to prepare for the Kingdom of God. It was a prideful system that did not recognize God even when he walked up and introduced himself. It was a prideful system that led to death rather than life.

    Whenever Scripture describes the colliding of kingdoms, as it does here, I often think of the ways that I may be contributing to the wrong side. In what ways does pride weasel its way into modern religious life? In what ways do our frameworks of introducing others to Christ get derailed and sidetracked by our own desires for respect, honor and praise?

    Religious shammery (if this is a word) has been around for a long time as we, too often, choose the comforts of religious frameworks over the difficult and liberating work of giving ourselves totally (another theme in this reading) to the call and work of Christ. In what ways might we identify and address these?


    Reading
    The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
    A People’s History of Christianity – Diana Butler Bass
    Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes – Kenneth Bailey
    To read more about this take on ‘The Widow’s Mite’ see http://www.visionsofgiving.org/widowsmite.htm
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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