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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Weddings Performed
  • Dreams

    Dreams


    Do you remember what you dreamt last night?

    Probably not. Experts say we forget 96 to 99% of our dreams.
    Oh, it’s not because we didn’t have them, sleep doctors say we all dream, but we simply forget them. They say our dreams slip away in the time gap between our R-E-M sleep and our awakening. The longer the gap, the more likely we are to forget.
    So if we want to remember our dreams we need to awaken in the middle of them, which means being startled out of our sleep. They do this at sleep centers when monitors show a person is at the height of R-E-M sleep.

    This means we can’t help but wonder just how disjointed dear old St. Joseph’s sleep patterns must have been. For this Sunday’s Gospel tells of no less than three divine interruptions (out of a New Testament record four) in which Papa Joe gets stirred up to do something rather dramatic. And unlike you and me, Joseph doesn’t seem to forget his dreams.

    Maybe it’s all in the name. After all, Joseph’s Old Testament namesake was famous for his dreams too, granted his was on the interpretative side and, of course, he got a funky Technicolor coat (and a Broadway play) out of the deal. But at the heart of both of their stories is a desire to take dreams seriously – to recognize and understand the Word of the Lord as it had come to them – and to single-mindedly pursue it.

    Let’s face it God gives you and me dreams too.

    Sometimes they’re just as dramatic. Like St. Joseph, they can inspire us to pull up roots and move to strange cities. They can stir us to leave old careers and start new ones. They can rouse us to abandon relationships and begin others. And sometimes our dreams are even more dramatic. What would it be like to see illiteracy in our poor neighborhoods eliminated, or to see homelessness in our community cured? Or what would it be like to see medical care for every sick child in Haiti?

    And our biggest challenge, unlike the other Josephs, is remembering our dreams.

    We receive a Word from the Lord, recognize its authenticity then the weeds grow up all around us. Other responsibilities creep in. We become distracted. We lose focus. Maybe we begin to doubt the authenticity of our dreams in the first place, or we simply choose not to be startled out of our R-E-M, and decide to snooze right through it all instead.

    In parallel with the pulse taking, goal setting and reality checks that typically punctuate the end of the year, perhaps you and I should take a moment to reconsider our dreams as well.

    For God gives you and me dreams too.

    What is it?
    Where is it?
    What can be done with it in 2010?


    Reading:
    The Great Divorce - Clive Staples Lewis
    Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street - A Moral Compass for the New Economy – Jim Wallis
    So Young, Brave and Handsome - Leif Enger
  • Christmas Love

    Christmas Love



    A young woman gave birth to a baby boy on a cold December night – have you heard the story?
    It was a shivering night, under a star-speckled sky.
    It happened inside a drafty stable where a frightened teenager kept the animals up all night with the trials of labor and their most-alarming sights and sounds.
    Yep, there is so much more to childbirth than we ever see in a nativity snow globe.

    A fortnight later, the mother took the baby to the Temple where, a quirky old man blessed the child and predicted he would have a very hard life. Then he told the woman that a sword would pierce her soul as well.

    A few years later her youngster wandered off in a strange city.
    He went missing for several days, and was only found when, in her anguish, his mother chanced by the Temple to pray-
    There she found him entertaining mysteries well beyond his years.

    And as challenging as mothering a strong-willed, even a gifted child, must have been, this was not the end of it.
    For this mother would undergo a parent’s worst horror, one that some of us have experienced, when a child departs this earth ahead of his parents.

    The grief is unimaginable because the love, between a mother and a son is also unimaginable.

    While we dads do our best, it’s hard to deny the enduring truth behind the old barroom saying, ‘Mommy’s baby, Daddy’s, maybe.’

    Perhaps this is why the story of the Nativity finds its center in the love between a mother and an infant.
    Ever notice who the closest porcelain parent in the crèche always seems to be?
    Dad leans over adoringly-
    But Mom gets on her knees, and down to his level.
    Moms love in the face of contempt.
    Moms love despite ingratitude.
    Moms keep vigil despite rejection. (Frederica Matthews-Green)

    It is this kind of love, taking fragile human flesh beneath that star speckled sky that the Lord of the universe uses as a jumping off point:
    ‘Yeah, I love you that much – and even more.’

    For Christmas is the first chapter of the greatest love story the world has ever known.

    The Christmas question, then, is what are we going to do with it?
    Love given freely, unearned, undeserved, unwarranted and unjustified-
    Even more than the love of a mother, so what will we do with this greatest gift of all?

    Reading
    The Great Divorce – CS Lewis
    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism – John Spong
    Healing and Christianity – Morton Kelsey
  • The Journey Inward

    The Journey Inward


    Yuri Gangarin, the first Soviet cosmonaut, landed after orbiting the earth a few times. And he declared that he had disproved the existence of God. Gangarin had toured the outer reaches of planet Earth and said he had seen no sign of the Lord. Immediately, many Christians countered the cosmonaut’s account by pointing out that Gangarin had seen plenty of signs of God, if only the cosmonaut had known how to interpret them.

    As the New Testament text quoted above reminds us, Christ is all around us. And just as importantly, He lives within us. One of the more useful tools I’ve found to look inward is a simple form of prayer born in the Jesuit tradition called The Examen. It is an exercise in which we try to find the movement of the Spirit in our daily lives. We do this by reflecting on our day - its ups and downs, its twists and turns.

    There are five rather simple steps to The Examen. The first is recollection, which is remembering that Christ is with us. No matter what we have done or where we are, Jesus is present. Like the famous poem called ‘Footprints,’ we cannot take one step without Christ beside us. The second step is gratitude. This is when we look back at our day with an attitude of thanksgiving. We remember the traffic light we made, the warm dinner we had that was out of this world, and the smile we received from a stranger that made our day. The third step is praying for the Holy Spirit’s help. This is when we invite the Spirit to join us as we review the day. We ask for insight, pledge to be honest with ourselves and ask for the strength to do it all.

    The fourth step is the heart of The Examen. This is when we review the previous day. This is the longest and most important step in which we walk, moment by moment, through the previous 24 hours. We remember what happened to us, how we felt about it, and how we handled it. Were we sincere? Cold? Open? Easily upset? Quick to forgive? The fifth step, then, is a chance to take it all to Jesus in prayer. This is when we engage in ‘holy conversation’ about what we thought and how we acted.

    Through this method we can grow in a sense of self, become more sensitive of our own spirit and its longings, as well as develop an openness to receive the support God offers. There are copies of The Examen available here As we take time off for the upcoming holidays let’s challenge ourselves to set aside moments for inward reflection and self-discovery. And let us not be surprised when we see Christ inside!
  • No Pain No Gain

    No Pain No Gain


    Anybody watch the season finale of ‘The Biggest Loser’ this week?
    That’s the TV show in which 16 really obese people compete against one another to lose weight. The winner is of course, the one who loses most- or The Biggest Loser. And in this case, the two biggest losers left the show boasting that they were half the men they used to be, literally. First prize winner Danny Cahill, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (photo above) went from 430 pounds to 191 pounds. He lost 55% of his body mass.

    During this show you and I see what these contestants’ lives are like. It takes a bit of time and hard luck to put on 430 pounds. There is depression and anger and even neurosis. Contestants have been teased, made fun of and have very low self-esteem. And now they have finally reached rock bottom. They will do anything to get thin. So how many people audition to be on this show? Thousands. Tens of thousands. These are people who are so desperate they are willing to attend open casting calls and take off their shirts in front of strangers and judges - not a hard thing to do if you're built like Gov. Arnold, but definitely a challenge if you look like Homer Simpson.

    All this, in hopes of getting selected to endure even more humiliation. Trainers Bob and Jillian pour it on, using oft-censored language and vocabulary that includes words like 'pathetic' and 'lazy,' to keep it mild. Contestants are mocked, threatened and made fun of, yet they keep coming back, with even more determination.

    At church on Sunday we will hear the bizarre account of a man named John the Baptist who will attract crowds and crowds of people basically doing the same thing. He will use criticism and humiliation ('You brood of vipers!'). He will mock and threaten ('The ax is lying at the root of the trees!'). And he will speak directly to the hearts of seriously hurting people and offer them a way out. And these people, too, will keep coming back.

    For the beauty of The Biggest Loser is not the humiliation and criticism, it is the crown and the unbridled joy. We see the triumph of human determination and the first steps in brand new lives. We hear winners say that no matter what they endured, it was all worth it.

    This is what the Gospel means when it calls John's coarse words 'Good News.' Despite the hard words, they are real words - words we need to hear. For you and I know that becoming our best selves is no walk in the park. It means looking at the harsh realities of our lives, coming face to face with our frailties and shortcomings - not being afraid to hit rock bottom. Have we done this? In what ways do we need to?

    Reading:
    Healing and Christianity - Morton Kelsey
    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism - John Spong
    The Source - James Michener
  • Leveling Mountains

    Leveling Mountains



    Preparing the way of the Lord is not too different from preparing our house for the holidays. Every mountain of newspapers on the kitchen table is made low. And every valley caused by an absence of bottles in our wine rack is filled. Every crooked picture hanging in our living room is made straight, and every leaf scattered across our smooth sidewalk is swept away. Let nothing get in the way of our holiday message: Family, friends and visitors are welcome! You are valued, you are appreciated, you are esteemed, cherished and loved! Let our hearts say it, let our home say it, let all that has breath say it!

    John the Baptist was, of course, talking about a much more wholesale house cleaning, and a much wider welcome than my wife and I could ever extend. John was talking about the realigning of our priorities, the straightening out of our lifestyles, and the shaping up of our souls. His message resonated with the masses that were living under a religious hierarchy that failed to help them draw near to God, and was, in fact, hindering them from doing so.

    Our lives, like our kitchen tables, are magnets for clutter. Somehow a myriad of distractions, diversions and temptations routinely untidy our lives.
    That’s why we need times like Advent to do something about it.

    You may remember an important book published in the 1980’s, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (OK, maybe you don’t). But it was written by a mathematical physicist and mathematical astronomer with no particular religious ax to grind. They proposed that the incredible mathematics that makes possible the development of the universe and intelligent life on earth simply could not happen by chance. They contended that the universe has far more complexity, and far more order, than chance or luck can rationally explain. They reminded us that all that surrounds us, the order and the seeming disorder, very likely has Someone at the helm.

    How often does life’s clutter, rooted in the chaotic, disorganized and frenzied that contends that all of life is random and our lives have no eternal consequence – how often does this clutter keep us from remembering that truth: everything happens for a reason? We are significant. We have worth. We were created for a purpose. This is the message John the Baptist was preparing the way for all the world to hear. In what ways do we need to re-discover this? How might Advent be a time to embrace this anew? Knowing this, how might our outlook on the week ahead change?


    Reading
    Healing and Christianity – Morton Kelsey
    Giving to God – Mark Allan Powell
    Transforming Scripture – Frank Wade
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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