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
  • The Lament of God

    The Lament of God


    When you worship inside the chapel pictured above, Jesus’ words in Sunday’s Gospel come to life, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets… how I have desired to gather your children… and you were not willing.” The name of this place is Dominus Flavit (‘The Lord Wept’) and it sits across the valley from the Holy City, on a plot of land pilgrims swear Jesus once stood to voice his famous lament in Luke 13. This chapel holds something very important, not just for Holy Land visitors, but for all of us who grieve.

    Every day you and I lament over missed opportunities, unrealized potential, and the crippling reality that things don’t always go according to plan. We scream into the night, ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ and ‘It’s not fair!’ The drama of our lives can seem like it’s played out inside a shaken snow globe, where an invisible hand, subject to unpredictable spasms, exercises complete control over every aspect of our world. And here we are, flopping around inside, trying to hold on to the furniture or at least stand up straight and keep from getting hit in the head by a flying candlestick.

    Sure, on our good days, when the world is settled and all is at peace, we can lean back in our recliners and take it all in – feeling utterly breathless by the glory of it all. And on those days perspective comes as we find places for the joys and the smiles, the disappointment and the lament. Ecclesiastes says there is a time for all of this. And Jesus sounds a New Testament echo by reminding us that we’re not the only ones who grieve. God does too.

    ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem…’ How Jesus puts words to feelings we all experience when we long for something we cannot get. Or we yearn to protect someone we cannot protect. Or we seek to warn someone who will not listen. It may come as a shock to some of us who believe everything that happens on this earth happens just the way God wants it to. But it is apparent that the imperfection that surrounds us also has a place in God’s economy.

    So as we contemplate the subjects of our own grief we understand that this is not a solitary enterprise. Jesus understands and shares our lament. And, perhaps even more importantly, we remember the balance of life, and how lament will give way to laughter, as the Psalmist says, ‘mourning comes at night but joy comes in the morning.’ For we can never forget that one of the purposes of lament is to lay the groundwork for new beginnings. Something fresh and new will be born. There is death, but there is resurrection.

    Further Reading
    Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths – Karen Armstrong
    From the Holy Mountain – William Dalrymple
    The Jews in the Time of Jesus – Stephen Wylen
  • Temptation

    Temptation


    At first hearing the story of Jesus ‘temptation in the desert’ sounds about as pertinent to my life as crop yields in the Outer Hebrides. Sure it’s important to somebody, somewhere, but it’s simply too far removed from my time and cultural context to say much to me. Jesus’ dialog with the Diablo sounds more Dickens than Gospel – as the pair seemingly float through a dreamland of time and space from one temptation to another. At least Ebenezer Scrooge got Christmas dinner – Jesus won’t even cave for a loaf of bread.

    Maybe it’s because my biggest temptations don’t seem to be Jesus’. I get angry, frustrated, and worry too much about having enough. I want to honk at slow people in the fast lane and call the manager when a check-out lady opens up a new register and the people behind me get to go first. Why didn’t Jesus get tempted by a telemarketer calling at dinnertime? Or a mechanic who told him he needed a new transmission? Or a corporate bean counter coldly informing him his pension was being cut? Let’s see how Jesus handles those temptations!

    But when I hear this story again and again, as you and I do on every first Sunday of Lent, we begin to see the shades and nuances that make this encounter more relevant than we might think. I begin to see that these temptations really are my temptations.

    They boil down to self-doubt, idolatry and skepticism about the Divine. When Jesus is challenged to make a stone into bread, I too need to deny the impulse to prove myself. When Jesus is offered all the riches of the world if He will only bow down to another, I too need to fight against the desire to make worldly goods my real gods. And when Jesus is asked if God really does care for Him, I too must put to flight notions that God doesn’t care about me either.

    Jesus handles this by actually speaking to each temptation. I have found this a helpful strategy, employing not the same words but the same tactic. With a nonchalant indifference I tell whatever tempting notions that come my way, ‘I simply don’t have time for you.’ Like Jesus, we are on a mission to do greater things, and as we set our sights on those things, we might also see the devil departing somewhat swiftly from us.


    Reading
    How (Not) to Speak to God – Peter Rollins
    Empire Falls – Richard Russo
    Missional Renaissance – Reggie McNeal
  • It's Not About the Fish

    It's Not About the Fish


    Imagine going to the kitchen to make chocolate chip cookies and getting out all of the ingredients, only to find the flour tin dead empty! Drat, no cookies. Then, the doorbell rings. It’s Jesus. We invite him in to the living room where we relax and shoot the breeze. “Got any chocolate chip cookies?” He says. “No,” we say, wondering about the coincidence of the question. “Would you please go bake me some,” Jesus asks. “Hmmmm,” we say, “But I’m all out of flour, I just checked.” Jesus pauses for a moment and says “Check again.” Lo and behold, we walk into the kitchen, remove the lid from the flour tin, and find it filled to the brim.

    Or we’re at the office, where we’ve been trying all week to sell the back page of the catalog to a deep-pocket customer named Mr. Smith. We’ve talked to him numerous times, and Smith’s explained that his business is down, he’s cutting budgets and staff, and there’s no way in tarnation he’ll be able to buy an ad this month, or for that matter, for the rest of the year. Then, Jesus walks in. We offer him a chair and start shooting the breeze. “I see you still haven’t sold that back page yet,” he says, strangely familiar with our business. “Nope, it’s bone dry out there,” we say. Then Jesus says, “Why don’t you call Mr. Smith?” Boy, how did Jesus know that I just got off the phone with him? “Funny you should ask,” we say, “I’ve talked with Mr. Smith every day this week and he says he’s in no position to buy.” “Try calling him again,” Jesus says. And when Smith picks up on the first ring we find out that not only is he willing to buy this month’s back page, but he wants the inside cover as well, and a full schedule through 2011.

    Sales inexplicably materializing in the office!
    Flour mysteriously appearing in the kitchen!
    Can we see why St. Peter, in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, did exactly what you and I would have done had our fishing boats all of the sudden starting listing with the weight of all that abundance?

    And when we think about it we understand that this story’s not about fish, or flour, or making sales quotas. It’s about God making God’s self known to us.
    Sure, this was a very impressive miracle, but it was no less dramatic than the miracle that convinced you and me about who Jesus was and is in our lives. Maybe it happened at Baptism, or Confirmation, or an amazing sunset, or when a tragedy struck, or slowly over time when we somehow became utterly convinced that God was with us.

    This story begs us to recall that first miracle that revealed God to you and me. But perhaps more importantly, it also asks us to consider what we’ve been doing as a result. Have we too, ‘left everything and followed Him?’ How have we gone fishing for men? If we’ve really witnessed the miracle of Jesus making himself known to us, then what are we doing with it?

    Reading
    The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
    Missional Renaissance – Reggie McNeal
    Rediscovering Values – Jim Wallis
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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