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 Palm Sunday Marathon

    The Palm Sunday Marathon


    Palm Sunday is the longest service of the year. The procession is long, the readings are long, and the liturgy is long. Yet year in and year out you and I find ourselves right here, preparing for the marathon. We don’t take shortcuts. We don’t shorten it. We don’t condense it. We don’t edit it. We clear our minds, weed out the distractions, and open our hearts. We become truly present.

    We take a deep breath and let this story – this living story - breathe new life into us - for we are about to enter into the most momentous events in human history.

    In Word and Sacrament we will witness:

    -The Institution of the Eucharist
    -The Dispute over who’s the Greatest
    -Jesus’ Prayer at Gethsemane
    -Judas’ betrayal and infamous kiss
    -The Trial Before the Jewish High Priests’
    -St. Peter’s Denial
    -The Sentencing by Pilate
    -The Crowd demanding crucifixion
    -Jesus’ excruciating Walk with the Cross
    -The gruesome Crucifixion
    -The Thief on the Cross
    -The Centurion’s Admission
    -The Burial by Joseph of Arimithea

    This is a story that’s changed lives. This is a story that’s changed our lives. This is a story that wants to change us today. What are we bringing to the story this year? Which aspect of this tale will speak to us? How will we be shaped even more into the Cruciform image we so desire? We don’t know. But we do know that God is at work -and all we need to do is to be present.

    Reading
    The Heart of Christianity - Marcus Borg
    A Story of Shalom - Philip Cunningham
    Understanding Poverty - Ruby Payne
  • A Great Gift

    A Great Gift


    Perhaps the most significant gift our parents give us is a general outlook on the world - a structure for how things all come together, a worldview, if you will, that serves as a foundation for the way we view everything else.

    Marcus Borg likes to say that we generally inherit one of three paradigms. The first is the idea that the world is a scary and frightful place. Reality is hostile, death will get us, we must be about protecting what is ours and safeguarding all that is precious. How do we respond to life? Defensively. We are wary of new ideas and hold fast to the time-tested and familiar.

    A second view is that the world is indifferent and without care to its surroundings. Life is random. There is no final purpose. All that we are and see are the results of evolutionary accidents. In this world we think mostly of ourselves, grab what is ours, live for the moment, fulfill our needs without undue care for that which is outside the immediate and the accessible, or what will happen to and for those who will come after us.

    A third view, and the one I am most thankful to my parents for passing on to me, is that reality is gracious. All that surrounds us is potentially nurturing and life-giving. Wonder and beauty speak of a purpose to life and a deep meaning to reality. We can let go and jump into the fray because we know that we are held. We can seek adventure and take risks knowing that it will all somehow be OK. We can approach life like a survivalist who falls into quicksand: relaxing and letting the bog carry us, knowing that if we flail about gripped by fear, we will surely die.

    Which paradigm do we lean towards?
    Which paradigm do we want to lean towards?
    Which paradigm are we passing along to our children?
  • Drawing Nigh Unto the Poor

    Drawing Nigh Unto the Poor


    How we treat the poor is how we treat God.

    It’s the plain message of Matthew 25, much of the Gospels as well as a strong theme of the Old Testament. If we want to see the human face of God, we have to look no further than the, ‘least of these.’

    During Lent many of us try to draw closer to this Bible truth, in almsgiving and increased volunteer work. Together we look for new and deeper ways of identifying with the plight of the poor. While this might sound altruistic and ‘other centered’ the real beneficiary in all of this is us.

    What’s your attitude toward the poor look like?

    If you’re like me, you rarely think twice about clicking past a TV ad drumming up aid for the hungry, telling a beggar on the street, ‘No thanks,’ or even tossing out letter after letter of ‘urgent appeals’ that I find in my mailbox each week. I am not happy with myself when I do this and I know that the conditions of modern life can callous my heart to the degree that, as Thomas Merton once put it, I no longer have possession of it. I can become unable to have my heart broken by all the starving children, their distraught and helpless parents, not to mention countless earthquake victims.

    Then there’s my competitive way of living that can draw my focus toward my own strategies and gains and far away from the dire needs of most of the rest of the world. The swift and varied gales of change keep me preoccupied and diverted.

    A tortoise shell heart and a distracted mind are not the most helpful accoutrements of a budding disciple. They keep me from following the path of Christ. I am no longer fully human or fully alive.

    In John 10 we hear Jesus talk about his mission to bring humanity, ‘life and life more abundantly.’ That abundant life is all about fulfilling our humanity. When we tend to the plight of the poor we reclaim that part of us that has calcified and we bring our attentions round front and center. And we discover anew that in the face of the poor, we see God, and thus are made new again.

    We know this instinctively. Psychologists will often recommend that the depressed seek out some sort of volunteer activity, that they move the focus off of themselves and onto an area of need. Now that Easter has come, we have accepted this new light of the resurrection, how can we too move forward like those early disciples in continuing the work of Christ? How might we be called to answer the cries we are now that much more familiar with? How might we use our newfound humanity to fall deeper in love with the Christ we see in the faces of the poor?


    Good Reads
    The Politics of Jesus – Obery Hendricks
    The Misunderstood Jew – Amy Levine
    Saving Jesus from the Church – Robin Meyers
  • Coming Home

    Coming Home


    It’s no wonder the Prodigal son ever came to his senses. After all, he was returning to one of the most dysfunctional households in the Bible. The mother is awol, the father has less pride and fewer clues than Homer Simpson, the brother treats him like toxic waste, and we can imagine family meals around that house having more drama than a season’s worth of The Kardashians.

    But the money had run out and the hunger had set in. For the Prodigal son, the trip home was out of desperation and not sentimentalism - coming home was his best option. Coming home was his only option. Coming home was the smartest thing he would ever do. Coming home was the hardest thing he would ever do.

    And in this fourth week of Lent you and I are invited to look for the parallels - and the ways we choose avoidance over reconciliation. How many times have we screened phone calls, skipped outings, and filled our lives with distractions rather than facing up to and grappling with forgiveness? Sometimes it’s only when our backs are against the wall and we’re forced to forgive that we finally do. And when we finally do, as difficult as it is, we find that we experience a little slice of heaven.

    Coming Home makes for one huge metaphor. It stirs up uncomfortable relationships and situations we may have buried years ago, but that deep down inside we want to make right. Could this be the time? Is Lent 2010 calling us to ponder the ways we need to come to our senses and make peace with someone else - a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, a church, or even God? In what ways are we running, in what ways do we need to come to our senses? In what ways have we distracted ourselves with dissolute living in order to avoid the tough stuff, the real stuff, of making things right?

    Reading List
    Explosive Preaching – Ron Boyd-McMillan
    The Source – James Michener
    The Politics of Jesus – Obrey Hendricks
  • Second Chances

    Second Chances


    My wife finally had enough of the kitchen rug.

    It was one of these cheap sisal numbers that we bought at IKEA for about $40. And after a few years of muddy boots, splattered spaghetti sauce, splashed coffee, and drippy chocolate syrup we knew it was only a matter of time before it would take on a life of its own and rise up to greet us some morning.

    So she finally rolled it up and carted it out of the kitchen. It sat on the back porch for a few days waiting for me to put it in the garbage can, but each time I walked past I just couldn’t bring myself to it. What I decided to do instead was put the rug in the garage and wait for spring. I’ll wait for a sunny day, hose it down, take a scrub brush to it then let the sun dry it. I’m sure it won’t go back in the kitchen, but I think I can find a place for it in the basement or at least in the workshop. Sure, the carpet is pretty spotty now, but I think it deserves a second chance.

    Jesus seems to be saying something like this in the Gospel lesson we’ll hear on Sunday. It’s a parable of second chances. In it a man who’s planted a vineyard sees that his fig tree refuses to bear fruit. He orders it destroyed. However the gardener makes an appeal and asks for time to put down fertilizer, pay more attention to it, then, if there is still no fruit next year, he will agree to cut the tree down.

    The gardener sees something in the fig tree that no one else is seeing. It’s potential, it’s possibility, it’s the prospect of a turnaround. Can the underdog, perennially impotent fig tree deliver the goods? Details at 11.

    What’s curious about this story is that 11 o’clock never comes – we have no idea if the fig tree ever bore fruit. What we do know is that getting and giving second chances seems to be something rather important. Is there someone in your life who needs a second chance? Is there some situation happening around us that we need to be more patient with? Is there potential and possibility we are overlooking? How are we being called to give a second chance?


    Reading
    Empire Falls – Richard Ruso
    The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization – Peter Drucker
    Mountain Reigns – Joe Lacy
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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