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
  • Wildly Disheartening

    Wildly Disheartening


    Here's another reason North American Christianity is in decline - John Eldredge's 'revised and expanded' Wild at Heart - a free copy of which was furnished by the publisher for review on this blog. This me-centered, fringe interpretation of the Christian Gospel aims to bring men back to the faith by reclaiming the 'real' message of the Bible, which apparently had gotten away from us for a few millennia. The book's overwhelming drawback is its misunderstanding of adventure and human fulfillment. Eldredge's take has its roots in his fundamentalist piety and its Himalayan peak: a deeply personal ongoing and inner experience with Jesus. Eldredge blatantly ignores the main Gospel message which is outwardly focussed - it is mainly about giving, not getting - giving ourselves up to engage in the mission of Christ and the healing of the world.

    I'd first heard of this book when it was mentioned in a New Yorker article, then again in Wikipedia. Apparently its Spanish translation is used as a textbook for the notorious Mexican drug cartel/cult La Familia. It is attractive to them, and to many North Americans (more than 500,000 copies of the original edition sold, published 10 years ago) because it is 'muscular Christianity.' It is not 'be nice' Christianity which, in Eldredge's mind equals 'boring' Christianity. Rather Eldredge wants to show us the 'He man' Jesus who knocks over tables in the Temple and tells Peter that carrying a sword is OK (Luke 22:36). What Eldredge neatly skirts is the main message of Jesus and his blatant pacifism. Jesus did not complete His work by mustering a militia, calling down scores of armed angels to beat back the Romans, or by punching Pilate. Rather Jesus went by the name 'Prince of Peace' for good reason. Violence, aggression, and anger are of the most limited vocabulary in Jesus' dictionary - however Eldredge would have us believe they are Christianity's long buried headline. Nowhere does the author mention the ban the early Christians put on military participation as a requirement for conversion. Rather Eldredge goes the other way, condoning the use of weapons, swords, knives and guns, even at one point claiming that women emasculate men by not letting boys learn to shoot guns. (p. 67 )

    Eldredge seems to ignore one of the central claims of the Bible - that the heart of man is desperately wicked - this is not to be celebrated, or even toyed with but understood that urging men to kindle their base feelings of anger, aggression, retaliation and conflict is downright dangerous when the goal is to build Christian character. His twisted theology, then, finds heroes in World War II soldiers and movie characters - who seem to dominate the book - and not the real 'men' of contemporary Christianity who did the more difficult work of avoiding and healing conflict like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Desmond Tutu.

    Of course, these men would not be widely accepted heroes to Eldredge's conservative flock, like his neatly divided notion of human sexuality certainly is. Eldredge makes it clear that we are born either male (who desire only females) or female (who desire only males). The recent row over female track athlete Semenya Caster which brought to light the ambiguity surrounding sex determination is a notion certainly ignored by this crowd, as are the millions of gay Christians in North America - of course they would not be considered Christians by these folk and would not be reading much of this book anyway.

    My brother John Eldredge does a wonderful job reminding us that the Christian life is the world's great adventure. However he does great injustice by assuming that adventure ends with personal fulfillment in a Macho Jesus. The Gospel is not about us - it is about God and God's mission to save the world. The greatest adventure is found in giving our lives away - standing up for the oppressed, fighting racism, ending poverty and hunger. Eldredge paints the picture of the 'real man' as one who climbs a mountain or fights a bear when it's the real man who does something about the 2 billion people who get by on $2 a day or less. It's the real man who learns how to avoid fights and practice peacemaking.

    The wild popularity of this book feeds into the wild individualism that has crept into the Church and made it as irrelevant as it is today. A generation ago our Christian bookstores primarily contained commentaries and exegetical studies to help people more deeply understand the Christ of the Bible. Now they are nothing more than self-help stores mainly kept afloat by fundamentalists where this book was bound to be a bestseller.
  • Martha, Martha...

    Martha, Martha...


    Every day I greet the morning the same way billions of other people do – with hope and a prayer. Through the rising mists of my pre-dawn consciousness I offer a vague invitation to the Almighty to take me, take the day, come inside and be present.

    And then I get up and go about my business.

    As a professional Christian (someone who gets paid to do this), the day has started well before I have. There are hospital patients to hunt down, volunteers to corner, sermons to bootleg, couples to talk down off ledges, sages to memorialize and screaming babies to baptize – do you want to hear more?

    The invitation that started my day has become more ritual than real world - piety not verity – I have opened the door for the Guest then promptly left Him all alone in the living room.

    Yes, it’s the Martha/Mary syndrome that we will hear all about in this Sunday’s Gospel. We know the story, Martha invites Jesus in, then gets so caught up in the work of hospitality (ever wonder if her last name was Stewart?) that she turns into a whiny tattletale – complaining to Jesus that her sister won’t help… wah, wah, wah. Jesus stays cool and points out it’s not her, but her sister who’s spending the time most productively. Zing.

    It’s a lesson that speaks volumes to Christians of all times who have fallen victim to doing so much for God that we forget about God.

    In this A.D.D. age, when our skills of attentiveness, concentration and discipline are more challenged than ever, we do well to ask ourselves what we really meant when we invited Him in in the first place? If we’re going to welcome our Guest, ought we not pay proper attention? What keeps us from doing so? How might we brush aside the distractions and be more attentive to the Holy Presence that’s right next to us?

    Reading:
    Wild at Heart – John Elredge
    Mountain Reign – Joe Lacy
    The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
  • Being a Neighbor

    Being a Neighbor


    I have a friend who gives really over the top Christmas presents to people she barely knows. As the holiday season approaches she spends hours poring over catalogs and roaming the aisles of some pretty high-end stores. She buys ties and games and dresses and belts and electronics – you name it. She carefully considers everyone on her list and does her best to buy the most thoughtful, appropriate, and generous gifts she can. When she gets home, she painstakingly wraps them in the most attractive (and expensive) papers and tissues and ribbons she can find – no store-bought wrapping for her. Then she puts on the nametags. Some presents go to her kids, others go to friends and co-workers, and there’s always a fair number that sit carefully wrapped up and ready for pick up by the mailman, the newspaper guy and snowplow man. While acknowledging the overtones of self-interest that influence every aspect of our gift giving, I figured my friend was simply trying to impress people when I asked her why these great gifts were going to near-strangers. I’ll never forget her immediate and sincere response: she was trying to love her neighbor as herself.

    Giving great gifts to those we love happens all the time. Giving great gifts to those we hardly know is rare. What impressed me about my friend was the sheer practicality of it all – how she brought this Good Samaritan lesson down to earth. ‘Loving your neighbor as yourself’ has always been one of those grandiose, BHAG goals that perhaps goes without deep reflection because of its octopi complexity. But my friend’s Christmas giving made me think. How might I bring this most important of all Christian commandments down to size?

    I walked into my backyard to turn on the sprinkler and thought about ways I could water my neighbor’s parched lawn. I went to the supermarket where I walked up and down the aisles thinking about my neighbors, downtown, who don’t have enough to eat. I passed the basket at church thinking about all of the people who look to my church for strength to get through their lives.

    One of the most stark expositions of this commandment is offered by St. Paul who opines in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” How might we take the spotlight off of ourselves and shine it on others? What one practical thing can I do today to be a neighbor?

    Reading
    The Prophets (Vol. I and II) – Abraham Heschel
    Blood and Thunder – Hampton Sides
    Wild at Heart – John Eldredge
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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