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.


Contact Details

  • St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan, 48076, USA

  • +011 248-557-5430


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.


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.

U.S. Guns Produced Today
Americans Accidentally Killed Today
Homeless Americans
Weddings Performed
  • Kingdom Etiquette

    Kingdom Etiquette

    There we were, just in from the wedding, standing in line at the reception hall to pick up that cute little pink and white placeholder – the one with our calligraphied names on it, and with a little number next to it. Of course the number never means anything. As we all know, given the varied constellations reception table arrangements take, table number one could be next to the kitchen and table 17 might be the head table.

    So we walk into the hall trying to find the table numbers, which usually fight a losing battle with the centerpieces, but after a few minutes of scouting, there it is! Hmmm, we wonder, how close is it to the head table? The bar? The restrooms? What’s it mean to be assigned to sit at this table and not another? Then, who else is at the table? Is it empty? Will it stay empty? Who’s going to join us - The Cool Cats, or someone’s smelly uncle? And what were they thinking by putting us with them?

    Few social customs have withstood the test of time, remaining just as tricky for the ancients as they are for us, as that delicate business of who sits where! Ask any bride, mother of the bride or wedding consultant and they will tell you how stressful making seating assignments can be. Where one sits shows status and power. It denotes accessibility, social rank, and affection. Arranging seats at a big dinner is much more than simply putting people in chairs.

    In this Sunday’s Gospel reading Jesus uses table etiquette to say something important about God. Jesus is invited to dinner at a religious leader’s house. He notices the guests jostling for the best seats and he makes a few comments. First, when you’re invited to dinner don’t assume you’re better than anyone else. And second, when you invite others to dinner, don’t assume they’re better than anyone else.

    It’s not that Jesus wants to do away with class, rank and stature – it’s that He wants to put it all in context. One of humanity’s primal struggles is with significance. Our deepest, most strenuous endeavors have to do with our desire to see ourselves and our children do better, be better, and succeed. God knows this – and we forget this. We fail to realize that no one wants better for us than the Lord. As the Psalmist says, the Lord rejoices in the joy of His children.

    Jesus is telling us that this joy is not found in social climbing and class jumping, no matter what the Real Housewives of Paducah have to say about it. It is found in God, where the kingdom etiquette of generosity, humility, charity, and altruism trump political cunning and self-promotion. The struggle for earthly status is a fool’s errand, especially when it keeps us from cultivating kingdom etiquette.

    So we ask ourselves, how are we nurturing the values of generosity, humility and self-giving? In what ways can we work to value and respect the dignity of every human being?

    What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty – Ehlig/Payne
    Changing the Conversation – Anthony Robinson
    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
  • Shock Therapy

    Shock Therapy

    I once called a radio talk show. It was a religious show so I thought I was in for a rather balanced, civil conversation even though my contribution was sure to differ from the opinions of the host. After a few minutes on hold I was live on the show, albeit a few seconds delay (was it in case my language needed to be censored? How many people called into Christian talk shows planning to use the Seven Dirty Words?!?).

    No sooner had I begun making my point when the host cut me off, began criticizing and telling me just how off base my comments were. He had not finished listening to me, nor did he allow a rebuttal before he thanked me for calling and hung up. What became clear in the exchange was the role of callers in talk radio – secular or religious. We are the stooges, the patsies, the pawns. The hosts are the manipulators, the attention-getters and the shockers who simply use callers to make their points and bolster their images to entertain and attract the vast majority of listeners who, wisely, never call in but who do listen to the commercials.

    This Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus healing a crippled woman – in order to make a point let’s call her the stooge. The stage is set, on the Sabbath in the synagogue, packed with people, regular Jews looking to hear Jesus and at least one religious leader looking for a way to object. This is when Jesus calls on this poor woman who has been crippled for 18 years. She does not ask to be cured nor present herself for healing. Jesus simply pulls her out of the crowd knowing very clearly what day it is and who’s watching.

    In the exchange that follows, the woman is cured, the religious leader objects to healing on the Sabbath, and Jesus says just as you will untie a donkey to water it today I have untied this woman and given her living water that has made her whole. This is when we begin to see that Jesus the Shocker, has used this woman to make a much larger point. Jesus has come to unbind not just this women, but all of Israel. Jesus has come to unbind a people, a nation, you and me.

    As we see in this story the existing power structures and religious frameworks don’t make this easy. Despite all of his training and devotion, this synagogue leader does not recognize that God is standing right in front of him. This religious man would rather see the afflicted woman continue to suffer, the multitude of religious rules that penalize the poor stay in place, and his religion go unchanged. For the one thing the religious establishment must accept – Jesus’ message and Lordship – is the very thing it will not accept.

    Even though Jesus has tried reasoning, healing and miracles, he does not give up. On this day He tries shock therapy. Jesus takes them by the shoulders and tries to shake some sense into them. He so desperately wants people to see what’s really happening. What will it take them to leave behind the comforts of their old system and embrace something better – something new?

    How about us? Jesus sometimes uses shock therapy - for we too are stuck in religious systems that limit and bind. The North American church somehow goes to sleep each night knowing a billion people are hungry, women make 75 cents on the dollar, and the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Jesus has tried reasoning with us, even the miraculous. How might He be trying to shock us into embracing a new reality? How might the dramatic situations that we have seen been used to form us? And how might the Lord be using them now?

    Rediscovering Values – Jim Wallis
    Unbinding the Gospel – Martha Grace Reese
    Changing the Conversation – Anthony Robinson
  • Was Jesus Sent to Annoy You?

    Was Jesus Sent to Annoy You?

    This Sunday in church many of us are going to hear Jesus say some very strange and unusual things. He’s angry. And he almost seems to be shouting when He says, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” He says family members and households will be divided. Then he yells at his audience for not understanding that this is a big part of what He is about.

    The notion that Jesus came to upset me upsets me.

    One reason I choose to follow Christ is because of the peace I’ve experienced – through prayer, meditation, and at church – after all, He’s called ‘The Prince of Peace.’ But there is a side to the Journey that is all about exasperation, irritation, and annoyance.

    I’m annoyed when people ask me to give more. They need more time, more money, more of me. And I’d rather... not.

    I’m annoyed when my friends get together to dish the dirt and just when I’m ready to chime in that little voice inside my head says, ‘Nope...’

    I’m annoyed when I see that thing that I want finally on sale at that place that I love and I wonder if I really should be racking up more debt when there are hungry and hurting people all over the place?

    The notion that following Jesus leads to annoyance - even division and strife - is no better seen than in the Civil Rights struggle, when Martin Luther King, Jr., locked up in a Birmingham jail wrote a long letter defending his struggle – and it wasn’t addressed to white supremacists, but to a different set of antagonists: his fellow pastors. The work Jesus wants to do in us and in our world cannot come about without upsetting our personal moral order, as well as the larger status quo. Jesus didn't get executed because he made too many fish sandwiches. He died because He was just too annoying.

    How is Jesus annoying you today? And what’s it mean?

    Changing the Conversation – Anthony Robinson
    Rediscovering Values – Jim Wallis
    Bodies at Motion and at Rest – Thomas Lynch
  • Where Your Treasure Is...

    Where Your Treasure Is...

    After spending half the night worried about my job, my home value, my IRA, my last checkup – finally I opened the Bible to this Sunday’s Gospel reading and got some relief! “Do not be afraid,” Jesus says. And I feel like I’ve been heard – l am not alone in this thing, God cares for me! What’s more Jesus comes right out and tells me what God’s will is: it’s to have it all, “for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God doesn’t want me in pain, suffering or want – it’s not all a test – it’s about God loving me and taking care of me better than I can ever imagine taking care of my own child.

    So I’ve ordered the cake and the ice cream and I’m blowing up the balloons when it dawns on me: What do I do now that I’ve inherited this kingdom? Jesus is speaking here to his disciples – of which I am one – so what are disciples supposed to do? This leads me to the next line in the reading – which takes all the air out of my balloons: “Sell your possessions and give alms.”

    Are you kidding me? If you want me to stop worrying then pay off my mortgage and credit cards, get me a new car, and fully fund my IRA! How could you possibly ask me to cash out when what I really need is cash in?

    All summer HBO is running a documentary called ‘Lucky.’ It’s a compendium of stories about various people who win the lottery. Some live the life they’ve always dreamed of. Some give it all away. Some spend it as quickly as they got it and end up with nothing. One of the winners sums it all up when he says this, “Winning the lottery is like throwing Miracle Gro on your character – everything is magnified.”

    This passage is about changing our character. If we can’t balance a budget on $50,000 a year, we won’t be able to balance a budget on $500,0000 a year. If we are not generous on $30,000 per year we won’t be generous with $3 million per year. What keeps us from being generous and kind is not what’s in our bank account, it’s what’s in our hearts, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    Jesus’ call to discipleship is to drop all the worry about what we’ll eat, where we’ll live and what we’ll do for work. God is on that. God has it covered. What Jesus wants is to get our eyes off of the idols that clutter our lives and realize that we’ve already got what we’re most actively striving for. Accumulating things is dangerous – it’s not that we have the possession, but that the possession can always have us. We're asked to make our treasure the pursuit of God and set our hearts upon that for this is the best strategy against the worries that keep us up at night.

    Changing the Conversation – Anthony Robinson
    The Appeal – John Grisham
    Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430