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
  • Got Faith?

    Got Faith?


    ‘Got Faith?’ It was more than just a cheeky t-shirt slogan for Jesus’ excited disciples when they came to him in Luke 17 asking, ‘Increase our faith!’ But instead of laying hands on them, re-baptizing them, or teaching them a secret ‘faith prayer’ – Jesus said something we find curious, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed you can tell a tree to plant itself in the sea, and it will.’

    It’s a funny answer, and it’s a funny request.

    Funny request, because as you and I have previously read in Luke, the disciples already had a lot of faith. In fact, they had pretty much turned into super heroes – In Luke 9 they had ministered to the multitudes - casting out demons, healing people. and their preaching had met with great success! What more ‘faith’ could the disciples want? What more could Jesus give? - which helps us understand Jesus’ answer.

    When Jesus points out the amazing power of faith – that a mustard seed is all that’s needed to displace the elements – He’s not so much saying that it’s faith they don’t have – as much as he’s saying, it doesn’t take much of what they already have to do what they want to do.

    Every day we go about our lives – living God’s life for us – and we find our fears threatening to over take us – will we get sick, lose our jobs, lose our houses, be bad parents, continue destructive habits – and we cry out, ‘Lord give us faith!’ What Jesus tells us is just what he told the disciples - we already have all we need to do what we’re supposed to do. Jesus lives inside of us. We have the ability to take whatever comes our way and live through it to the glory of God.

    Jesus wants to affirm us, just as He did His disciples, that we need not be afraid of taking on what we’re being called to take on. We have the ability in us to be good workers, good parents, to lead Godly lives – we can get through our sicknesses, our unemployment and whatever catastrophe comes our way. It’s because we don’t walk alone. We don’t need a new book, a special prayer, or another seminar. We need to look to the One who dwells in our hearts – and concentrate on His presence and purpose for which He’s already given us more than enough faith.


    Reading
    Sins of Scripture – John Spong
    Radical – David Platt
    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
  • Sharing

    Sharing


    Who’s going to heaven and who’s going to hell?

    In a nation fascinated with end times and the judgment day – that birthed the Millerites in the 1800’s and put the ‘Left Behind’ series atop of the New York Times bestseller list today – it can be easy for Americans to read one of the most popular parables in the Bible, the one about the Rich Man and Lazarus, and get so caught up in the eschatological details that its plain message becomes obscured.

    Our desire to seek religions that clearly tell us who’s in and who’s out may be an expression of our fear. It may be our pride. It may be our lack of self-esteem. Or it may be our unconscious desire to preoccupy ourselves with conflict as a way of avoiding the difficult demands that Christ puts on us – not the least of which is the point of this parable: sharing.

    This well-known story, unique to Luke, tells about a well-fed and well-dressed Rich Man, and a very poor, suffering man named Lazarus. The latter lay at the rich man’s gate while he sumptuously feasts on and ignores Lazarus. So after they both die, Lazarus is in heaven and the Rich Man is in hell. We note the freaky features of this arrangement; the two are able to talk but not visit, the great patriarch Abraham is readily on call to chat, and not a pitcher, bucket or cold water hose is preferred as relief from hell’s fires, but a finger dab of water will do just fine.

    Libraries full of imaginative speculation and theological generalization about heaven, hell, and judgment have emerged from these details, but precious little gets hammered home about the main point. The Rich Man was condemned for being indifferent to the plight of the poor. With more than enough opportunity, but not nearly enough concern for his neighbor, the Rich Man found himself in unbearable suffering. While some take this literally, others metaphorically, Jesus seems to be saying that the place this indifference takes us is not a happy one.

    This week, as world leaders and aid workers flocked to the United Nations to give glowing updates on the Millennium Development Goals, we are reminded that the Lazarus’ of the world are still sitting outside our gates. And the Church has no option. We are not a body of indifference, but a body of hope, the Body of Christ, called to plunge itself deeper into the center of the world’s suffering and anguish, where the rich see, hear and share. In what ways are we fighting back indifference and heeding the voices of those laying outside our gates?

    Reading
    Radical – David Platt
    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
    My Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor
  • A Wise Investment

    A Wise Investment


    The atheists who once lived next door used to say that Christianity is one of the poorest investments anyone can make. You awaken each morning to pore over an incomprehensible book and talk to an invisible friend, tie up hours a week in frivolous fellowship, and give away 10% of your income. Life is short, why waste so much on fairy tales and worthless investments?

    For them, Sunday’s Gospel reading, and the Parable of the Dishonest Manager, holds great appeal. A corrupt caretaker learns he’s getting canned so he cuts deals with customers further shafting his boss, yet endearing this embezzler to his clients who, we gather, will return the favor down the road. Smart cookie. I guess there’s one Bible story worth reading.

    While I share with my neighbors a great deal of their appreciation and interpretation, we would take different turns at the fork when we compare our notions of wealth and its purpose.

    For Christians, our wealth lies in things not seen – love, relationships, honesty, reputation, community, peace, hope, and resurrection – we have nothing more valuable than these. We understand Jesus to be commending the proper use of money when it’s invested in these things, like the ones our dishonest manager chose; relationships, community building, and bolstering his master’s reputation (after all, how much would we love our credit card company if it cut our bill in half?).

    Like fish in water, you and I are surrounded by notions that our wealth is really in something else; the things we can see, our cars, homes, IRAs, jewelry and pantries. All too often I fail to remember that this wealth is best used to build the other kind of wealth – the things I cannot see - and truly value. Yes we, like the dishonest manager, need to use all of our resources to secure our future. How can we invest the things we see in the things we don’t see? In what ways are we investing too much in this life, which is temporary and passing away, and not enough in the Kingdom of God, which is eternal and coming into being?

    Reading
    A Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor
    Radical – David Platt
    Luke – N.T. Wright
  • Saving Sheep

    Saving Sheep


    Every once in a while we get the chance to really dislike someone. Maybe they are famously discourteous, like Simon Cowell. Maybe they give the impression of being spoiled, dim-witted and egotistical, like Paris Hilton. Or maybe they have done enormously hurtful things, like Kim Jong Il. However history shows that if we really want to inspire loathing, there should be an element of religion in the mix. Perhaps that’s why we’re so incensed at Florida pastor Terry Jones.

    Jones is the small church pastor in Gainesville who plans to burn 200 copies of the Koran in front of his church on Saturday. He has been denigrated and criticized by nearly everyone. The White House, the Secretary of State, and the military say it’s a stupid idea that will inspire Anti-American violence and harm U.S. soldiers. Muslims have threatened Jones’ life. And Christians have urged Jones to cancel the event, and asked him to see what he’s doing in the light of the Gospel as brainless, divisive, incendiary, and hateful.

    Yet Jones is (at least at the time of this writing) standing firm in his conviction that he is called by God to burn the holy books, to send ‘Radical Islam’ a message, and to carry out his understanding of the Christian faith. We can call him what we want, but at the very least Pastor Jones is a lost sheep.

    This Sunday we will hear the Gospel story of Jesus welcoming sinners and outcasts as pious religious leaders look on and grumble. Jesus tells a story of a shepherd who loses a sheep, leaves 99 alone in the wilderness, and goes off to search. The shepherd is so happy to find his missing sheep that he calls his friends to celebrate. The implication being that Jesus came, not to impress the religious, but to go to incredible lengths to save the lost.

    After all, a lost sheep is one who has, for whatever reason, wandered away from the flock. Perhaps they weren’t paying attention, got distracted, or were ambushed by an enemy. A lost sheep may be content on its own and not even know its lost, for a season, but it is in a sheep’s nature to ultimately want to go back home - to be with the flock, the shepherd, and a place of security and warmth.

    Despite Pastor Jones’ twisted theology and dangerous practice, when we ask the question, ‘What Would Jesus Do?,’ we cannot doubt that the Lord would drop everything to find a lost pastor, hug him when he found him, and throw a party for him when he got home. This is not to say Christians should hold their tongues and passively stand by as Pastor Jones spreads his hateful convictions. Christians must stand up and set the record straight. However, we must do so in love, remembering that just as God is more merciful than judgmental, God’s followers must be also. It is quite a temptation to join in on this feeding frenzy, but we must remember that just as the world watches Pastor Jones’ actions, it also sees Christendom’s reactions. Pastor Jones’ enemy is radical Islam, which he is choosing to attack. Our enemy is the Pastor Jones’ of the world, who we must choose to love.


    Reading
    My Stroke of Insight – Dr. Jill Taylor
    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
    The Four Day Work Week – Timothy Ferriss
  • The Everyday Adventure

    The Everyday Adventure


    Imagine we’re involved in a plane crash in the snowy mountains. We survivors on one side of the mountain suspect there are injured passengers on the other. A doctor organizes a search party over the dangerous, blizzardy terrain and says in order to come you’ll have to leave behind your family, your possessions, and realize there are no guarantees of comfort, safety or even survival.

    In this scenario it’s not hard to understand Jesus’ terse words to his disciples in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, after all, Jesus is headed to Jerusalem to take on the most important work in the world. He says that in order to follow we must have a willingness to put our families in subordination to the Gospel, a commitment to self-denial by taking up our cross, and then we have to give up all of our possessions. We wince at the idea of following through with this, and we suspect that the vast majority of Christians throughout history haven’t been able to do it either.

    Then we remember that the vast majority of Christians haven’t plucked out their eyes or cut off their hands when they’ve sinned either. Yes, there is a fair amount of hyperbole going on here, which, through the years has not been helpful to the Christian cause. It has been fairly argued that the language of cross bearing has been corrupted by overuse. It’s got little to do with severing family ties, willfully seeking out suffering, or seeking to live in squalor. Carrying the cross is what we do voluntarily as a consequence of our commitment to Jesus.

    Sure, our everyday life with Christ is not the adventure it was for the early disciples, but, our commitment to voluntarily follow – to offer up all we are and all we do – opens up this same world of possibility. This means mothers and grandmothers who work hard to provide and care for kids and spouses, your dedication to the Christian virtues of devotion, commitment, and loving-kindness do not go unnoticed. On this Labor Day weekend we remind ourselves that our work as accountants, teachers, engineers, salesmen, lawyers, doctors, bus drivers, librarians, musicians and retirees is our way of offering the whole of our lives to Christ, and offer their own unique opportunities for us to carry the cross. How we conduct our everyday lives matters a whole lot to God and makes a difference in the world.

    Name the crosses we’re facing in our vocation. In what ways can we bear them as Christ would?


    Reading
    Genesis – Karen Armstrong
    Wild Swans – Jung Chang
    The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work – Alaine de Botton
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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