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
  • Lord of the Dance

    Lord of the Dance



    In the movie Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta played a young man named Tony from a working class Italian family searching for his identity. With few marketable skills, pressure from his family, too much free time, and a cadre of trouble-seeking childhood friends, Tony needed an outlet. This, he famously found on the dance floor, striking the infamous pose we’ve all imitated. In fact, Tony said one of the only times he ever felt worthwhile was when he was dancing.

    We don’t have to be John Travolta to experience what comes upon us when we do the same thing. Every weekend, countless nightclubs pulse with the sound of dance music. Sure people come to hook up and drink, but they also come to dance. Whether at a disco, bar, or wedding reception, there’s just something about dancing that most of us love. Getting lost in the dance is to go to a place where we can forget the troubles and worries around us. We close our eyes, move to the music, and can be carried off and carried into a frightfully intimate and happy place.
      
    This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It is the day we attempt to describe God.  For some of the ancient church fathers, God was often explained as a dance. The ten-dollar word is perichoresis. This is the idea that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are an eternal dance of joy that is continually inviting others to join in.

    Imagine if God was that place where we are truly able to let go of our problems and worries. Imagine if God was a place where true intimacy is found. Imagine if God was that frightfully happy place for whom we most deeply yearn. Yes, Jesus is the dance. How might we better lose ourselves in Him?

    ----------------
    Reading
    Unbroken – Lauren Hillenbrand
    Made to Stick – Dan and Chip Heath
    The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • God Is Really Real!

    God Is Really Real!



    When I was in high school, my friend Tom and I regularly visited a music venue known as Pine Knob where we made extra money buying and selling tickets to rock concerts. We would stand outside the gates offering to buy surplus tickets from guys who’d been stood up or gals whose friends had been grounded, before turning around and selling these tickets for a few dollars profit – just enough to pay for our own tickets and, of course, a beverage of choice.

    Nearly every time we did this, at least one person would offer to sell us ‘Backstage Passes.’ Yes, these were exclusive tickets that always came with a hefty price tag and looked like they had just been run off some Xerox machine. So we always balked on those suspicious offers. Except that one night, when a little known British band was in town, and a couple of young men with English accents, claiming to be roadies looking for beer money, gave us the opportunity to relieve them of their backstage passes on the cheap.

    Since Tom and I had made our money for the night, we figured we’d take the gamble and give these roadies the chance to complain about how watery Budweiser was, as we exchanged cash for their passes and went in to the show.

    About halfway through the concert, which we enjoyed far away from the stage, my friend Tom looked over at me and said, ‘This band is really amazing! Remember those backstage passes?  Let’s go see if they’re real.’ So we flagged down the closest usher, who pulled out his trusty flashlight, examined both sides of our passes, then straightened his appearance before saying, ‘Oh yes, these are real, come with me gentlemen’.

    As we followed that usher I couldn’t help but be overcome with excitement, ‘Wow, look where we’re going, those roadies weren’t lying, we’re going to meet this band, these backstage passes are real!’

    Pentecost is a bit like this. 

    It’s when we remember that the promises of God are real.

    The God those early disciples read about in the Bible, heard about from their friends, and felt most deeply in their hearts – showed up in a rushing wind and tongues of fire - that God, is real.

    Many of the troubles you and I experience stem from our difficulty in living into this reality. We worry about money, job security, medical challenges, and relationship issues – that ask big questions of our faith: will God take care of us, will we be remembered, is everything really going to be OK? The Pentecost answer is, ‘yes’ – we have not been forgotten, we have not been abandoned, this whole Christianity thing is the real deal.

    Pentecost says don’t be bogged down with life’s anxieties, be buoyed with the reality of God’s presence; the One that’s promised in the Bible, witnessed to by the Eucharistic community, and that we feel in our hearts.

    So how can we live more deeply into these promises today? How might we more completely trust in the pledges God has made to you and me? Given God's presence in our lives - how can we use this assurance to better reach out to the world around us?


    Reading
    Made to Stick – Heath Brothers
    Becoming a Blessed Church – Graham Standish
    The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • God Cannot Not Love You

    God Cannot Not Love You




    I have friends who believe that terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center because of the abhorrent sexual behavior of Americans.

    I have friends who believe that they can do things that will separate them from the love of God.

    And I have a feeling both of these are connected; both assume that God reacts punitively to our bad behavior.

    In this Sunday’s Gospel we see something different.  We hear Jesus praying for his disciples. It is a heart-touching petition in which Jesus pleads that they’d be kept safe from harm and be able to experience the deep joy of God. Jesus is surely aware of what will soon come – Peter denying him and the rest of His disciples abandoning Him. Are there worse sins than these? Yet, in spite of their sin, past, present and future, Jesus is steadfast in his allegiance to them.

    And Jesus is steadfast in His allegiance to us.

    One of the more difficult notions for you and me to get our heads around is that God loves us in our sin. Sure, we, and the whole world, would be better to stop sinning, but it will never separate us from God. God is not a punisher. God is not a leaver. And Jesus’ ministry, in which He steadfastly prays for those who follow Him, continues to this day. This suggests there is no one who is more firmly rooting for you and me than Jesus.

    By all means, quit sinning – now. By all means, embrace the reality that God is not (and cannot) love you any less because of your behavior. God cannot, not love you. That’s God’s job.

    In what ways do we need to get rid of the guilt and relax in the knowledge that God really is on our side?

    Reading
    Made to Stick – Heath
    Rome and Jerusalem – Goodman
    The Gospel of John - Raymond Brown
  • Abide, Abide, Abide!

    Abide, Abide, Abide!


    Once upon a time, when Noah and his ark were adrift on the floodwaters that covered the earth, the animals began to get restless. Life had gotten monotonous. So a contingent of animals came to the skipper and said, ‘Hey Noah! We’re bored! There are no newspapers, the cable’s out, and Gameboys haven’t been invented. When are we finally going to get there?’ Since Noah had no idea how long the trip would last, and because he felt sorry for the animals, he decided to organize some classes.

    One of the classes was on earth science. Animals of all shapes and sizes signed up – even the fish. It was in this class that the fish first learned that in order to survive, they needed to be in water. The fish had no idea that this was the case. And so the other animals began making fun of them, calling them Wetbacks and Waterboys. So after class, the fish quickly swam home and said to their mother, ‘Mom, Noah taught us that since we’re fish, we need to live in water! The other students said we were already wet! Where did this water come from, and what do we need to do to get it?’

    Their mother leaned back and laughed. In a soothing voice she comforted her children saying, ‘My dear ones. You have lived your entire lives underwater. Water is all around us. You don’t feel it because you’re so used to it. You don’t know about it because you’ve never been out of it. So relax, go do your homework, and don’t forget to use the waterproof ink.’

    One of the grandest and most forgotten truths of Christianity is that God is all around us – above us, below us, and in us. Like fish in water, there is nowhere the Living Water is not.

    In Sunday’s Gospel we hear Jesus make this clear, declaring that He abides in us. For you and me, this is something that has been going on for so long we no longer pay it much attention. The presence of God is so consuming we totally lose track of it.

    This can be good and bad.

    At times we feel lost and abandoned. We feel lonely and afraid that God has left the building. We feel like we need something outside of ourselves when what we really need is already there.

    But we can also take heart that as He abides in us we can abide in Him. Yes, there is a difference. While God’s life in us is a matter of fact, our life in Him is up to us. Jesus adjures us to abide, abide, abide in Him!  Pay attention to His presence in us. Stay connected so that we might do the works of love, peace, and reconciliation that He has lined us up to do.

    Of course, Jesus never leaves us – He is in our hearts to stay – but we choose the distance between us. How close are we? Do we need to draw closer? How will we go about our task of abiding this week?

    Reading-
    Poured Out, Filled In – Mark O. Wilson
    Rome and Jerusalem – Martin Goodman
    Hypatia – Charles Kingsley
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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