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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Weddings Performed
  • Getting Through the Pain

    Getting Through the Pain




    For anybody who is in pain, worried about experiencing pain, or concerned about someone who is currently in pain – few things grab our attention more than the possibility that our pain can be taken away.  Physical pain, mental anguish, stress, grief, worry - they all count - and we’re all experiencing one or more of them right now. It causes us to ask the usual questions: Why me? Why now? What next? What For? And maybe, Who’s next?

    So this pain often overtakes our world. It can seem like every movement, thought, and passing moment further envelops us in an endless fog of hurt - is that as true for you as it is me?

    Maybe that’s why Jesus spent so much time healing.

    This Sunday we’ll hear about two instances - a young girl and an older woman whose suffering had consumed their lives. One had to crawl through a crowd to get to Jesus, the other had flat out died. And in each instance, Jesus restored the patient to full health.

    It is in stories like these, for there are many in the Gospels, that you and I see that healing brokenness is one of God’s major concerns - perhaps God’s biggest concern. What if we were asked to move beyond the ‘Why me?’ and ‘What for?’ questions and consider the bigger picture - that they speak of God’s deep desire to reconcile and heal a broken world with and to the Love that created it?

    And while we sit here, mired in our own worlds of hurt, we consider the challenge not to make these stories all about us - and consider the possibility these stories are really meant to point us to others. For we know that getting our eyes off of ourselves and caring for others is the very best way to relieve our own pain.

    So, who is hurting around us? Where is the pain in our circle of influence? How might we better identify and address the pain in our communities and world - and become Jesus’ healing touch for them?
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    Reading
    The Guns of August - Barbara Tuchman
    Drive - Daniel Pink
    The Challenge of Adaptive Change - Ronald Heifetz
  • Surviving Storms

    Surviving Storms




    The painting is called ‘The Storm on the Sea of Galilee’ by Rembrandt van Rijn. And this is about as close as we’ll ever get to it.

    In March of 1990, a group of art thieves walked into the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, outsmarted the guards, and made off with a half a billion dollars worth of paintings, making it the largest single property theft in recorded history.

    The painting is notable in several ways. It’s Rembrandt’s only seascape. It contains 13 disciples, not 12. And the one in the cap toward the bottom is widely believed to be Rembrandt himself. (Click here for a larger version)

    While the debate’s still on regarding the religious devotion of the famous Dutch painter, he certainly displays theological acumen here, by placing himself right where the storyteller wants us to be – in the boat with Jesus.

    This Sunday we will hear the full story in Mark 4, about the voyage across the sea in which Jesus fell sleep while the great storm broke out around Him, sending his disciples into a panic. This is when the 12 came asking, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" – which is a derivation of the questions we often ask God when the world around us is crashing in. We too mistake God’s lack of action with God’s lack of affection.

    However, this story isn’t about the need to wake God up as much as it is about the deep trust that we are to put in God.  It’s a peace so profound it allowed Jesus to dose off. So the moral of the story isn’t, ‘run to Christ when we’re in trouble and He’ll make it go away,’ but, ‘run to Christ so we might learn the source of His calm.’

    Where do you find this calm? What does it feel like? How might we seek it, more diligently, in the week ahead?

    ----------------------------
    Reading
    Drive – Daniel Pink
    Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postman
    The Guns of August – Barbara Tuchman
  • Spiritual Life Need a Personal Trainer?

    Spiritual Life Need a Personal Trainer?



    My friend Todd has a personal trainer.

    Three times a week, he stops by the gym and is put through a rigorous workout that includes all sorts of exercises that condition and buff his body into the kind of frame he desires. Todd is a very smart, busy man who relies on his trainer to put together the right kind of program to help him grow and develop.

    One day after a workout I asked Todd, “Does your trainer show you a lot of different kinds of exercises that are more effective than the ones the rest of us do?” “No,” said Todd, “the main reason I have a trainer is not because of what he teaches me, but of how he pushes me. I know how to do all the exercises, I just need help doing them.”

    Isn’t this spiritual life a bit like this?

    In this Sunday’s Gospel we are given a couple of parables that cut to the heart of what Todd is up to. They are stories taken from the agricultural context so familiar to the original audience, which point to the idea of growth – and the importance God puts on the development and advancement of our spiritual lives.

    It’s been said that the faith life of the average North American Christian has developed little since Sunday School. Polls that test biblical literacy seem to support this (my favorite: 1 in 10 Christians believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife). This sense that our spiritual lives should take precedent over the development of our physical bodies or our careers is not widely shared both in the culture or in the Church.

    It is poignant that Jesus did not spend much time showing us how to be physically fit or how to climb the corporate ladder. He commended us to pay the highest attention to our spiritual lives – knowing this would lead to the most fulfilling and satisfying life of all.  Yet we know we live in a culture that actively works against this. Indeed, growing more deeply into discipleship is life’s most difficult endeavor.

    So do we need a personal trainer? Or some other regimen that allows us to take our spiritual lives as seriously as we take the development of other areas of our lives? What might a concrete step toward deeper discipleship look like? Is summertime a good time to experiment?

    As your pastor - a reminder that regular visits to the spiritual gym are recommended, and personal trainers are always on hand to assist.

    Reading
    HHhH – Laurent Binet
    Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postman
    Mark – NT Wright
  • In Defense of Suffering

    In Defense of Suffering



    In the classic novel ‘Hypatia,’ a highly intelligent pagan found himself fleeing a war zone.  He hitched a ride on a boat manned by Christians, who were spiriting away a cadre of injured soldiers. At first, the pagan mocked the Christians. He found their theology illogical and primitive. Yet during the course of the 3-month voyage the pagan began to change, until finally he launched into a memorable speech, “While I still find much of the Christian faith mysterious and even nonsensical, I am utterly taken aback by what I have witnessed.  You Christians have tirelessly tended to these sick men. They woke you in the middle of the night, and you comforted them. You handled even the most unreasonable demands with kindness. You have deprived yourselves of food so that those without might have something to eat. I have never seen such love in action, such intentional suffering for the sake of others, and I too, fear that the call of the Galilean has a grip upon me.”

    The history of Christianity shows us few times where more progress has been made than those instances in which great suffering has been involved. Across Christian history, and in our personal histories, suffering often leads us to God, and can lead others to God as well.

    In Sunday’s Gospel we find Jesus suffering. He is under assault from fans who want healing and foes who want Him stopped. Jesus suffers the exhaustion and anguish of trying to please everybody, along with the ceaseless anxiety that a pursued deer must feel in the hunter’s crosshairs. Yet through Jesus’ suffering the whole world benefits.

    Yes, we each have our own sufferings. Some we have willingly undertaken, others we had absolutely no say in. And as we study how Jesus moved through suffering, not avoiding it or causing it to disappear, we see that He simply walked in and through it, encouraged by the notion He was doing what He was supposed to do.

    As you and I move through our own sufferings we note that God does not promise to take it away from us either. Instead, God promises to be with us – through it all. For God uses suffering, for us, and for others. How are our present sufferings shaping us and the people around us? How is God using our suffering to further the mission of peace, reconciliation, and healing? Might we, too, bear our best witness when we walk with strength through adversity?

    --------------------
    Reading
    HHhH – Laurent Binet
    Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
    Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postman
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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