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
  • Get Up and Do Not Be Afraid

    Get Up and Do Not Be Afraid


    While a teenager driving up north with 3 friends, Mike, the driver, decided to veer off the highway and go off-roading on a sandy, two-track. 

    We were having an absolute ball skidding between pine trees, kicking up sand in the turns, and enjoying a litany of roller coaster hills.
     
    Then, going way too fast up one of those sandy hills, we crested - only to discover a big pine tree right in front of us, too close to avoid and too tall to run over.  Adrenaline gushed, there were gasps and fierce grips as we slammed into the tree. I remember opening my eyes and seeing my friends. Silence gripped us as we all looked out the front windshield to see we’d bowled over and mounted the huge tree. And all we could do was sit there for a very long time.
     
    I don’t remember what broke our silence, but it could have been the same words Jesus used in Sunday’s gospel: ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’
     
    Although Jesus was talking to his disciples who had just witnessed The Transfiguration, these are words for all of us faithful souls who have had life-altering experiences that resist explanation. Maybe it was a car wreck, the death of a child, the loss of a job, or a disastrous business venture. They are life’s ‘what was that all about?’ experiences, and God wants us to know that we never, ever, go through it alone.
     
    We note that Jesus’ words here are not about explanation as much as they’re about invitation. You and I don’t know why the unexplainable occurs but we do know that everything happens for a reason and in the full sunshine of God’s presence. And in the aftermath of many of these instances we can find the words we need to hear to move forward: get up, and do not be afraid.
  • Love Your Enemies

    Love Your Enemies


    Like all of Jesus’ commands, the idea that one is to love one’s enemies is not intended to stifle our authentic selves, compromise our humanity, or limit our freedom. Rather, the notion that one can look with love upon those who do not share our conviction is meant to ‘give us life, and life more abundantly.’

    It has been said that the leading cause of mental illness is unforgiveness. My favorite definition is that unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. We do well to understand the harmful effects of harboring resentments, including the hatred of our enemies. Mario Puzo said, ‘Never hate your enemies, it affects your judgment.’ Hate can make us into bitter people. It can contribute to no ends to our anxiety and stress. It can take us far off course of our life-quest, ‘to love one another as Christ loves us.’

    After all, you and I were created to love. We find our highest and best fulfillments and pleasures in showing love to others. When we love we touch our deepest selves. Of course it’s counter-cultural – everything that taps into our higher source is – and that’s just it: hating panders to our lower selves. And that is not where deep fulfillment lies.

    Who is our enemy? What will it take to love them? It may start with a pledge not to hate them for 2 hours. It may never get any farther than our hope, one day, to pray for them. But the sooner we decide to go down this road the sooner we will be able to embrace the wholeness Jesus has for us.

    Reading
    Do the Work - Steven Pressfield
    Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow

    Switch – Dan and Chip Heath
  • Truth

    Truth


    My friend got pulled over for speeding. He was doing 88 in a 55.

    While still at the scene he called his lawyer – he was going to fight it. On his day in court his lawyer produced evidence that the police car that tracked my friend’s speed did not have proper air pressure in one of its tires. The speed my friend was driving, then, was deemed inaccurate. The ticket was dismissed.

    The guilty go free – don’t you hate that?

    We hate it because it happens so often. We live in a world where crooked dictators walk and well-heeled drug dealers get off scot free. We’re not happy about this. And neither is God.

    In Sunday’s gospel we hear Jesus call on the carpet the kind of wiggling and wrangling that not only infuriates us, but is so much a part of our modern legal and political worlds. Jesus tells us it’s not enough to obey human laws that can never fully capture the essence of it all, but that we have a higher obligation to truth.

    And it is a truth that you and I are scared of – which is why we are constantly trying to wriggle our way out of it. ‘I don’t deserve a ticket!’ said my friend, ‘I’m a good driver,’ and he really believes it. Do we think this deceit will have a detrimental effect on him – or at least the greater motoring public?  Maybe. Probably.

    Jesus wants you and me to look at the ways we rationalize, diminish, sweep away, and refuse to fully consider the truths around us. God is trying to tell you the truth right now. What is it? How will you find out?

    Jesus doesn’t want to do this to make us feel guilty (we do that rather well on our own), rather Jesus is out to liberate us and make us truly free, giving us a more abundant life, which always begins with honesty and truth.

    So what are the lies we’re living behind? What are we trying to wiggle our way out of? Do we know? Can we trust someone to tell us? Can we pray that dangerous prayer: ‘Lord, show me your truth?’ Do it for yourself, and for those you love.

    ---------------------

    Reading
    Do the Work! – Steven Pressfield
    Matthew for Everyone – NT Wright

    Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow
  • Age of Anxiety

    Age of Anxiety


    When I was in high school I had no less than a dozen of my friends’ phone numbers memorized. Today I can hardly remember where I parked.

    Yet at 51 my attempt to chalk it up to old age doesn’t quite wash – because I know it’s got nothing to do with my age and everything to do with our age – the age of anxiety.

    You and I live in stressful times. A time of devolution perhaps in which anxiety and worry may be causing us to actually reverse our development. Social scientists tell us our brains are being re-calibrated so that our abilities to listen, pay attention, and thus, think are becoming seriously compromised. Can you remember the last time you spent the afternoon undistracted as you read a book? Count the number of smartphone apps that have to do with list-making and time efficiency, it’s about half. Because when we’re under stress we make lists and we make lists because we aren’t listening and we’re not thinking.

    This has detrimental effects on nearly every aspect of our lives. Businesses go south, relationships fail, each one of us can come up with at least one example of how our exposure to stress and anxiety has damaged our ability to really listen, pay attention, and think about the things that matter most.

    In Sunday’s gospel you and I hear Jesus call us salt and light – a people who enhance and bring illumination to the world by being truly who we are and authentically present in the world. These are graces that God has worked inside of us for which we cannot take credit. We are to be salt and be light – and the only way we can lose our saltiness and illumination is to stop being what we are.  The call of the Gospel is to be who we are.

    In an age of anxiety this becomes a big deal. It means taking the time to think, listen and pay attention – to be – time to understand what that ‘be-ingness’ is all about. It means contemplating our self-image and self-understanding in the light of our faith.

    This also means putting in safeguards to curb distraction. Engaging in intentional practices that keep us focused on the things that matter – prayer, meditation, and Scripture. It means being slow to accept distraction (which is often fueled by the fear that we might be missing something) and instead rest secure that in God we are held, there is no fear, and what we may be missing is not worth the price.

    As we know Jesus, who also lived in anxious times, spent a great deal of his life engaged in the intentional practices I just mentioned. He kept his sanity, deeply loved others, and saved the world.

    Yep, that's how he did it, how about us?


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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