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
  • Whose Plans?

    Whose Plans?



    Celebrity divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson and Jesus were having coffee.

    ‘So what’s God say about divorce,’ said Mitchelson, “is it legal?’

    Jesus said, ‘Duh. You’ve been making a fortune helping people get divorced – if anyone knows it’s legal it’s you.’

    ‘Ok,’ said Mitchelson, ‘Let me clarify, I’m wondering more about the morality of it.’

    Jesus decided against telling a lawyer joke and instead said: ‘Actually divorce is just one of the things God hates. Poverty, injustice hatred, stealing, lying, and a host of others are not part of God’s plan.’

    ‘Then why do they happen?’ asked Mitchelson

    Jesus pointed to a mirror on the wall and said, ‘Marvin, look in that mirror. You know how broken we humans are. We’re constantly making selfish choices. And they have huge consequences. When we make choices based on selfishness, fear, and insecurity they not only affect us, but everyone, the guilty and the innocent, form small towns to empires, for generations and generations.’

    Mitchelson groaned.

    ‘Oh, don’t worry,’ said Jesus. ‘See that newborn in his mother’s arms over there? He’s filled with curiosity, wonder, and utter dependence upon his mother. He’s vulnerable, open, and honest about what he can do and what he can’t. The answer is right there.’

    ‘What do you mean?’ asked Mitchelson.

    ‘It’s quite simple. Power isn’t in strength but in vulnerability. Happiness isn’t in acquiring, but in giving. And true life is not in protecting ourselves, but in opening ourselves up. It’s all about having faith that something much bigger than you is at work, has a plan in place, and is working overtime to make sure everything works out for you.’

    ‘Well,’ said Mitchelson, ‘What if I don’t like that plan?’

    ‘That,’ said Jesus, ‘Is the whole problem.’
  • Salted with Fire

    Salted with Fire


    My friend called in the middle of the night to say the pain had returned.

    The heartbreak that was supposed to be over had reared its head. And the dark, stubborn bearer of doubt and fear dropped his backpack on the couch, put the kettle on, and began stretching the minutes into hours. He unpacked his shovel to dig up all that had passed. Then got out the handcuffs and the Kleenex. It would be a long night.

    What do we make of these times? How do we process the recurring sadness? The melancholia bred from the stress of unknowing? How do we cope with the paralyzing and the haunting - those darts and dragnets of uncertainty with which we are forced to cohabit?

    “Everyone will be salted with fire,” promises Jesus in Sunday’s gospel. And as tempted as we are to avoid, medicate, sleep through, and sidestep all that is stinging, nagging, torturing, and debilitating, please, don’t.

    If for only one reason, the darkness comes to do a bittersweet work in us. Like the pushups that bust our biceps but bring second looks at the beach. The fire salts us because there’s work to be done than cannot be done any other way. Easy Street is closed. Detour ahead. Remember the celestial value of what’s being bred in you, as the poet said; our faults are the most interesting parts of us.

    Also remember that you are never alone. The Divine Presence is as invisible as it is utterly unable to leave. Yes, we’ve all been there. Some are there right now. So always keep in mind that the wrestling match you are having with your demons is not as confidential as you suspect. Others see. And we relate. Yep, we’re cheering for you. So draw on the energy above and beyond. And go ahead, inspire us.
  • Share It

    Share It


    “Now that you’ve written your first book, how are you going to market it?” asked the publisher, as we discussed quantities and prices of my brand new book.

    I told her that I was going to record 15, 3-minute YouTube videos (one for each chapter of the book), and put them up on a website and offer them as free downloads. I also told her I’d like my share of the proceeds to go to charity.

    The silence was deafening.

    As our conversation continued I had to admit to her that this was not a thought-through marketing strategy, and that protecting the copyright and maximizing sales and profits was not at the forefront of my mind.

    What I really wanted was for people to read the book and be transformed.

    As it turned out, this was actually a rather savvy marketing strategy, as the book has gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies and be among one of the top sellers in its niche.

    It has also made me very happy and fulfilled as an author who wrote a book to help others.

    That book project taught me a lesson that the self-promotion, circle-the-wagons protectionism approach to life is surpassed by one of generosity, humility, and concern for others.

    Give it away. Make someone else’s day.

    Don’t worry about yourself, worry about the work.
  • Paying Attention to Divine Things

    Paying Attention to Divine Things


    I got another call for money this week.

    Actually several. As you might suspect, the most frequent calls I get at the office are from those seeking financial assistance. Electricity bills, car payments, evictions, you name it I’ve heard it. Churches are prime targets for those who need a quick buck. And discerning between the scammers and those in genuine need is a skill they didn’t teach me in seminary.

    After more than a dozen years of doing this I’ve developed thick skin. I try to get off the phone as quickly as possible. I hand messages off to others to vet for me. I have become callous and thick skinned. Until this week.

    God has been dealing with me.

    While meditating on this Sunday’s gospel I have been forced to ask: what are the most divine things in our lives? If we answered relationships we get a gold star. Relationships not just with those we know, we love, and we care about, but with strangers, clerks, even beggars.

    Every relationship is a divine encounter because every relationship offers the opportunity to love God – for, as we know, in loving others, we love God.

    How do we not just tolerate, but treasure that relationship with the operator at the cable TV company, that overworked receptionist at the clinic, and that disorganized person asking for money?

    The hard work of carrying the cross has little to do with hauling lumber, and a whole lot to do with how we forgive, reconcile, seek understanding, and offer respect in our everyday relationships.
  • Do You Dream Too Big?

    Do You Dream Too Big?


    Do you dream too big?

    Probably not. Actually, even we hopeful, achievement-oriented Americans routinely overestimate the capabilities, competence, and expertise of others and consistently underestimate our own.

    For a variety of reasons we set goals and dream dreams that are too conservative, almost always to avoid the let downs and put downs that result from failing.

    But we are created and called to dream big. We are set apart and sent out to do really important things. And God desperately wants us to realize that we have the potential to make big dreams come true.

    In Sunday’s gospel, Jesus surprises those around him by healing two people who are not Jewish. ‘Wait a minute,’ we can hear the crowd say, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be the Jewish Messiah? Why pay so much attention to those outside the tribe?’ Jesus is trying to enlarge the expectations and vision of those around him – to see that God is up to something much, much bigger than they could imagine.

    And that’s true for you and me. God wants us to dream bigger. God is only limited by our ability to dream and imagine.

    In what ways do we dream too small? What big lies do we tell ourselves about not being good enough, smart enough, or good looking enough?  Who are we trying to please and why? Whose permission are we awaiting?

    Naming these is the first step in overcoming our fear of failure and embracing more fully what we are called and created to do: dream big.
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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