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
  • Malicious or Selfish?

    Malicious or Selfish?


    My friend is suing his next door neighbor... his cousin.

    He says his dog repeatedly wanders into his yard and ‘causes problems’ - which include digging holes in his lawn, terrorizing his cats, and depositing substantial amounts of excrement in very inconvenient places.

    His attempts to solve the problem have gone nowhere, in fact he’s convinced that his cousin is taking great pleasure in inflicting such distress. This keeps him up at night and fuels his rising blood pressure.

    It’s not hard to see where this is going: first the cops, then the lawyers, maybe a fence, possibly relocation.

    One way around this is to attempt the empathetic exercise of suspecting that our opponent is rarely malicious, but usually selfish - and perhaps even unconsciously so.

    Consider my friend’s cousin as someone who is convinced he's a good neighbor and a superior pet owner who, unlike other dog minders, gives his pet the freedom to roam the neighborhood, and fully expects those around him to allow a dog to be a dog, and look with grace and charity to one of God’s creatures and his natural habits. 

    In fact, very rarely do people consider themselves tormentors or afflicters, rather our inherent self-centeredness, which allows us to be more aware of what people are doing to us than what we are doing to others, is at fault.

    On Sunday we will hear the apostle Paul say, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2)

    Our lizard brains constantly tempt us to think less of others, take misunderstandings as sleights, and find offense where no offense is intended. Self-centeredness, not maliciousness, is what’s most commonly to blame for the run-ins, cut-offs, and harsh disagreements we routinely encounter.

    Thus, our faith asks us: How might we live more deeply into the generosity of spirit and the willingness to try to understand, and perhaps think more positively of our opponent? What might an empathetic exercise with our enemy look like? How might we envision selfishness - not maliciousness - as the cause of our pain? 
  • When We Don't Get Picked...

    When We Don't Get Picked...


    After a grueling morning of auditions the director decided the lead role in the production should go to Jessica.

    The other four finalists hung their heads, only one of them saying, 'Nice job Jess, you're going to be amazing!'

    The emotional let down that occurs when we don't get picked usually overwhelms any sense of altruism or good will we may have for those who fared better. We get it. It's natural.

    But since, on average, we don't get picked more than we do, it's really important for us to cultivate a generous sensibility around these many occasions when others achieve more than we do.

    In Sunday's gospel we hear the familiar story of those who work many hours and are paid just as much as those who work a few. It's unfair and more than a bit irritating. But an idea here is that every day there are winners and losers, and you and I can chose to sulk over our misfortune, or look with appreciation on whatever win there might be - choosing to rejoice in generosity and achievement rather than sinking into self-pity.

    We have a few options here:
    • We can practice empathy, putting ourselves in the shoes of the winner and looking at things from their perspective: how happy they must feel, what plans they must be making! What horizons have changed for them as a result of this achievement?
    • We can also look at the big picture. There have been times when we have won. We have worn the olive wreath. And somewhere down the line we will win again. In light of the victories we've achieved, shouldn't we be happy when someone else does?
    • And finally, we can look to God. Jesus reminds us that there is some sense of order and providence in the world - that God's in control. And the important thing is his presence among us - God is with us through wins and losses

    I know, I know, rejoicing in the good fortune of others is hard. But this is what being a disciple is about - we can tell because if there's one thing Jesus promised about following him it would be difficult.

    So how are we rejoicing in the achievements of others? How might we better cultivate a sense of 'other-awareness' in the many times we lose in life?

    We lift our hands in praise when we get picked, we should try to do something similar when others do.
  • Who Is Desperately Trying to Forgive You?

    Who Is Desperately Trying to Forgive You?


    Maybe it's an ex boyfriend? Girlfriend? 
    A former landlord?
    Someone from a lawsuit?
    Is it a poor person who is lacking the resources you have consumed?

    The easy answer we so want to give is nobody. 

    But we rightly suspect that this response merely masks our unwillingness to engage in the valuable yet always uncomfortable exercise of self-reflection.

    Wise Christians through the ages have contended that a deeper knowledge of ourselves always yields a deeper knowledge of God - and that when we are more intimately acquainted with those we have offended, we have an easier time forgiving those who offend us.

    It's good to know why people are mad at us, whether or not we've done enough to patch things up, and have a better understanding of how we might avoid offending others down the road. 
  • Go Ahead and Quit

    Go Ahead and Quit


    Robert was incensed at his mechanic.

    He had gone in for some repair work and given her the car key before sitting down in the waiting room.  A half hour later, when he asked about the progress, the mechanic said she hadn’t been able to pull the car in because Robert hadn’t given her the key.

    Furious, Robert swore he had. And the disagreement went back and forth, escalating when the locksmith came out and furnished a $200 replacement.

    Realizing that things could go in a number of directions, Robert chose the difficult road: he would not vent his anger, nor seek revenge, but he would take the road less traveled, take the hit, pay for the mishap, and move on.

    Often times, the hardest thing you and I will do today is give in.

    This is the difficult work of reconciliation - it’s the cross-carrying, disciple-making, world-changing power of humility and mercy. It’s not codependency, it’s not weakness. On the contrary, working to protect the sanctity of our relationships often comes from a place of divine strength - and is what you and I were put here to do. It is hard. It is painful. It needs to happen more often.

    Friends, Jesus gives us the permission, and vocation, to go ahead and quit the worldly ways of vengeance, wrath, and outrage. He modeled it and equips us to follow. In what ways is the Lord calling us today, to make amends by giving in? 
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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