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
  • Do You Complain?

    Do You Complain?


    My friend Brandon is an amazingly talented soldier.

    He’s a Green Beret, an ace marksman, and consistently ranks tops in his class in fitness, strategy, and scholastics. He’s the best at his game - and he knows it.

    Out on deployment, a crucial mission arose and his superior named his six, top soldiers for the assignment. Brandon was not one of them. And he was not happy.

    He pulled his superior aside and said, “I know this is a crucial assignment. And you know that there’s not a more qualified, talented soldier on that squad than me. Why didn’t you choose me? Why didn’t I get selected?”

    His superior said, “Sure you’re the most talented soldier on the squad. But you’re also the biggest complainer. I named this squad, in part, to see how you’d react. And instead of saying, ‘While you’re gone I’m going to resupply and organize things so we’ll be in better shape upon your return,’ you pulled me aside and acted like a prima donna. This makes me even more confident in my decision. And until you learn that you’re part of a team, this is how things will stay.”

    When Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches” he’s saying we’re all connected. We're part of a team, there's no room for prima donnas, for the greatest among us are those who serve.

    As part of the Vine some of us are being pruned. Some are waiting for fruit to appear. Some are producing fruit that we're really proud of. But we are all part of something greater. 


    So be encouraged friends. Let’s give pause to complaining. We’re part of life’s most fulfilling task: gratefully receiving the kingdom being brought into the world. 
  • What's God Want Me to Do?

    What's God Want Me to Do?


    What’s God want me to do?

    Ever asked that?

    Join the club...
    Since the most important thing many of us will do today is attempt to hear God’s voice.

    After all, hearing God’s voice is arguably the most important, and thus most difficult job, you and I have. We suspect this because the water we swim is one of unprecedented distraction, diversion, and detour. The ‘worldly forces’ that St. Paul and others warn us against are hard at work in the ways they seek to keep good people from doing good things. We see these forces tirelessly laboring, many of them economic, that have strong, vested interests, in you and I reciting their scripts.

    But the heart of the spiritual life is hearing and heeding our own scripts. You know, that little voice inside that only you can hear. It’s steered you right before, and it seeks to do so again. As the Book of Proverbs says, ‘the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord.’ We know  God guides, directs, advises, and channels the Spirit through us. Indeed, we are God’s home.

    This fits in neatly with what we’re up to on Sunday. It’s ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ - fittingly, it’s our Bishop’s visitation. He's our shepherd and even has the shepherd’s crook to prove it. Bishops embody for us the presence of the One who loves, cares and guides us.

    However, if you’re like me, you may wish God spoke a bit louder and clearer at times. Because that doesn’t always happen, and because the continual job of the growing Christian is discernment, I’ve found it helpful to parse and test the voices.

    I’ve jotted down some questions I’ve found helpful in making up my mind as we decide, ‘is this me or is this God?’ As I’m thinking about direction, I ask:

    • Which alternative gives the most peace?
    • What do your friends say?
    • What do those closest to you think?
    • Looking at a longitudinal map of your life, how does it fit in?
    • Does it ‘feel’ right?
    • Does it elicit feelings of dream or nightmare?
    • Does it excite you?
    • Does it depress you?
    • What does it feel like in the morning? Night? Next week?
    • Does it sound like ‘God’ or ‘me’?
    • Is it a ‘hard road’ or an ‘easy road?’ (Many times, God leads us on the hard one)
    • And finally, to the best of your ability imagine, were Jesus sitting near you, what would he say?

    Know that the prayers of your priest, parish leaders, and bishop are with you as you do this hard work, the continual spiritual discipline of discernment.

  • Finding Our Eddys

    Finding Our Eddys


    This time of year often brings back memories of Spring canoeing.

    I remember idle hours spent drifting around meandering bends, occasionally interspersed with the technical challenge of a rapid - those places where the terrain becomes steep and big rocks pop up turning the water white and sending it forward like a jet. 

    At the end of those rapids a tranquil oasis can often be found called an ‘eddy.’ This is an undisturbed part of a river shielded by a rock or log where the water is placid and calm. Canoers frequently seek out eddys to regroup or rest from the chaos of shooting the rapids. Eddys are places to get your bearings and re-center.

    I wonder if that’s what the newly resurrected Jesus had in mind when he kept re-appearing to his disciples? 

    In our Bible readings last weekend and this, he made a big deal about wishing his haggard followers ‘Peace.’ Perhaps Jesus was creating an eddy for them to re-center around who they were and what they were doing.

    In fact, one of our biggest challenges today is finding eddys - those places where we can chill and open ourselves up to the kind of centering that needs to happen for us to truly be present to ourselves and the world.

    Jesus kept wishing his disciples peace because this is not our default setting, it’s something we need to work on with intent and discipline.

    Where are our eddys? How important are they - and what are we doing to spend more time there?   
  • Remember the Alamo!

    Remember the Alamo!


    It’s a rallying cry that can still be heard among Texans facing long odds at a football games or political rallies.

    This harkens to the day 5,000 Mexican soldiers surrounded 185 Texans, led by Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and Sam Houston. When asked to surrender they responded with the epic words, ‘Victory or death!’ Within a few hours the latter had prevailed. But the bravery and courage of those men are the stuff of legend.

    That is, until some historians did some digging.

    In his book ‘How Did Davy Die?’ author Dan Kilgore puts in writing what had only been whispered; that Houston was an alcoholic, Bowie was a deadbeat running from debtors, and Crockett had actually been taken alive. As a result Kilgore and fellow historian Jeff Long have been threatened, maligned and verbally attacked by Texans who prefer their heroes to be faultless - and the size of their state.

    But knowing the truth of these larger than life brave men actually helps us relate to them more fully, and understand the nature of courage as accessible to you and me - and ‘not the absence of fear, but the resistance to it." (Jim Wallis)

    After all, it would have been easier for Kilgore and Long to direct their historical curiosities to other areas of their Texas heritage, but in the end they do a great service to us all by sticking up for truth regardless of the cost - knowing that they, like the men they write about, are also exercising courage.

    Churchill famously said that courage is, ‘what it takes to stand up and speak.’ And by this definition we find no better New Testament icon than the apostle Thomas, whose story we recall this weekend.

    Time after time in the Bible, we see that Thomas exercises the kind of ‘stand up and speak’ courage that’s still in high demand today.

    Courage to squarely assess what’s going on.
    Courage to decide what makes sense and what doesn’t.
    Courage to raise objections when things don’t add up.

    The reward for truth-telling, in Thomas’ case, was a hallowed place in our Christian heritage. Not only does he have a place among the 12, but he gives us an example and challenge sorely needed today. 

    In what ways do we need to stick our hands up and ask a question?
    How is the Spirit promoting us to say, ‘Wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense.’
    How are we being asked to be courageous in questioning the way things are unfolding in the world around us?

    Dear Lord, may the work and witness of Thomas strengthen us to stand up and speak. 
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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