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
  • Teach Me, O Anger

    Teach Me, O Anger



    I got mad at my children the other day.

    They didn’t listen, were dawdling, and were mildly disobedient. So I raised my voice and told them things for which I later had to apologize.

    It took me longer to simmer down - become peaceful - and begin to unpack why I chose to express my anger the way I did.

    After all, anger is a valid and helpful emotion. It stems from passion for the things most dear to us, the things we work hardest to protect, safeguard, and nurture.
    As the poet David Whyte says, anger is the purest form of care.

    But when we get angry we are often unwilling and unable to plumb the depths of what’s really going on: I become blind to the significance of the work for which I am working. And I bristle at tempering my reactions, which are expressions of a love unable to yield to a wider more expansive definition, one I’m unwilling or unable to accept. And so I give anger a harmful voice.

    We learn more from a scenario in this Sunday’s Gospel, when Jesus tells long-time friends that the God they hold in highest esteem, doesn’t favor them as much as they suspect. 
    They flew into a rage, mobbed him, and nearly killed him.

    We understand. We too often fail to realize that God’s equitable love for all people is actually something to be embraced and celebrated - and not exclusively claimed, denigrated or riddled with fault.
    Like us, Jesus’ opponents fail to realize that most expressions of anger are actually displays of frustration with our unwillingness or inability to accept a wider reality, a more expansive definition of love - one that brings its own threats and fears.

    We do well to understand the teachings of our anger - it shows us what we love most deeply, most yearn to protect, and most covet: we simply don’t get angry over things we don’t care about.


    It is in this contemplation that the foundation stones for new ways to express our deep yearnings can find bedrock, that we might live more authentically into our anger not as deprivation and insufficiency, but as profound care for another whose well-being we care more about than our own. 
  • Who Said So?

    Who Said So?


    "Honey, should I wear the black one or the grey one?"

    I was asking about turtlenecks as we prepared for dinner with friends one night.

    I suppose in some small way I was letting my wife define me as I took her advice (grey, always grey), for we humans are communal by nature and rely on the opinions of others to form our self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.

    But the way we allow others to define us is analogous to the ways we worry and fear: none of these are bad in themselves, we just participate in them way too often.

    As Christians, we work to make God the biggest influencer, the biggest definer, of who we are, for we know that the wider culture often offers influences that are antithetical to the way of the Gospel.

    in this season of Epiphany, Sunday's gospel brings a revelation. We hear of Jesus entering a synagogue, reading scripture, and claiming the declaration it makes about who he is and what he has been called to do.

    Would that I could accept as readily and claim as confidently the identity scripture gives to me!

    Time and again the Bible tells me I am provided for, I am forgiven, I am purposed, and I am destined for a greatness in God's plan that only I can fulfill.

    Too often I look at challenges as road blocks to my happiness, and not stepping stones to a more aware and alive existence.

    Too often I choose the saccharine soft drink of familiarity and routine to the Red Bull of risk and chanced failure.

    Who's defining me and why do I let them do so?


    Lord, be my mirror and give me ears to hear only you. 
  • Raise Your Glasses

    Raise Your Glasses


    I recently left a movie theater scratching my head.

    For two hours I’d watched the long, meandering film hoping to find some sense of continuity, consistency, or meaning. But couldn’t. When the closing credits rolled I could only think of how it didn’t end as much as it had just stopped. Frustrated, I suspect I was in the minority because the movie had been critically acclaimed.

    The point is that there are stories in search of meanings - and there are meanings in search of stories.

    There are stories that either hide their meaning or have none, and there are meanings that are so profound, so desperately important - that any story fails to do it justice.

    This is what’s happening in one of the most fabulous stories in the Bible, which we’ll hear this weekend, the wine-making miracle at the wedding in Cana.

    We know what happens, Jesus, his mom, and friends are invited to a wedding where the wine runs out. Nearby are some pots of water, which Jesus turns to wine.

    We discover more in the exaggerated details: Jesus makes 780 bottles of wine - enough for 3,000 guests - and it’s fine quality wine.

    The point is that God’s desire to love and care for us is that big.

    And the contemplation of this loving care is crucial, because we desire more than anything to be loving people and enter into that rest of knowing that God’s got it all under control. 

    After all, we suspect that the cure for our nagging anxiety is in a deeper connection to God whose nature is to love and provide for us more than we will ever, ever comprehend.


    So let us raise our glasses to this love, acknowledging the boundaries of human expression and the glorious boundlessness it will always fail to contain. God is hard at work, caring and providing for us, more than we can ever know. 
  • Bring on the Fire

    Bring on the Fire


    I woke up early the other day, so worried about something that I was unkind to those around me.

    Unable to put things into perspective, I was inconsiderate and preoccupied with something that ultimately didn’t amount to anything.

    I hate when that happens.

    In fact, when I take a mental inventory, I can think of a number of aspects of my life that do not inspire pride. Maybe you’re like me and have wrestled with moments of over-worry, unforgiveness, selfishness, catty conversation, and little faith?

    Don’t we wish we could pile all those unsavory aspects of our behaviors into a wheelbarrow, take them to a bonfire, and watch them go up in smoke?

    On Sunday we will hear Jesus described as one who gathers the chaff, that which is unwanted and unneeded, and burns it with unquenchable fire. 

    This is such and important and attractive part of Jesus’ ministry: that we can be free of those aspects of our lives that are not life-giving and productive for ourselves or others.

    What would life be like if we could get rid of our worst habits?

    While this is far from instant - the Christian life suggests it can happen gradually - as we move to make our participation in Jesus' divine life a bigger part of our human lives - to help melt away all that junk that’s better off elsewhere.

    What Christ bids of us, is to get closer to the fire - close enough to warmly nurture that which gives life - and closer still to burn away that which does not. 


    In this season of Epiphany, what does God want to burn away? What’s the chaff? And how are we going about our work of drawing closer to the Light - and the fire - that heals and brings life. 
  • Don't Hit Snooze!

    Don't Hit Snooze!


    I remember getting a wake up call when my boss fired me.

    Sure there were warning signs, comments made, meetings I wasn’t invited to - but I didn’t want to think about these things - because they were difficult and unpleasant 

    In hindsight, it would have done a world of good if I had - 
    Being more aware of who we are and what our place is in the world is nothing but beneficial to us and those around us.

    That’s why I like this season called ‘Epiphany’ - this season of revealing - the revelation of truth - 
    Epiphany is when we stop hitting the snooze button every time we get a wake up call.

    It’s when we see that embracing our whole - especially the unseemly bits - is where the real growth, learning, and ultimately, fulfillment comes from.

    On Sunday we’ll hear the familiar story of the Three Kings - 
    This story wakes us up to a number of realities -
    Certainly with 3 Kings following a star - reveals to us the reality of divine guidance-
    When King Herod tries to find the baby - it’s to the reality of wicked and oppressive forces that are working to harm - not just in their world, but in ours
    It’s revealed in Joseph and Mary - those two nobodies from nowhere - that everybody, no matter how insignificant we feel we are, has a vocation. 

    I think that last bit is really important today - because there’s a lot of apathy out there - a lot of people asking, ‘Hey, does my life matter?’

    This magical story reminds us that our relationship with our vocation - with our unique calling - is like a relationship between a father and a son - or a mother and a son: if dad doesn’t show up for that kid, if mom doesn’t show up for that kid - no one else can or will - the job of a parent is irreplaceable - and so are we in God’s world - doing the work that only we can do.

    So this Epiphany, let it be revealed to us anew how important we are to God and to the world around us -
    That the Divine is invisibly working to keep us from harm - 

    And that guidance from above will come - stars do appear - may we have eyes to see. 
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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