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.


Contact Details

  • St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan, 48076, USA

  • +011 248-557-5430


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.


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.

U.S. Guns Produced Today
Americans Accidentally Killed Today
Homeless Americans
Weddings Performed
  • Why Are Women Still Paid Less Than Men?

    Why Are Women Still Paid Less Than Men?

    It seems like 100 years after women’s suffrage we’d have this thing figured out.

    It’s well known that women make less than men - depending on who you ask, it’s around 80-cents to the dollar that a man makes.

    Just this week an analysis found this gap for black women in D-C is horrendous: They are underpaid to the tune of 52-cents on the dollar - which totals $2 million of underpayment over the course of a lifetime.

    Now you would think that I don’t have a problem with this - because I’m a white guy - I stand to benefit from these inequalities: for every penny a woman doesn’t earn, a man probably does.

    But I do have a problem with this - and so do you - because we say we try to keep the Golden Rule - to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially the weak and vulnerable - the unjustly treated and the unjustly paid.

    And when Jesus asks us to love our neighbors it means to stick up for justice and to respect the dignity of every human being - men and women.

    So if we’re asking why we pay women less than men - we have to ask why we don’t respect women as much as men?

    It’s not about money - it’s about respect.

    Every time we let the Ted Yoho’s of the world get away with callously disrespecting the Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s of the world - we’re disrespecting women - and we’re part of the problem - not the solution. Failing to say something is to say something that fails.

    In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus has a problem - thousands of people to feed - so he tells his followers ‘You do something about it!’

    And that’s the same for you and me.

    If the problem is gender inequality - let’s do something about it.

    White guys: stop disrespecting women - demeaning them, talking behind their backs, repeating those locker room jokes, not standing up to an unjust status quo - that’s what Real Men do.

    This is not an issue that legislatures fix, it’s one we guys fix - when we wake up - and really try to listen to women - hear what they’re about, genuinely value their skills, understand that they can do the job as well or better than a guy.

    As different as men are from women, we both have equal gifts - that should command equal pay.

    Women don’t have to be paid less than men, if we don’t want them to be.
  • What will it take to make this virus go away?

    What will it take to make this virus go away?

    The answer is simple - though not easy.

    If everyone stayed home as much as possible.
    If everyone wore a mask in public.
    If everyone cared a little bit more about the health of other people -
    The virus would go away.

    And that last one is our problem:

    Why should I care about other people?

    We should care because how we treat people says something about who we are and who we are becoming.

    We should care because we want our ourselves, our communities and our nation to be generous, empathetic, kind, and courteous - not selfish, rude, callous. 

    Nobody’s happy about the ‘I’ve got mine, so the heck with you’ culture that’s been on the rise for the last half century.

    We’re tired of it.
    It’s not satisfying.
    And it’s not working.

    Look at the ‘happiness index’ - where the U.S. ranked at its lowest-ever this past year - at 19th and falling  - 
    Or the rise in ‘diseases of despair’ - suicide, addiction, and depression - all on them on the upswing.
    And look at the increase in the ‘wealth gap’ - that continues to enrich those who need it least - to the detriment of those who need it most.

    It’s time we change - and we’re seeing it happen.

    People are marching in the streets to say something profound about the society we want to live in. And it’s one marked by care for other people - especially those who have been marginalized.

    We are at our best not when we’re hoarding all the cookies - but when we’re sharing them with our neighbors.

    I get it if we don’t want to pay 17-cents extra for a Big Mac so the person who made it can get a living wage.
    Or to pay 5-bucks more a month in rent because of a millage to improve the schools.
    Or to have a bit more from my paycheck deducted so my neighbors who don’t have health care, can get it.

    But when we choose to live only for ourselves, we choose a shallow, lonely, and ultimately unsatisfying life - and we can’t be surprised that when a deadly virus comes knocking, it becomes even more of a challenge that it might otherwise be.

    So let’s keep our distance.
    Mask up.
    And love your neighbor as yourself.
    It can save someone’s life - and it can save our own souls.

  • Laughing at Death

    Laughing at Death

    I recently ran across this obituary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

    "Purmort, Aaron Joseph age 35, died peacefully at home on November 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long. Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man, and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city. His family knew him only as a kind and mild-mannered Art Director, a designer of websites and t-shirts, and concert posters who always had the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate)… He is survived by… first wife Gwen Stefani, current wife Nora and their son Ralph, who will grow up to avenge his father's untimely death."

    It was written by the deceased and his wife in the weeks leading up to his inevitable death following a brain tumor that had been diagnosed 3 years earlier.

    While it wreaks of sadness and loss, death is less the victor and more the stoodge. Death may be serious, but it is not above being laughed at.

    Hmmm, not bad advice for us… as you and I continue to muddle, grow weary, and be challenged through this persistent time of fear and isolation, how many deaths are we dealing with?

    The words of Jesus, that we will hear on Sunday, and throughout the gospels, remind us not just of the presence of these deaths - of sickness and hunger and blindness, and the weariness of human life as we go through never-ending bouts of painful and hurtful things - but they also remind us that Jesus shows up at every one of these events inviting us to see them for what they really are, fleeting and temporary instances that eventually give in to the persistent and ultimate truth of life.

    In times like these, the overwhelming awareness of the unpleasant, the unpredictable, and the threatening can cause us to lose hope and lose sight.

    Our job is not too. For the truth is, that God is with us, the unseen hand, the calm and steady voice, the soft and gentle heart-felt conviction that while death abounds, grace much more abounds.

    Let us stand together knowing that God is at work. Death is not the final word. May we have the confidence to stand tall - not to be discouraged, but have the faith to laugh.
  • The Dirty Work

    The Dirty Work

     5 years ago my friend Dave planted a tree outside his house.

    It lasted about 18 months before it lost its needles and turned brown. He replaced it with another, that one died too.

    So Dave called in a soil specialist who determined that the dirt around the tree was not healthy. Dave had to call in a topsoil company, dig a big hole in his yard, and put down some healthy soil. That did the trick, third time was a charm, and the tree is doing great

    So what was wrong with the dirt?

    Experts will tell us that one of the main components of healthy soil is something called hummus. It's what we get from our compost piles, which is essentially decomposed animal and plant tissue. In other words for soil to bring forth life, something has to die.

    As the world awakens to the deeper meanings of liberty, justice, and equality especially around racial issues, we are finding that bringing forth health and life means putting things to death. It mean putting away habits, traditions, and deeply rooted ways of moving in the world.

    We cultivate good soil when we are not afraid to let things die - when we realize that God is at work in the world constantly looking to bring about healing, health, and reconciliation. And we become God's agents as we put to death the things that need to die - to make way for the things Christ is bringing to life.

    For me, it’s reading more about racial justice, joining a team of allies at church to move the ball forward, initiating conversations and listening more to my friends of color. How about you?

    This Sunday we will hear Jesus tell us about the importance of good soil as we ask: What does this look like in our lives? What are the habits, traditions, and beliefs that need to die so that life can come forth?
    How are we doing the work of cultivating good soil?
  • Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day

    I was on the phone with a friend recently, asking him how his extended lockdown was going.

    He said, " It feels like that movie Groundhog Day, like every single day is the same, like I keep waking up expecting things to be different, but they're not."

    For those of us who have seen this 1993 Bill Murray film we remember that it's about an arrogant weatherman who gets assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. And he discovers that every day he wakes up is a repeat of the day before: the date is the same, the people he runs into are the same - he gets caught in and endless time loop.

    At first this weatherman decides to use this time loop to do some diabolical things, he plays pranks on people, steals, and with the knowledge that there are no consequences for his behavior, he chooses to act selfishly. And the time loop continues.

    However, the movie ends when the weatherman decides that instead of doing nefarious things, he's going to do good things. He starts to help people, care for people, he starts to use the knowledge of his time loop to improve the lives of others - to look beyond himself.

    And magically, this is what gets him out of the time loop.

    I wonder if that can work for us too.

    Is our time-loop our extended-play Lockdown?
    Or is it our seemingly immovable societal attitudes regarding racial equality?

    On Sunday we will hear Jesus’ iconic invitation “Come to me all you who are weary and over-burdened and I will give you rest.’ 

    This lies at the heart of our ability to bring lasting change to our lives and to our common life, because when we follow Jesus we follow the way of unselfishness - we follow the way of hope - we follow the way of care and concern for others - because he loved us first.

    This never-ending lockdown - and our seemingly intractable attitudes toward race - our Groundhog Days - do not have to go on forever.

    The way of Love breaks the time loop - let’s get out of ourselves - let’s get into helping others - isn’t it funny that by helping people with their problems, ours often get fixed too.
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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA



    +011 248-557-5430