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
  • Awakening to Socialization

    Awakening to Socialization

     


    Have you seen all of the vigils this week for Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

    The recently deceased Supreme Court Justice is being celebrated as a secular saint, of sorts, for her extraordinary career featuring a litany of accomplishments.

    In light of her death, the controversial move to immediately replace her has turned up the temperature in an already heated election season - mixed with a raging pandemic, economic uncertainty, and an ongoing racial justice awakening and we’ve got a recipe for stress and anxiety that therapists tell us is running rampant.

    So what’s the cure - and why is this affecting us this way?

    Certainly these events are threatening.
    But the argument can be made that at many times in history, equal if not worse times have been seen.

    What I think is at play here is the high priority our society puts on these events. Obviously through our own interest, but spurred on by the media that we fuel, and born out in the ways we engage in our everyday conversations, we become persuaded by many voices that we must worry, we must be anxious, we must be stressed over possible outcomes. Thus, we are groomed to take current events as life-or-death, sink-or-swim, unavoidable threats that have huge consequences.

    This is an ongoing socialization, that makes us who we are - thus influencing how we feel and react.

    And what we’re reminded of here - is our need to resist that worldly socialization and more deeply embrace heavenly socialization.

    This Sunday we’ll hear the fourth in a series of talks I’m giving on the theme of ‘Awakening.’

    We’ve talked about how we awaken to love, awaken to gratitude, and last week, how we awaken to our humanity.

    This Sunday we’ll look at awakening to those things around us that make us who we are - our socialization. These are the ways we are groomed, assimilated, and enculturated, by the influences around us that have both positive and negative effects. 

    This Sunday we will also hear some epic words from St. Paul, who tells us time and again, that we need to conform not to the topsy turvy world around us, but to God who is inside us.

    When the world is a raging chaos all around, the words of Jesus bubble up assuring us to ‘Be not afraid,’ ‘Let your hearts not be troubled,’ and 'Do not worry about your life.’ The importance these words carry for us in is direct proportion to how much air time we give them on our inner radio station.

    Or course I would never suggest we remove ourselves from deep engagement with worldly matters, that we cancel our newspapers, or trash our TVs - what I am suggesting is that we look at “how" and "by whom" we are being socialized.

    Do we spend more time scrolling through the news than paging through the Bible? Do we give more attention to watching news than saying prayers? It is not up to the culture to tell us who we are and how to handle things - it’s God's job, that we share, as spirit-filled believers.

    God is awakening us to the myriad of possibilities that await as we get more involved in forming and conforming ourselves to God's outlook, God's opinions, God's ways.

    We are not to cling to the things of this world, but cling to God - because that’s truth and that’s life.
  • Awakening to Sin

    Awakening to Sin



    In 2007 Justin Rosenstein co-invented the Facebook ‘like’ button.

    He says his team was looking to bring joy into the lives of Facebook users - by allowing people to show their approval for a written post, photograph, or video.

    But 10 years later, he did a 180: Rosenstein deleted his Facebook account. 

    “I had no idea what was being created,” he said. He believes the ‘like’ button has turned into a "bright ding of pseudo-pleasure" that heavily contributes to the damaging psychological effects of social media. Indeed, a recent study found that the more time a young person spends on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed.

    Rosenstein summed it up this way, “It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

    Now isn’t that just how life goes?

    Here we are, created by a loving God, who put love in our hearts, and made it so the act of loving is a pinnacle of human experience. And there we go, finding out over and over again, how all of this potential can turn into a royal mess.

    This is what you and I know as ’being human.'
    We have great intentions, but often see even our most altruistic plans go to pieces.

    When we baptize someone (which we will be doing this weekend!) the liturgy we use reminds us that there are two ways we see evil in the world: outside and inside. On the outside we see the omnipresence of a negative force - think about a mob mentality or a general cultural acceptance of something that is unjust. On the inside we find evil in desires that have been distorted. Think of the hurtful things we do out of insecurity, fear, and worry.

    And while we’re not usually clear on exactly how things get messed up, we know they do.

    This week we will hear the third part of our fall series called ‘Awakening to God.’ What I’m hoping to do here is to use our COVID holding pattern to cultivate in you and me a new love for God and for what God is doing in each of us - that we might be awakened, like never before to the abundant life Jesus promises.

    You may remember the first week when we were awakened to love - and learned that we are created to love. 

    And in the second week we were awakened to gratitude - learning that the best way to grow in love is through gratefulness. 

    Now we are at week 3, when we will look at what it means to be awakened to sin - learning not only that are we broken, but that we actually like it that way (!).

    What keeps us from living in abundance, from living the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus promised us here and now, is that we settle, and even develop a fondness for things that fall far short of truly satisfying us.

    So let us open our hearts to God - and allow the transformation that awaits to take hold, by waking up to our sin which is always a precursor to being set free from it.
  • You Were Created to Love

    You Were Created to Love

     


    I’m re-laying 76 concrete pavers in my backyard.


    After I removed them I raked and leveled the ground underneath in preparation for re-laying them. That’s when a handyman friend of mine told me that before I do that I should lay a thick foundation of sand.

    Part of me protested: what does it matter? Isn’t the ground level enough? Nobody will notice the difference. But my friend argued that the pavers would drain better and stay in place longer if I spent more time laying the foundation.

    When it comes to laying foundations it’s important to pay attention.

    Like when we answer that foundational question: why are we here? 

    Ignatius Loyola said we’re here to give praise to God and bask in God’s glory. The Westminster shorter catechism says, 'man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.'

    But I have come to believe that our foundation, the reason we’re here, is neither of these. It is to love.

    Sure, I think basking, praising, and glorifying God are important, but we are meant to love. 

    This love is not passive, but active. This is a love that goes out, creates, reconciles, encourages, and hopes. It is a love that studies, practices, and perfects. This love is not about contemplation, it’s about action.

    This Sunday we are kicking off a sermon series called Awakening. It’s about waking us up to the central message of the Gospel, which is love. I believe that in discovering the depths of what the Bible teaches about love, we are awakened to the abundant life Jesus intents for us (John 10:10).

    Are you feeling burned out by COVID? Are you anxious, worried, struggling with your faith? Apathetic or just plain tired? Then join me in this series that has the potential to jump-start your faith and your life. 

    I believe our happiness comes when we proactively love. It’s what we were created to do.
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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