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
  • Light Switch or Dimmer Switch?

    Light Switch or Dimmer Switch?


     

    Some people describe their faith as a light switch.

    One moment they didn't believe, the next moment they did.
    One moment they weren't saved, the next moment they were.
    One moment they were in the dark, the next, they were in the light.

    "Light switch faith" lets us point to a certain moment when the lights were off then suddenly came on - and once the lights are on, they're on, and that's as bright as it gets.

    Other people believe faith is more like a dimmer switch.

    At our baptisms, the light starts coming on.
    Then as we grow, at our Confirmations and other times of spiritual awakening, the light can gradually become brighter.

    "Dimmer switch faith" suggests that we always have the ability to make things both darker - and brighter - that we can certainly step back and sit on a plateau - but we can also move toward God, seek the light, and turn that dimmer switch up.

    In Sunday’s Gospel we hear one of those many occasions when Jesus describes what ’turning up the dimmer switch’ looks like - and it’s not easy. It involves looking less at our own interests, and concentrating more on the interests of others. 

    The more we shoulder the burdens of others, take on responsibilities we’ve been avoiding, forgiving those who don’t ask for, or deserve, forgiveness - when we name our cross - and choose to carry it - the light of Christ becomes brighter both for us and in us.

    Jesus said, ’They will know we are Christians by our love’ - that light of love that comes from above, and shines forth as we do loving acts of service.

    Where’s your dimmer switch set today?
    What does ’turning up the dimmer switch’ look like for you?
    How might this 40 day period of Lent help us turn it up and shine?
  • Getting Serious about Getting Serious

    Getting Serious about Getting Serious

     


    When my friend Jim was 16 years old, he ran a stop sign going 90 mph and plowed into a minivan, killing a grandmother at the wheel, and seriously injuring her 18-month-old passenger. He said he was showing off, trying to impress his friends in the car.

    I recently talked with Jim, now age 26, and asked him how he copes with the accident. 

    He made it clear that he was not the victim, it was a grandmother and the 18 month old, who thankfully is now a healthy and happy 12-year-old, who are the victims. But nonetheless, Jim still suffers.

    He told me how he had descended into depression, anger, and frustration, seeing a counselor for years, and then as he got older, purposely choosing a college that did not allow drinking, because he knew that's where he would go.

    It was his quest for wholeness that led him to God. 

    Jim did not come from a religious family, but after a friend invited him to church, he began to explore what faith in Christ meant, and how he might be able to find strength to leave behind the insecure, reckless and selfish side of him that had caused the accident, and find a new way of being alive in the world. As 1 Corinthians says, the old has passed away and in Christ behold a new has come

    At the heart of Ash Wednesday is much the same thing - as we are invited to discover, or rediscover, a newness in our lives, of God meeting us, of God filling us, of God forgiving us, of God taking our lives and getting rid of the bad stuff while equipping us with what we need to do the good stuff.

    And this is what Lent is about. 
    40 days of self-examination. 
    40 days of self-reflection. 
    40 days in which we implement practices designed to draw us nearer to the one whose deep desire is to be nearer to us.

    As Jim is always quick to tell me, his involvement in that accident has made him much more conscious of the shortness of our time on earth, of how quickly it all goes, of the absence of guarantees of health, good life, and long life.

    We only have so long to do well upon this earth, and we do best with God's help.

    So let us take this time to draw closer to the source of what we know will allow us to fulfill our deepest dream, which, like Jim, is to find wholeness, health, acceptance, and repair - the important things that we want, and that God wants for us.
  • Remember to Remember

    Remember to Remember



    My friend keeps a photograph of his family front and center on his desk.

    Everyone's in swimsuits on the sand on some coconut island - and there’s not a cloud nor a frown in sight.

    I ask him why he has this photograph so prominently displayed -  and he says it’s for those times when life at home is no vacation: when the kids talk back, he’s at odds with his wife, and the baby wakes everybody up at 3 in the morning.

    He says that photograph is an important reminder of what family life can be - and what keeps him going when the going gets tough.

    On Sunday you and I will hear that iconic story of the Transfiguration, in which Jesus takes James, John, and Peter to the holy mount, where they meet Moses and Elijah in a dramatic display of miraculous power.

    God knows they will need this reminder as they experience the weeks ahead, the arrest, trial, and death, of Jesus. God wants these disciples to remember the power and the providence at work, to help them have faith - when everything around them is crumbling.

    This story invites us to ask about our mountaintop experiences - both big and small.

    I have a friend recovering from depression, and his therapist regularly asks him not so much about his depressive episodes, but about his small victories, like the day he was able to work for four hours in focused concentration, or the puzzle he was able to finish with his daughter - this therapist tells him to remember these victories - as signs that he can make, he can win his battle.

    One of the biggest themes in the Bible is remembrance; remember the times when God helped us endure that loss, when God somehow provided for us, and when we were given something amazing we know we didn't deserve.

    For many of us, the journey of Lent that invites us to walk a challenging walk to the Cross with Jesus, feels like something we've already been doing throughout this pandemic. And God's message to us is to remember the ways God provided for Jesus in his darkest hour - and the way God provides for us in our darkest hour - knowing that what God has done before, God can do again.

    Be encouraged, we’re in this together, we have each other and Our Lord.
  • Our Ministry of Mending

    Our Ministry of Mending

     


    The toddler got into the hair tonic.

    Apparently he had seen dad use the pomade to help hair that was going the wrong way go the right way. So the 2-year-old, who often wakes up with a windswept, Donald Trump hairdo, decided it was time for him to do the same.

    He was very well intentioned. He knew what the pomade would do. He knew, approximately which part of his body to which it might be applied. He just wasn't real sure exactly where; his cheek, his mouth, oh yeah, his hair...

    Trying to make right that which has gone wrong is not simply a human predilection, it’s at the heart of Jesus's ministry.

    On Sunday we will see Jesus launching headlong into his work of healing, casting out demons, and proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. He is all about putting back to rights that which has gone wrong. And he was very good at it.

    You and me… not so much.
    As I make comparatively feeble attempts at imitating him, I can't help but think that I look like the toddler with the hair tonic.

    My mending, repairing, reconciling, and reordering, never seem to go as well as I'd like.  While I enjoy modest success, I also endure my share of failure.

    But I suspect that’s ok.
    I believe God is honored not simply when we fix things, but when we try to fix things.

    And just as that toddler will one day grow up to make his hair just right, so too, as we mature and grow, will we find ways to make all sorts of things right.

    Be encouraged, keep moving toward the light, and doing what’s right.

    See you Sunday
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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