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
  • The Gift of Children: Four-Legged Ones

    The Gift of Children: Four-Legged Ones

     


    I've never gone to a movie alone.

    Movies, to me, cannot truly be enjoyed unless they're shared. I like to experience emotions with someone else, share the popcorn, discuss the plot, and retell the jokes on the car ride home.

    So when I say I appreciate movies, I'm really saying that I appreciate companionship.

    I think that's true when we take a moment on Sunday to bless our pets.

    After all, pets are all about companionship - and healthy companionship at that.

    Studies show that a loving pet reduces blood pressure, heart disease, and stress. Pets improve our moods, keep us out of doctor's offices, and help those with abnormal heart rhythms live longer.

    The benefits are particularly acute for those who live alone. A Swedish study found that dog ownership significantly reduced the risk of heart disease and lowered one's overall risk of death.

    93% of pet owners said their dog makes them a better person, making them more patient, responsible, and affectionate.

    And another poll found that one out of three dog owners prefer their dog to their partner...

    The gift of companionship with our blessed creatures is meant to remind us of the gift of companionship with our Almighty Creator. So bring your pet on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for a blessing, and let us together thank them and the one who gave them to us. 
  • Lose the Shirt

    Lose the Shirt

    When I ran the Los Angeles Marathon in 1996, I learned of a unique and rather odd tradition.

    Because the race started early in the morning, the weather would be in the low 60s, necessitating use of a sweatshirt or light jacket. But after a few miles, bodies would warm up, as did the weather, and we no longer needed the extra clothing. This happened at the point along the race course that took us through a particularly impoverished area of the city.

    And so the tradition was to take off your sweatshirt and toss it to one of the cheering fans who, perhaps, could use the discarded garment.

    The idea is that we will be able to run the remaining 20 miles or so much faster without having to hold on to our jackets.

    Letting go of the things that keep us from running as swiftly as possible is at the heart of the spiritual life. (We will hear Jesus talk more about this on Sunday).

    And it invites us to not only consider those things that impede our progress -  habits and hobbies, rhythms and routines, that serve as obstacles - but to see that this kind of practical re-ordering is absolutely crucial to living the lives we want to live. Jesus says ‘if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off! In other words, let nothing, absolutely nothing, impede the progress of our spiritual growth. The detour’s not worth it - the diversion is more costly than we think, the daydreaming must wait for another time. Following Jesus means embracing a sense of urgency and attention - that the problems around us are pleading for us to do something about them now.

    How are we ordering our lives so to do? 


     

  • Opening Our Minds

    Opening Our Minds

     


    Here’s a story about two men.

    The first is Christopher Columbus, who we all know sailed for India in 1492, grossly miscalculated, and instead hit the Bahamas. Convinced that he was, in fact, in India, he named the people he ran into ‘Indians’ and the new set of islands the East Indies. He, like most all of his contemporaries, thought they knew the world and considered the existence of a completely unknown continent inconceivable, and he wrote about this. Columbus stuck to his error for the rest of his life.

    The second man is Amerigo Vespucci. He was an Italian sailor. He took several trips to America soon after Columbus. But he thought, in fact that Columbus had discovered a new continent. Vespucci also wrote about this - and published accounts across Europe and while few were convinced, an influential map maker named Martin Waldseemuller was. So he published a new map showing the new continent. Not knowing that Christopher Columbus had actually discovered it, Waldseemuler named it after Vespucci calling it America.

    It makes you wonder if Columbus had been more open minded we might be living in ‘Chrisland’ or something like it.

    The truth is that we all have trouble opening our hands to new things because it means letting go of what we’re already holding onto. In fact, when Jesus asks, in this Sunday’s gospel, for the little children to come to him, he’s making a play for such humility among us.

    Being close-minded caters to our fears, being open-minded caters to our faith. In what ways are we being asked to take down the walls, check our pride at the door, and be more open to the world around us? 
  • Divine Denial

    Divine Denial

     


    A guy walks into an ice cream shop and really wants two scoops of Rocky Road.

    But he's on a diet and he knows he can only have one. So in the name of personal health he orders one scoop.

    Two women come in right behind him, one asked the other what she wants and she says she wants Rocky Road. The first woman says that's exactly what she wants! 

    So when it's their turn to order the first woman orders Rocky Road and the server tells her she's lucky because there's only one scoop left.

    So the first woman says "Oh don't worry about it, give me the mint chocolate chip, my friend wants the Rocky Road."

    In both cases these customers denied themselves.

    However one did it for himself, the other did so for someone else.

    In Sunday's gospel Jesus talks about denial, and I have a feeling he's talking more about the second case then the first.

    While there is no discounting the value of discipline, of denial, Jesus appears to prefer that we did so in a specific manner. It is denial centered not on self, but on others.

    The challenge of following Jesus, what you and I deal with everyday, is thinking first about others before we think of ourselves. Our culture, our instincts, everything in and around us has forced our default setting to be on ourselves, when Jesus invites us to another way.

    He invites us to look at our lives, at our calendars, at today, and question what we are doing in the light of love, in the light of whose day we are trying to make, who's load we are longing to lessen, how we might live our own lives, for the benefit of others.

    The irony is that this denial for the sake of others doesn't simply benefit other people, but at the end of the day when we live lives of giving, we are the winners. 
  • Alone in the Crowd

    Alone in the Crowd


     Ever see this guy before?

    He's August Landmesser, one of thousands of Germans gathered at a shipyard during the Second World War for a dedication ceremony. And when the crowd is asked to
    show its approval with the Nazi seig heil, they all do. Except August Landmesser.

    Turns out that this proud German had been harboring doubts about the new regime, he had a Jewish girlfriend he was unable to marry, and he was not going to sit by idly and just go along to get along.

    In the face of monolithic support for Hitler, August Landmesser said 'no,' he would not support a racist ideology, he would not support an aggressive military, he would not suppress his conscience. Instead he would speak up. No matter the cost. He would not stay silent. And he alone in the crowd, would end up on the right side of history.

    Its conviction like this we will hear about on Sunday when a non-Jewish (Syrophoenician) woman breaks with all social decorum and asks Jesus to heal her sick daughter. At first, Jesus is taken aback. Yet her persistence and faith in the character and power of God wins the day - she holds her ground, talks back to Jesus, and her daughter is healed.

    It’s clear that Our Lord commends those who stand up and speak out, after all, that’s what got him killed. So as followers of Jesus, we have to take this seriously: Am I silent in the face of inequality and persecution? Do I choose the easy path of cordial acquiescence? How am I shunning any temptation to speak up?

    Like the Syrophoenician woman, how are we being invited to boldness? What issue(s) are we being asked to champion? How might we see ourselves as alone in the crowd? 
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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