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
  • Advice from Trees

    Advice from Trees

     


    One warm, spring day an oak sapling wiggled his way through the soil and spread his budding leaves toward the sun.

    "Welcome!" said a mature oak that was growing quite heartily just a few feet away, "How does it feel to finally emerge from the ground and grow into who you are?"

    "Actually," said the sapling, "I'm scared to death! I've never seen this place before! Where am I going to get food? Where do I get a drink around here? What if the sun doesn't come out? What if a big wind comes and blows me over?"

    "Oh you saplings are all the same, so worried, so stressed out," chuckled the big oak tree, "The sun will rise, the water will come, and I am right next to you to protect you."

    "Oh yeah?," said the sapling, "And why should I trust you?"

    "Well, as you can tell, I've been around for a while and in my experience, things always work out. Plus, it may not look like it but you're actually my son. I made you from me. And I've planted deep in your heart an intuition, to assure you that you're on the right path. So trust in that."

    "Well, now that you put it that way, do you have any sunscreen?"

    Our worries about our survival may not be shared by trees, but they have been shared by all of us down though the ages, most certainly by the Holy Family, whom we meet in this Sunday's Gospel.

    Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph find themselves in mortal danger as they face death threats from none other than the mighty King Herod. What should they do? Where should they go? 

    God provides for this family in a rather unorthodox, but effective way, by sending Joseph dreams, which he readily heeds. It's as if God was telling them, "Don't worry, I've got this covered, just follow my gentle guidance, follow the intuition that I've planted deep in your hearts, and things will work out."

    Friends, faced with huge fears of our own, God invites us to trust that intuition, awakened at our baptisms and strengthened as we follow Jesus more intentionally, that God knows what we're facing, God is right beside us through it all, and will guide us along the right path.

    Our job is to walk closely with Jesus in this confidence, this trust, this faith, that God is right here always. 
  • Getting Lost, Getting Found

    Getting Lost, Getting Found

     

     Two hikers prepared to cross a wilderness.


    They knew the journey would take weeks, so they packed lots of food.
    They knew the weather would be harsh, so they packed a super-strong tent.
    They knew the path would be rocky, so they packed sturdy boots.
    They knew the trail would be disorienting, so they brought an expensive compass.
    They knew wild animals would be a threat, so they packed weapons.
    They knew the route spanned rivers, so they brought an inflatable raft.
    And they knew the risk of injury was real, so they brought a first aid kit.

    Yet despite their best preparations, 10 days into their trip, our two hikers got lost.

    "Help us!," read the distress message, "We're completely turned around and hopelessly lost."

    The 3-person rescue squad jumped into action and sent the only person who knew the terrain, the only person who knew the weather, the threats, and the danger.
    It was someone who'd been in that situation before, was committed to rescuing any hiker in distress and who had saved every hiker who'd ever asked for help. 

    His name is Jesus.

    When Christians talk about what it means for Jesus to' 'save' us, this is what we mean: All of us get ready for life's journey the very best we can, yet in spite of our most thorough preparations, we still get lost, we still get in trouble, we still find ourselves in scary places and unable to get back home - and it’s Jesus who rescues us.

    Christmas tells us that God doesn't want us lost, but God wants to help us find our way, to find ourselves, to find our way home - So God became human to show us that God understands and God is able to help us get there.

    So Christmas invites us to articulate the ways we have lost our way - from peace, joy, patience, and harmony - and to remember that there is one who has the means and desire to come to our aid.

    How are we not yet home - and how can Jesus help?
  • Whose Stories Are You Believing?

    Whose Stories Are You Believing?

     


    In the midst of the Mayfield, Kentucky Storm debris, a young Latina mother shifted through the rubble of what was once her home. 

    "Thank God!" She said as a reporter grilled her on what had happened, "My husband came in the house and told us to all get down that the storm was coming, and it swept everything away, everything we own, our entire house, but I am so thankful today."
    "Why?" asked the reporter.
    "Because my entire family is alive!", the woman exclaimed, "My children, my husband, we all made it out alive!"

    Her sentiments echo those of another young mother, who once faced immense trial and chose to tell herself a story not about what she’d lost, but what she had.

    This weekend marks the 4th Sunday of Advent and our introduction to Mother Mary, still pregnant, and off visiting her cousin Elizabeth, who is also pregnant. Elizabeth is elated and sings Mary's praises, including the memorable compliment: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her..."

    Mary, an unwed, pregnant teenager is most certainly not where she thought she would have been. What of her reputation and her dreams of a proper courtship, marriage, and motherhood?

    We can only imagine all of the things Mary gave up!
    Yet Elizabeth calls her ‘blessed’ and Mary owns it.

    These are stories of agency - and women who refused to link external forces to the way they chose to talk to themselves  - to look at the situation. It’s as if they’re saying: We can decide to claim possibility and take action instead.

    This is why Elizabeth calls Mary blessed - we call her blessed.

    Mary was blessed because she believed God.
    She believed God had a purpose for her life.
    She believed God would take care of her.
    She believed God knew more about what would fulfill her than she did.

    She believed God could bring her through the tornadoes of life - for even destruction and death cannot separate us from the love of God.

    It’s the same for you and me.

    We can take agency. Thank God.
    Once we see that we’re able to own our story, we gain a huge amount of power. 
    And we retain that power for as long as we refuse to hand it over to someone else.

    We choose to believe God 
    To believe God sees us - 
    That God has a purpose for our lives -
    That God will take care of us - 
    That God knows more about what fulfill us than we do.

    Mary’s story is to trust that God-
    It’s to go all in, sign over our lives, give to God suspecting that God will be giving so much more back to us - because God’s love for us is that immense.

    And so we ask: who’s story are we believing?
    Are we taking the God-given agency over our lives that Mary did?
    What’s keeping us from going ‘all in’ with God?
    What’s keeping us from trusting - handing over - giving over -
    Do we dare to believe the promises, the stories, of God?
    And live as if they are true? 
  • Dryer Lint

    Dryer Lint

     


    When it takes twice as long for the clothes dryer to do its job I know what's the matter.

    Of course we clean out the lint filter regularly, but every do often so much lint accumulates that a deeper cleaning is necessary. I have a special light and tools to make this happen. Then, 10 minutes and a big ball of lint later, we are back in business and the dryer can do what the dryer is supposed to do.

    Unfortunately what happens to clothes dryers also happens to us. 

    As life goes on things accumulate, habits, routines, and possessions can clog our filters, until we're unable to do what we're supposed to do.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

    And the world often goes about that task of making us something else, through the accumulated clutter that you and I pick up - clutter that routinely needs to be purged.

    This is what John the Baptist is talking about this Sunday, it’s one of Advent’s biggest themes: all those things that are keeping us from getting more serious with God with our goals, with our dreams, with our lives, need to be evaluated - and all those things that are clogging up the filter need to be cleaned out.

    And so, what are the things that have gotten clogged in our filters? 
    How can they be dislodged? 
    How can we get back to the life we want to live, that God wants us to live?

    May Advent, be for us, this wonderful opportunity to be more aware, more alive, more ourselves - made our best, in Christ. 
  • Where Is God in Oxford?

    Where Is God in Oxford?


    There are no unwounded students, staff, or citizens in Michigan today. 

    We are all mourning the deaths of 3 teenagers, gunned down at their school in Oxford. We are all saying prayers. Reaching out to friends there. And we parents are all giving our kids extra hugs.

    And after the police tape comes down, the memorial services are held, and school starts back up again, sooner or later the mourning gives way to the questions we all ask: why did God allow a teenager to shoot and kill his classmates? Where was God when those victims needed protecting? What kind of world has God created that allows this kind of violent tragedy?

    If there were one good, easy answer we would have heard it by now. 
    If there was one, readily and universally accepted answer, we wouldn't be asking these questions. (BTW if you've found one good, easy answer, don’t believe it…)

    Of course there’s not one.
    Instead, there are theories. 
    Lots of them.

    Theologians and philosophers call the subject theodicy. And if you Google it you can find a lot of different answers from ‘Everything is God’s will’ to ’There is no God.’ I’ve found Richard Rice’s book, Suffering and the Search for Meaning especially accessible and helpful.

    Nonetheless, when we ask the question, ‘Where is God in Oxford?’ I respond by saying - ‘Right in the middle of it - comforting the bereaved, strengthening the caregivers, and working for justice around the questions of gun safety and mental health access.'

    If we start from the supposition that ‘God is love’ as the Bible defines God - then deduce that love necessitates a freedom of choice - a free will - then consider the words in John 15:15, that God doesn’t just call us disciples but friends - on an equal par - to partner with God in the healing of the world - then we can approach this complex and thorny subject with a particular answer. 

    That answer is that while God loathes violence like this, it is allowed under God’s loving gift of freedom. And that egregious violations of this freedom invite us to partner with God to take action - to comfort the hurting, assist the injured, and to work for change in how we live together, doing our best to ensure this never happens again.

    In this season of Advent, Christians await the miracle of God’s love - as God becomes human in Jesus and dwells with us. God is not far away and removed from pain, but God suffers with us. God knows what it’s like to lose a child, just as God knows what it’s like to work for justice and change.

    If God is in Oxford doing God’s part in putting back the broken pieces, then we’re invited to play our part in doing the same. 
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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