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
  • How to Celebrate the 4th

    How to Celebrate the 4th


     Not long ago British psychology researchers gathered together a group of Manchester United soccer fans for a unique experiment.


    Participants were told the experiment would take place in an adjacent building, though it really took place on the short walk there.

    That's when the Manchester United fans encountered an injured man on the sidewalk.

    As they walked by, one by one, researchers saw to it that one third of the time the injured man was wearing a blank t-shirt. One third of the time he was wearing the t-shirt of the arch-rival Liverpool team. And one-third of the time the injured man wore a Manchester United t-shirt.

    Researchers then tallied the responses of their participants, 32% stopped to help the injured man wearing the plain t-shirt, 30% stopped to help the injured man wearing the Liverpool soccer t-shirt, while the injured man wearing the Manchester United t-shirt received assistance a whopping 92% of the time.

    The idea that you and I favor those like us is a deeply ingrained evolutionary trait designed to keep us safe from predators and enemies.
    Its conscious and unconscious manifestations influence where we live, work, and socialize. And properly dealing with it is at the heart of where our gospel will take us this holiday weekend as we commemorate, as a nation, that great unifying celebration called Independence Day.

    This is when citizens in the most diverse nation in the world come together around our Nation's flag, celebrating a system of government aimed at giving us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And we do so with a lingering conviction that patriotism, unchecked by a higher loyalty, often goes off the rails.

    Overcoming our preference for those who are like us makes a nation work, and makes us work to our highest potential. This is what Jesus was trying to get at when we will hear his epic words on Sunday, explaining that we are to love those who are not like us, friends and enemies, "for if you (only) love those who love you, what reward do you have?"

    And this is the key to handling the darker sides of our diversity and the deep challenges of our divisions.

    Our higher loyalty must be love.
    We must consider the dignity and worth of every human being.
    We must take time to get to know those who are not like us.
    We cannot write people off because they're wearing the wrong t-shirt.

    So this weekend, let us be quick to care, slow to judge, and ambitious about getting to know people who are not like ourselves. In this, let us be known: by our love. 
  • Don't Put It Off!

    Don't Put It Off!

     

    My friend Peter likes to tell this story…

    One day Satan pulled together all his highest demon lieutenants.

    And he said, ‘Guys, this isn’t working. 
    'For all our hard labor, those people on earth are still getting better. We’re losing! And we need a new strategy. Now give me your best ideas!’

    The first demon said, ‘Let’s convince them all that there is no God!'
    ’That won’t work,’ said Satan, ’They’ll just look around at the beauty of creation and we’ll be cooked.’

    The second demon said, ‘Ok, I’ve got it: Let’s convince them that there’s no Satan!’
    ’That won’t work either,’ said Satan, ‘All they’ve got to do is pick up the paper and look at all the violence and suffering going on and nobody will believe it.'

    The third demon then said, ‘I’ve got it! Let's convince everybody that there’s no hurry!’

    And with that, Satan and his demons smiled and got to work.

    Procrastination! How’s that working for us?

    This Sunday you and I will hear a serious conversation Jesus is having with his disciples about getting things done.
    And we’ll hear Jesus urge them to get busy with the work they’ve been given, not to put things off, not to veer off the path, but to get things done while they have the chance.

    A famous time manager once advised, ‘Get your most important work done by 11am,’ as a way to make sure that the most important things on our ‘to do’ list don’t fall through the cracks.

    So… Where do our priorities for our spiritual lives fall?
    Prayer, altruism, fellowship, and sacrament?
    Are they where they need to be?
    What do we need to push out of the way to make sure the most important thing, following Jesus, is getting done?

    A 19th century Quaker missionary put it this way:

    “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” 
  • How Rude!

    How Rude!

     

    When I recently asked the grocery store clerk whether or not she had seen an uptick in rudeness from customers, boy did I get an earful!

    The stories are all around us, of air rage, road rage, and a short-temperedness in otherwise civil discourse that seems to be on the increase.

    While we may think that the negative effects of these outbursts are limited to the incidents themselves, researchers have shown that there are long-term effects to our exposure to rudeness. It affects our focus, our patience, and even our creativity.

    In one study, two groups of people were asked how they might use a pile of bricks? The first group was not exposed to an incivility.  They thought of ideas like building walls, skyscrapers, and laying roads. The second group was exposed to one incident of incivility, and they suggested things like throwing a brick through a window, placing it on a sidewalk for someone to stub their toe, or using it as a weapon.

    What's more, the effects of these incivilities haunt us whether we are the aggressors or the victims.

    This Sunday, we will hear the story of Jesus healing a man with severe psychological problems, demon possessed, unable to control his outbursts, a person certainly prone to rudeness and incivility.

    Exactly how Jesus did it is up for debate - but what is known is that Jesus delivered him.

    Experts say that responding to and enduring life's incivilities can be compared to a virus, meaning that the healthier we are, the better we eat, exercise, and get good sleep, the easier it is for us to ward off viruses. So when it comes to responding to rudeness, the healthier we are, spiritually and emotionally, the better results we can expect.
     
    And this means drawing closer to the ways Jesus invites us to live. In this Season after Pentecost, we are encouraged to dwell in the Spirit of Jesus - its fruits are patience, love, joy, and self-control. Being spiritually healthy is our best weapon against incivility. How are we doing that in our lives?

    And when you and I look at the ways we can impact our world, following the example of Jesus, and injecting as much civility, kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and love, as possible, may be our best answer. 
  • Don't Kick Yourself!

    Don't Kick Yourself!

     

    A mother took her 8 year old daughter camping one night.

    Awakened by a bad dream, the disoriented little girl pointed to her foot, which was under the covers and said, "Look mom, there's a squirrel in my sleeping bag, get a baseball bat!"

    The mother tried to calm her daughter and explained that there was nothing to be scared of, it was just her foot, and certainly she would not want to hurt herself, which, thankfully the little girl realized before something painful happened.

    It was physicist Werner Heisenberg who is credited with the scientific suggestion the our world is an interconnected web of relationships, that practically speaking, we are all a part of a oneness, a belonging, an interrelatedness - and that when we whack anybody's foot, we may as well be whacking our own.

    This Sunday, Trinity Sunday, gives us a strong message on interconnectedness. It's when the church recognizes the unity of God amidst the diversity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    It is a unity, not a uniformity, that we do well to take not just into our understanding of religion, but our interpersonal, and even national lives.

    This week the January 6 Capital Attack hearings will be televised, drawing partisan rancor and exposing yet another rift in the harmony of our nation.

    What would this conversation look like if we understood that when we beat up our opponents, we harm ourselves; that in crippling those who oppose us, we are never left unharmed?

    In other words, like the very essence of God, we have been created with intentional distinction, meant not to cause splinter and fray, but so we might form a stronger and more perfect union. We do this with mutual respect and by minding the Golden Rule.

    Every day you and I have opportunities to handle difference and division, let us model the very nature and witness of God, and choose not to whack ourselves in the foot.
  • How to Keep Our Babies Safe

    How to Keep Our Babies Safe

     


    While previous generations practiced tornado drills in elementary school, today, as we know, it’s active shooter drills.

    Both of these are downright scary.
    They come without warning, can be deadly, and are most certainly dreaded.

    What makes them worse is that they happen to the most defenseless segment of our population - and to the object of every parents' highest affection: our children.

    And just like other threats we deal with, it’s not so much that this might happen in our schools, but that we fear it could. 

    Thus, their biggest impact can be an increased level of alarm, trepidation, and anxiety that, then, pervades our surroundings, becomes part of our culture, and thus affects the mental health and stability of our children.

    The answer, then, is to create different atmospheres: auras of peace and calm. It’s to give off authentic vibes of confidence and faith in how we see the world as Jesus sees it.

    This Sunday is Pentecost. Here’s a helpful video to remind you of what it’s about.

    We mark this event as the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    What does that mean?

    It means that you and I are not left to deal with an increasingly anxious and worrisome culture all by ourselves.

    On this day we remember that Jesus has sent us a spiritual reminder of his ever-presence. 

    The Holy Spirit's job is to prompt us to recall the things that Jesus said, that we are valuable, important, created to do vital work. We are precious, irreplaceable, and imbued with heavenly purpose. And that we are never, ever, outside of God’s loving embrace.

    And while we often limit the power of the Spirit to the Pentecostal images of rushing wind or tongues of fire - the Spirit's most visible manifestation - like the Spirit herself - is unseen.

    We see the Spirit at work in the hope, courage, confidence, trust, ambition, relentless dedication, and a sincere sense of calling and mission of the saints. These are the gifts of the Spirit.

    You and I are living through scary times.

    And when we walk with hope, courage, confidence, trust, and a sincere sense of calling and mission, this is how we walk in the Spirit.

    So how are we reminding ourselves that God’s spirit is here?
    What are we watching?
    Which websites are we visiting?
    What books, tv shows, apps and podcasts are we allowing to influence us?

    Let Pentecost mark a new era of putting Spirit-filled influences before our eyes, in our ears, and on our hearts so that we can create these atmospheres of peace and calm in our homes. 

    Want to keep our babies safe? This is a great start.
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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