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
  • Handling Storms

    Handling Storms

     

    Board up the windows, empty the basement, and head for the hills: there is a storm coming.

    This is the mood, of course, across Southwest Florida as Hurricane Ian bears down, set to wreak multi-billion dollar damage upon a typically serene Florida coastline. Our hearts and prayers go out to those whose lives and livelihoods are in danger, especially the poor and vulnerable who most often fare worst.

    But the idea of weathering a storm is not just a challenge facing Floridians.

    In our own places, in our own ways, each of us is weathering a storm or two of our own. We have bodies that are ailing, friends who are suffering, jobs that don't fulfill, and relationships that are far from perfect. And no one is immune to the general societal apathy, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety that pervades our every day.

    How do we endure our storms?

    This was at the heart of a question the disciples brought to Jesus in this Sunday's gospel when they asked him to, “Increase our faith!"

    Jesus gives a response that assumes the disciples already know the answer - which is to draw closer to Jesus:
    Make God a bigger part of our lives. 
    Adopt God's point of view over our own, seeking to see the world through the eyes of the Divine.

    When Jesus responds to the disciples by asking them to command a 'mulberry tree to throw itself into the sea,' he gives them something absurdly impossible.

    Well guess what? 
    Having faith that our storms will pass, may also seem absurdly impossible.

    But, how often are we reminded, that with God, nothing is impossible.
    No matter what we’re facing, we are not here alone, we are not forgotten, we are part of a bigger picture, well-known and well-loved by our Creator - and that our end will always be in God.

    As my young daughter once reminded me, ’There’s no place we can go where God isn’t.'

    So may God grant our wish, to increase our faith, that the storms we face may be weathered with grace, that we might live on to help bring others through theirs.
  • Warning Lights

    Warning Lights


     In high school my friend drove a bunch of us to Florida for Spring Break in his family's convertible.


    After we arrived we used the car every day to get to the beach and cruise the local strip. It was at that point the 'Check Engine ' warning on the dashboard began to light up. My friend, paying more attention to the fun we were having than the oil we were burning, paid no mind to the bright red warning. That is, until he had to.

    Yes, we had run out of oil.
    Yes, the engine block had cracked. 
    Yes, the car was damaged beyond repair.
    We had to rent a car to get home.
    Nobody's parents were happy.

    Not paying attention to warning lights can do that - which is at the heart of Sunday's Gospel and that well-known story of the Rich Man and a poor beggar named Lazarus.

    Here we witness the blinding power of wealth and comfort, privilege and prestige, as the Rich Man heartlessly ignores the beggar at his doorstep.

    It reminds us of the ways we can get caught up in our own personal pursuits of fulfillment and contentment that we forget others  - those who may be sick, impoverished, addicted, even tortured and enslaved.

    We, too, can get lulled into the popular belief that the reason for our prosperity is our own personal contentment, when the reality is that those with 'much' have a moral duty to care for those with 'less.' This is why we have it. This is what we're supposed to do with it.

    So what lights are going off on our dashboard?
    Is someone waving a red flag?
    Are we getting too caught up in ourselves to notice those who are hurting around us?
    What might we do about that? 
  • Snake Oil

    Snake Oil

     


    After working for 10 years as a cowboy and two years studying herbal medicine with the Hopi Native Americans, Clark Stanley was ready to launch a new business.

    Clark said he had discovered a product with incredible healing properties. It was suitable for the treatment of a wide variety of maladies from arthritis to back pain, frost bite to mosquito bites.

    After setting up manufacturing plants on the East coast, Clark figured the best way to market his new discovery was to personally sell it, going from town to town in a covered wagon emblazoned with the company name: Clark Stanley's Snake Oil.

    Naive purchasers lined up to hear Clark's convincing pitch. He often employed a shill, or a paid audience member, who would tout the product's miraculous powers to increase sales. And the great advantage of a covered wagon was that, come nightfall, things could be easily packed up and Clark could be out of town and  on the road, before anyone could figure out that his product did not soothe, cleanse, heal, or do anything it promised to do.

    Today the term 'snake oil' is synonymous with deceptive business practices or products (after all, the original snake oil was nothing more than doctored up mineral oil), and refers to things that just can't live up to its promises.

    This Sunday, we will hear Jesus describe something like that - only it's not medicine, it's money.

    'Dishonest wealth' is a term we will hear not once, but twice, along with its incumbent allusions - that money can't do what it's cracked up to do. In our culture wealth promises security, popularity, contentment, comfort, and stress-free living.

    In fact, we are constantly hearing subtle and not so subtle messages that if we just had a bit more money for this possession or that experience, then we would find the happiness, security, status, acceptance, and fulfillment for which we so deeply yearn.

    Jesus wants to remind us that all those things are attainable, but they're only attainable through God.

    'Seek first the things that are above, not the things that are below,' says St. Paul. Time and again our faith urges us to put people over stuff - to put aside the temptations that push us towards seeking our security or contentment in anything other than God.

    And so we ask:
    What's the Snake Oil in our lives?
    What are the false promises we're buying into?
    And how is God urging us to try something else? 
  • Lost and Found

    Lost and Found

     

    We recently set up a gravestone exhibit on our back lawn here at church to help us count the number of victims of gun violence in Oakland County this year - we are trying to make ourselves more compassionate and mindful of our neighbors who fall victim to, what has been called a national epidemic.

    What struck a lot of people was observing the large number of folks in our community who died by suicide. We venture to say these are folks who were in pain, who perhaps felt hopeless, all alone, people Jesus may have called lost.

    This Sunday we will hear Jesus talk more about the lost.

    These are those who, for whatever reason, are not where they are supposed to be, not where they want to be, not in a comfortable, safe place - they are worried, troubled, don't know where to go, and can't find their way anyhow.

    Sure, they are the suicidal, the drunks, the addicts, the thieves, and prostitutes, but they are also parents, students, businessman, and nurses - all of us who wander from the Shepherd's path, choosing our own way instead of God's.

    Getting lost happens to us all, and God has something very profound to say about that.

    God says, 
    'I have not forgotten you. 
    'You have not slipped my mind. 
    'On the contrary, your predicament is my obsession: 
    'I am currently working overtime to get you out of your jam. 
    ;Like a Shepherd who leaves 99 sheep behind, to chase after the Lost One, hang on. 
    'I'm looking for you and I'm determined to find you.'

    So friends, don't give up.
    Don't lose hope.
    Your contentment is God's mission.
    You're thriving is God's intent.
    Your restoration is God's goal.
    You are sought after.
    You will be found.
    You are worth all of God's time and energy to find. 
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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