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
  • Steve at the Jordan

    Steve at the Jordan

     

    Out of the wilderness of Silicon Valley appeared a prophet named Steve. He wore only black turtlenecks and horn-rimmed glasses. He kept a peculiar diet of fruits and vegetables. And he cried out to throngs of people, “Repent! Change your ways!"

    And so entire cities, from New York to Sydney emptied out and formed long lines around Steve's stores, camping out overnight, paying exorbitant prices, waiting to be baptized into his movement.

    Why did they come?

    Steve offered a better way - life would be easier, people would feel better about themselves, and join a like-minded community, evangelical in their fervor.

    Prophets, disciples, and societal movements that affect millions of people are still alive and well today.

    They thrive because we are all looking for happiness, community, and a way to get excited about life again.

    That we are willing and even capable of changing, morphing, and becoming again, spea ks to this deep-seated desire.

    And then along comes Advent.

    This is our annual call to inward analysis: are we happy, are we forming real community, are we excited about life?

    When we hear John the Baptist crying from the wilderness in church this Sunday, that wilderness represents those places of loneliness and longing in our lives, where we have strayed, left others, even God behind, perhaps off on a detour or distraction - and where we yearn to get back on track.

    What Advent offers is Hope that change can happen. It is the run up to Christmas, when God told us in no uncertain terms, that God loves us enough to be with us, even to be one of us.

    How is Jesus inviting us to change our ways, to repent, and to get back on track?
    What do we need to leave behind, what do we need to say yes to?
    What does allegiance to the Jesus movement look like for us today? 
  • Snowflakes and the Second Coming

    Snowflakes and the Second Coming

     

    What if Christmas came not on December 25, but on the first snowfall?

    My friend Jim likes to ask this question to help us imagine how chaotic our preparations would become: how do we plan a huge, holiday feast on a moment's notice? Our Christmas shopping season would shift to August. And move over Disney and Cartoon channels, our kids' favorite TV program would be on the Weather Channel!

    A drop in temperature to 32 degrees, the appearance of a storm cloud, the sighting of even the smallest of snowflakes would trigger alarms in stock exchanges, shopping malls, broadcast networks, and airports.

    This is a timely exercise given this Sunday, the start of Advent, and the run up to Jesus's first coming, which is always predicated in Church by the contemplation of his Second Coming - at an unpredictable hour.

    It's been said that, "power is influence over external events, and peace is influence over internal events."

    Concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl said, "Everything can be taken from humans but one thing... Our inner attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

    In light of the fragility, unpredictability, and powerlessness of our lives, how might we cultivate inner peace at this time of year by reminding ourselves that God is with us, we will never be abandoned, and our final resting place is in love?

    This spinning top of a world will continue to whirl out of control, but let's use Advent to gain control of that inner dialogue and attitude, focusing on the God who loves us, keeps us, and provides for us, no matter how or when it snows.
  • Compare Downward

    Compare Downward

     

    Once there was an emperor whose kingdom bordered two others.

    His Medium-size Kingdom bordered the Grand Kingdom that had many natural resources, lots of farmland, an exquisite Royal palace, and generations of rulership under a benevolent family. It also bordered the Humble Kingdom, which had very few resources, not much farmland, and a small Palace for the small Royal family.

    Every year the emperor of this Medium-sized Kingdom would make three times as many visits to the Grand Kingdom as he did the Humble Kingdom, always impressed with the latest innovations the wealthier kingdom was able to implement.  The emperor would arrive home, meet with the Royal treasurer and immediately demand tax hikes and longer working hours from his people in order to keep up with the Grand Kingdom.

    But when he arrived home from his visits to the Humble Kingdom, the emperor would frequently relax, and sometimes even call for a special holiday in his Medium-size Kingdom.

    After one such visit, he sat at the dinner table with his wife who pointed out that when he spent so much time visiting the Grand Kingdom he came home anxious, demanding, and unhappy. But when he returned home from The Humble Kingdom he was much more relaxed, content, and even grateful.

    So the queen asked: Why don't you spend more time visiting the Humble Kingdom than the Grand Kingdom?

    Friemds, a secret to happiness is to always compare downwards, not upwards.

    This Sunday, the Church commemorates Christ the King Sunday, and a chance for us to reflect upon the kingdoms we visit. How much time are we spending in the Grand Kingdom versus The Humble Kingdom?

    Should we be spending less time comparing upward and more time comparing downward? 
  • It's Not What You Carry...

    It's Not What You Carry...

     

     Two friends monitored election night returns this week.


    The first pulled up a news app and gave it a cursory glance before heading to bed.

    The second started watching election coverage on television at dinnertime and didn't stop until well after midnight. "How could I go to bed?" She said, "The entire weight of democracy hangs in the balance of this election!"

    Of course this year's election is important.  In fact, some people have been using apocalyptic language, not unlike what we  hear in Sunday's Gospel: 'You will hear of wars and insurrections,' and 'there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.'

    Dancer and activist Lena Horne once said this, "It's not what you carry, it's how you carry it."

    While we certainly have control over how we vote and even campaign and lobby for our beliefs, many of the things we face - health, financial, relational, and, of course, political, are beyond our control.

    Often, we can't control what we carry, but we can control how we carry it.

    This is where Jesus comes in with his neverending offer to help us carry the load, shoulder the burden, release the weight of it all. This is not a cop-out or an excuse to shun responsibility - but a gracious invitation to help us  keep our wits about us in turbulent times like ours

    Handing over a burden, of course, demands proximity: to give it over to Jesus means being near him.

    And so, in these tense times:
    How are we carrying out burdens?
    In what ways are our worries distancing us from Jesus?
    How might we better hand over these things to the One who deeply desires to take them?

    It's not what we carry, but how we carry it. 
  • Why Love My Enemy?

    Why Love My Enemy?

     

    A day before officiating a wedding, my child care plans fell through.

    After calling my usual babysitters, who by that time were booked, I made a frantic call to my sister, who graciously dropped her plans and came over to watch the toddler.

    So you can imagine, a week later, when the phone rang, and my sister asked if I would do her a favor, that I would pretty much do anything she asked. I would have cleaned out her garage, made her a three course dinner, taken the trash out for 2 months, or emptied the cat litter until Christmas.

    The point is that generosity begets generosity.

    And what we'll see in Sunday's Gospel is that God's epic generosity with us, is meant to inspire our own generosity with others.

    As I am to recall the generous act of my sister dropping everything and coming to my rescue, you and I are to remember Jesus's pinnacle gifts of forgiveness, acceptance, and love for us as we consider what Jesus asks of us.

    Here's a hint:

    "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."

    Praying for those who voted differently than I did, who hold political views that I think are destroying democracy, and who exhibit greed and selfishness that oppress and abuse the most vulnerable in our society, is not easy for me - or any of us.

    But what makes loving my enemy easier, is when we contemplate the forgiveness, grace, and acceptance that God has given us: How many things have we done that have offended God and our neighbors - that God has forgiven us for? How many times has God let us off the hook, come to the rescue, and accepted us with open arms when we deserve the opposite?

    Friends, performing the difficult - if not impossible - task of being kind to those who are offensive, accepting of those who don’t like us, and forgiving of those who harm us - and would even do so again - is only palatable when we consider how God does this for us.

    Who do we need to pray for, make peace with, and accept?

    Contemplating God’s generosity can give us what we need to make that happen. 
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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