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
  • Top Ten Books of 2022

    Top Ten Books of 2022


    Here are the 99 books read in 2022 - my top ten are highlighted... do LMK your top reads!


    12/22 - Inside Job
                Stephen Smith
    This is a Christian, IVP, book on vocation, by a retreat leader in Colorado who describes the importance of taking care of your inside - spirit and soul - as the key to any sort of success

    12/22 - Body of Work
                 Pamela Slim
    The best book I’ve read - secular mind you - to help you figure out what to do, vocationally, and how to get there. Written by a life coach and HR consultant who’s really talented.

    12/22 - Just Courage
                 Gary Haugen
    Gary’s an Ivy League lawyer who founded the evangelical International Justice Ministry to free sex slaves and sweatshop slaves. The book is aimed at young people he’s trying to recruit to his ministry - mostly lawyers he wants to send to far flung places

    12/22 - Living in Christ’s Presence
                Dallas Willard/John Ortberg
    This is the product of a Santa Barbara conference at the end of Dallas’ life. Ortberg interviews him after every chapter. It’s them is to focus on the inner voice of Christ, being evangelical it is more interested in personal piety vs social justice.

    12/22 - Being Human
                  Rowan Williams
    This 3rd in a trilogy is dense reading. However the nuggets on the importance of love and living into our humanity - vs ‘we’re just complex machines’ is formidable. A Cambridge Don, he is conversing with the secular atheist at every turn.

    12/22 - Shaping the Prayers of the People
                   Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher
    This is an excellent, practical book! I will use it often. It offers a theology and examples of why and how to do the POP with grace and conviction.

    12/22 - The Healthy Churches' Handbook
                   Robert Warren
    No relation to Rick Warren, this CofE vicar turned consultant offers a course in mainline church diagnosis and a path forward to health and growth out of his context.

    12/22 - Saint Benedict on the Freeway
                   Corinne Ware
    A wonderful book on how to center on the inner life by an ECUSA theologian and retreat leader. Helps us put Benedict’s insights into daily use.

    12/22 - The Perfect Stranger's Guide to Funerals and
                    Grieving Practices - Stuart Matlins, ed.
    An interesting, probably dated, book listing every religious tradition and 2-pages on what to do when someone of that persuasion dies.

    12/22 - Frameworks
                    Eric Larson
    Eric’s an evangelical and tries to help non-Bible reading teens pick up the Bible. It is, hence, simplified and somewhat misleading. I would not use it to teach much - though the ways he classifies some information is helpful - ie showing Jesus’ travels.

    12/22 - Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World
                   John Spong

    12/22 - Essence of Prayer
                    Ruth Burrows

    12/22 - The Attentive Life
                   Leighton Ford

    12/22 - The Power of Regret
                   Daniel Pink

    12/22 - Four Birds of Noah's Ark
                    Thomas Dekker

    12/22 - Praying with Our Feet
                    Lindsey Krinks

    12/22 - Almost Innocent
                   Shanti Brien

    12/22 - What We Talk About When We Talk About God
                    Rob Bell

    12/22 - Hear Us, O Lord
                   Washington National Cathedral

    12/22 - The Well of Being
                    Jean-Piertr Weill

    12/22 - I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet
                   Shauna Niequust

    12/22 - Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
                   Halevi

    11/22 - Revive Us Again
                    William Barber

    11/22 - Start with Hello
                   Shannan Martin

    11/22 - Death Rehearsal
                   Doug Pogorski

    11/22 - The Happiness. Curve
                    Jonathan Rauch

    10/22 - Unreasonable Hospitality
                  Will Guidara

    10/22 - Fully Alive
                   Timothy Shriver

    10/22 - Survival of the Richest
                   Douglas Rushkoff

    10/22 - Christianity Rediscovered
                   Vincent Donovan
    This book really helped me re-think evangelism and birth in me a renewed hunger for sharing faith. I have never felt more comfortable as an evangelist until after I read this book.

    9/22 - Making Your Case
                 Antonio Scalia and Bryan Garner

    9/22 - The Unjust Steward
                 Miguel Escobar

    9/22 - Left Turn: Life Unimagined
                 Jen Eikenhorst

    9/22 - Vital Signs of Faith
                 Kate Moorehead Carroll

    9/22 - Fatal Moments
                 Gwendolyn Gilliam and Susan Chesser

    9/22 - Do I Stay Christian?
                 Brian McLaren

    9/22 - Capital without Borders
                Brook Harrington
    An amazing book. Brook, an Ivy league academic, wanted to find out more about the 1% but could not. She figured out it’s wealth managers who are in the know - so she went to school, and became one. Its insights into how the rich are getting richer at an incredible rate is a wake up call to us all.

    8/22 - Divine Presence Amid Violence
                 Walter Brueggeman

    8/22 - Jesus Wears Socks with Sandals
                 S. James Meyer

    8/22 - Caste
              Isabel Wilkerson
    This is simply the best book on race relations in America I’ve read. She gives wonderful background and insight into how American slavery and Indian caste systems parallel. 

    8/22 - Fanocracy
              David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

    8/22 - The Beauty of Dusk
              Frank Bruni

    8/22 - A House Built on Live
                Ed Walker

    8/22 - The Me I Want to Be
              John Ortberg

    7/22 - American Gospel
                 Jon Meachum

    7/22 - Think Again
                 Adam Grant

    7/22 - A Primer for Forgetting
                 Lewis Hyde

    7/22 - Grit
                 Angela Duckworth

    7/22 - Let Them Eat Tweets
                 Hacker and Pierson
    Two liberal academics parse the foundation of Trumpism without spending much time on Trump, rather how the wealthy are crafting the Republican Party to carry out their desires for lower taxes and greater accumulation of money, resources, and power.

    7/22 - A Chronicle of Grief
                 Mel Lawrenz

    7/22 - Lamb (The Gospel According to Biff)
                 Christopher Moore

    7/22 - Tao Te Ching
                 Lao Tzu

    6/22 - The Way of Love
                 Scott Gunn

    6/22 - Cleopatra (skimmed)
              Phyliss Schiiff

    6/22 - One on One with Andy Grove
               Andy Grove

    6/22 - Witness Essentials
                 Daniel Meyer

    6/22 - The Lessons of History
                 Will and Ariel Durant

    6/22 - Woven Voices
                Anika Paris et al

    6/22 - Hallelujah Anyway
                 Anne Lamott

    5/22  Mary in the Redemption
               Adrienne Von Speyr (skimmed)

    5/22 - In Praise of Shadows
                 Jun'ichirĊ Tanizaki

    5/22 - Evangelism for Non-Evangelists
                 Mark Teasdale (skimmed)

    5/22 - The Creation Care Bible Challenge
                Marek Zabriskie, Ed.

    5/22 - Adolf Hitler, Volume 2
               John Toland

    5/22 - Reading Jesus' Bible (skimmed)
                 John Goldingay

    5/22 - Corruptible (skimmed)
                 Brian Klaas

    5/22 - The Ministry of Ordinary Places
                Shannan Martin

    4/22 - The God We Never Knew
                 Marcus Borg

    4/22 - Adolf Hitler, Volume 1 and 2
               John Toland
    In these two volumes, Toland tells an insightful picture of the 20th century’s best known and most treacherous leader, giving insight into his life-long antisemitism, incredible luck (a dozen failed assassinations?), unswerving dedication, and impressive stamina he brought to his megalamoniacal cause.

    4/22 - God Got a Dog
                 Cynthia Rylant and Marla Frazee

    4/22 - The Grain of Wheat
                Hans Urs von Balthazar

    4/22 — Summoned
                Daniel Allen, Jr (Skimmed, not a good book, too evangelical)

    4/22 - The Fidelity of Betrayal
                 Peter Rollins

    4/22 - Every Creature a Word of God
                 Annika Spalde and Pellet Strindlund

    4/22 - Pocket Neighborhoods
                 Ross Chapin

    3/22 - Good News for All Creation
                Vegetarianism as Christian Stewardship
                Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun
    This book opens my mind about my place in creation and how I can practically and honestly help make the world better one meal at a time.

    3/22 - The Art of Social Media
                 Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

    3/22 - A Joyful Heart
                Martin Thornton

    3/22 - Teach Us to Want
                 Jen Michel Pollock

    3/22 - Night
                 Elie Wiesel

    3/22 - Hackiversity
                 Kyle Winey

    3/22 - The Passionate Intellect
                 Alister McGrath

    3/22 - Finding My Voice
                 Beth Knobbe

    3/22 - The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
              Ron Heifetz et al. (skimmed)

    3/22 - The Singer
                  Calvin Miller

    3/22 - The Character of Virtue
                 Stanley Hauerwas

    2/22 - Becoming a Just Church
                Adam Gustine

    2/22 - Taking It to the Streets
                  Harry Louis Williams II

    2/22 - Speaking of Race
               Celeste Headlee

    2/22 - Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons
                Edwin Robertson, ed.

    2/22 - Proverbs Commentary
                Rabbi Mission Scherman

    1/22 - Let Every Heart Prepare
               Barbara Cawthorne Crafton

    1/22 - Discover Joy in Work
               Shundrawn Thomas

    1/22 - Becoming Curious
                Casey Tygrett

    1/22 - Josephine Butler: A Very Brief Biography
                Jane Robinson

    1/22 - Insurrection
                Peter Rollins

    1/22 -  Stillness
                 Ryan Holiday

    1/22 - People Pleasing Pastors
                Charles Stone

    1/22 - Herod the Great
                Adam Kolman Marshak
    Adam has made his academic career out of studying this complex character, whom he describes as cunning, brilliant, and not far from the beliefs and practices of other leaders of his time. 




  • How Are You Going to Get Healthy in 2023?

    How Are You Going to Get Healthy in 2023?

     

    How Are You Going to Get Healthy in 2023?

    If your mind immediately went to diet and exercise then that's a sign of where we need to start.

    You see, you and I have been sold a bill of goods that says our health is primarily gauged by how we look, what we own, who we know, and the experiences we've had.

    Invest in these things, we're told, and you are one of life's winners. So we do that, individually and communally, and this is what we have:

    A country that's got more than enough resources to feed, clothe, educate, house, and care for its sick and elderly - but doesn't.

    An expensive and expansive government that rewards greed, fraud and deception, placating those who have enough and ignoring those who don't.

    An increasingly divided and isolated society where loneliness runs rampant, one recent study claiming its effects equal a two pack a day smoking habit.

    Our systems are broken because we're broken.

    We reward with 'likes' the skinny, rich, and suntanned - who, on the inside are insecure, unhappy, and flat out scared - so that the popular and prosperous are held up as models and examples to a populace that is too slow to awaken to the fact that being well adjusted to a sick society is not a sign of health.

    Getting healthy starts inside, when we connect with that voice and urge that points us to goodness, kindness, and love.

    It starts by standing up to that sick society, boldly declaring our disinterest in its values and aspirations, and looking at effective and practical ways to order our lives toward the good, toward the light.

    The Jesus Way is that path.

    We know instinctively that love is the answer and that reading, watching, listening to, and hanging around the things that point us to the light is what works.

    So what will this look like for us in 2023?
    What are our next steps?
    How will we define, and strive, toward true health? 
  • Change the Diapers!

    Change the Diapers!

     

    My friend was in the grocery store once when a man in front of her suddenly collapsed in a fit of cardiac arrest.

    Luckily, she knew where the portable defibrillator was kept, allowing her to keep the man alive until a rescue crew arrived, who would later tell her that had she not acted, that man would not have made it.

    If she hadn't done something, that man would be dead.

    This weekend when you and I celebrate Christmas we find God in the form of an infant - a needy, dependent, frail, and defenseless, baby.

    If he was like mine, more than once his parents would awaken to his crying in the middle of the night, to find he'd thrown up all over himself.

    "Is it your turn to change him or mine?" the conversation might begin, as the parents live with the fact that human babies are the neediest creatures in the animal world - taking literally years to learn how to care for themselves - meaning if they won't change him, who will?

    Sooner or later you and I figure out that God has put into motion a world that grants us a great deal of autonomy, control, freedom, and responsibility - we can choose to get the defibrillator or the diaper - or not.

    The message of 'hope' that we get at Christmas, then, is God's hope that you and I will change the diaper. Nobody's going to make us, we won't be forced or coerced, but gently reminded that when we were once laying in that crib, someone fed, clothed, and protected us - and that, in doing so, they added to their own meaning and fulfillment as caregivers and lovers.

    So we think about all the people in our circles who need diapers and defibrillators... Or a visit, a text, $100, a pat on the back, or a place to stay.

    If you're like me, God is asking you to do something difficult right now... something selfless, and sacrificial that just might change the course of someone's life - and might give us a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and joy, that we've played a role in God's plan to heal the world.

    So don't ignore that generous urge.

    In that baby Jesus we see that God needs us to fulfill the plan, and that we need God to fulfill ourselves. 
  • Advent Bargains

    Advent Bargains


     Ever make a bargain with God?


    My friend did.

    She was having problems with a coworker, and said a prayer: "God, if you resolve this problem, I'll believe in you and start acting like it!" Sound familiar?

    To her surprise, she was suddenly struck with an urge, that she attributes to God, to apologize to this coworker.

    "Apologize!?" She said to herself, "But I didn't do anything wrong!"

    However, she thought she was hearing a voice of truth. So she came up with an apology. She would say she was sorry for not working harder to understand her coworkers point of view.

    When she called the coworker and made her apology, her co-worker broke down in tears and said she was the only person at work who understood her.

    From that point on, my friend never had problems with that coworker.

    Trusting God's voice is at the heart of Sunday's Gospel when we run into this character named Joseph, who is not known for anything he wrote or said, but for his simple acts of obedience - of believing what the Divine voice had told him - which led to the greatest adventure of his life.

    In a dream, an Angel comes to Joseph and tells him to believe something preposterous, that his fiance is pregnant not only by someone else, but by God! And Joseph unquestionably received this and acted accordingly.

    And it makes me wonder what impossible things God is asking me to believe?
    How about that God will take care of everything?
    Or believing that I am loved, accepted, and enough for myself and for God?
    Or believing that everything I do, no matter how small, is significant, and matters to God and God's plan?

    These things may sound quite trite and simple compared with what Joseph was asked to believe, and maybe that's the point?
    Maybe God is telling us that faith is simple, sure not easy, but simple, it's believing that voice we’ve all heard, taking it at face value, and obeying it.

    What is that voice saying to you and me?
    How is God trying to assure, comfort, guide, or instruct us?
    In taking that voice more seriously, might there be an adventure for us, to rival Joseph's? 
  • Lots of Hyphens

    Lots of Hyphens

     

    I was talking about religion the other day...
    (I know it's a surprising admission from a priest...)

    And my friend said something I hear a lot, ”At the end of the day the only thing that matters is whether or not you're a good person."

    I immediately thought of how this suggests some kind of heavenly point system. Faithful spouse, check; honest worker, check; thoughtful neighbor, check; Kind to puppies, check... Just do these things and you're a 'good person' and eligible for God's favor.

    This hits me sideways because God isn't one whose favor I earn, buy, or have to work for. God's all-consuming, ever-present, over-the-top love (I know, that's a lot of hyphens) does not hinge on my performance.

    I'm not out to do good to get God's favor, I do good because I already have God's favor.

    Shattering divine preconceptions is at play this Sunday when the imprisoned John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus because John is not recognizing God in him: "The Messiah I'm looking for would raise an army, overthrow the government, and get me away from this prison food!"

    But Jesus' idea of liberation is much greater. He tries to tell this to John, recounting how the good news of liberty, healing, and freedom is being proclaimed in word and deed. Jesus is saying that John's conception of who God is and how God works needs some fine-tuning.

    And that's what Advent is all about.

    Too many of us are walking around with a burden on our backs: If I just work harder, be more generous, say more prayers, go to church more often, etc.
    We think that God has high standards because I do.
    And we fail to see that we're engaging in a kind of spiritual narcissism, that God can't accept me until I accept me.

    Jesus wants us to know that no matter what we've done, are doing, or will do, we are loved and accepted by God.
    You mean God loves sinners?
    Well, yes
    Even when they're sinning.
    Is there another time?

    This means our Advent preparation is trading these less-helpful conceptions of God for this idea that God is on our side!
    God is that obnoxious fan in the stands, cheering us on so loudly, not caring what people think.
    The only work we have is to wake up, look around, and accept that love.
    We're worth coming down from heaven to be with! 
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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