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
  • It's Not That Complicated...

    It's Not That Complicated...

     

    When my niece was a toddler she asked her mother, "How does a car work?"

    My sister-in-law took her to the garage and instead of popping the hood to explain how internal combustion, fuel injection, and alternators function, she pointed to the gas cap and asked her little daughter, "What's this?".

    "That's where the gas goes!" said the toddler.
    Then her mom pointed to the ignition.
    "That's where the key goes!" said her daughter.
    Then her mom pointed to the car seats.
    "That's where you go - and where I go!"

    "That's right!" said her mom, "Cars are very complicated, but the important thing to know is that when everything is in the right place, the car runs pretty well."

    "Oh, I get it!" said her daughter, who then added, "And mom, it's not that complicated!"

    This weekend many faith communities commemorate Trinity Sunday. It's the only feast of the Church not dedicated to an event or a saint, but instead, a theological concept - our own feeble attempt at explaining God.

    Yes, you've heard them all before, Patrick's 3-leafed clover, the Celt's overlapping 3 circles, the harmony of a 3-note chord, and the interplay of water - as liquid, gas, and ice - three forms of one element.

    At the end of the day our human constructs are as summative as my sister-in-laws explanation of a car: we are able to understand the inner workings of God and the universe as well as my niece understands how an automobile works. Of course, this doesn't mean we shouldn't ask questions, nor get too frustrated when we find ourselves unable to understand everything we wish.

    Instead, it's about resting in God - relying on God - trusting that, when everything is in its place, things run pretty well. 
  • The First Time I Got Drunk...

    The First Time I Got Drunk...

     

    The first time I got drunk was with Jim Brose in Jr. High.

    We made Harvey Wallbangers at his parent's minibar after they had gone out for dinner. Despite mixing two drinks together I did not like on their own, vodka and orange juice, the resulting concoction was palatable, and enough to make us very dizzy, then, suddenly, very open about sharing things we had never talked about - things that were close to my heart that might inspire negative judgements - like my crush on Lynn Mirabito or my fear that my high-pitched adolescent voice might not change.

    The fact that alcohol lowers our inhibitions is well-known.

    It may explain why, in our Bible reading this Sunday recounting the dramatic Pentecost event when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples who had been praying in a house not drinking in a bar, were accused of intoxication.

    All of a sudden, these disciples were liberated and freed up to speak their hearts. Their inhibitions were lifted. They didn't care who knew or what negative judgements they might inspire.

    No, the disciples were not pounding mimosas, drinking to escape, but praying, trying to be more present.

    And the more present we are before God the less we care about what other people think.

    Today you and I are awash in a fearful culture obsessed with the impressions we make on others. Social media posts are scrubbed from imperfections. The uptick in loneliness is fueled, in part, because we don't want to let people in for fear they won't like what they see.

    But the Holy Spirit inside you and me is a liberating, gregarious force granting us gracious permission to be ourselves no matter what others think.

    Pentecost is about letting you be truly yourself - letting that which is deepest within you, the love, kindness, generosity, and joy in your God-like soul, shine forth into our needy world with boldness and power.

    Pentecost means total release from the prison of public opinion.
    It is liberation from the incarceration of worldly protocols that inhibit us from doing the holy work of our hearts.

    So saints, let us be free - to get on with moving outside of ourselves: to comforting the bereaved, standing up for the poor, providing for the homeless, visiting inmates, speaking truth to power - the power of the Holy Spirit is known by the love it has for others - we’re not drunk with wine - we’re overcome by love - let us not be shy in letting that love shine. 
  • Who Do You Look Like?

    Who Do You Look Like?


     In the mid-1930's a missionary couple travelled to India.


    They left behind their 11-year-old son in the care of relatives until he could finish out the school year before joining them in New Delhi.

    However, World War II broke out, suspending this kind of travel, so it would be eight years before that missionary couple could return home. When that occasion finally arose they secured transport on a freighter, a train, then, finally a cab to arrive early one morning to the home where their son was staying.

    Unable to contain her excitement, the boy's mother sprinted from the cab to the front porch where her now-19-year-old son was standing with open arms when she stopped short and exclaimed to her husband, "Just look at our boy! He's gone and looked just like you!"

    This week the Church commemorates the departure of Jesus from this earth in an event called the Ascension. It's after the Risen Christ has spent weeks instructing his disciples, praying for them, blessing them, and now departing from them - leaving them with the same job you and I have: to look like Jesus.

    Being generous, kind, and helping the poor-
    Being patient, prayerful, and grounded in scripture -
    Being mindful of injustice and speaking up on behalf of the marginalized -
    These are some of the ways we go about looking like Jesus.

    We remember how St. John famously wrote to an expectant audience, well-aware of the brevity of life and the priceless value of each day, 'for when he appears we will be like him.'

    So friends, let us set aside life's detours and distractions and make haste in doing what is right, in imitating Christ, so that we too might bear an unmistakable resemblance to our father. 
  • Act Your Spirit

    Act Your Spirit

     

    My 85-year-old friend Jane does not act her age.

    She dresses in bright colored clothes in the latest styles, stays up late salsa dancing, and has been known to put the top down on her convertible in the winter.

    Asked once about her counter-cultural behavior, Jane said, 'Everybody around me wants me to act my age. I prefer to act my spirit.'

    Act your spirit not your age.

    Our age may tell us not to travel there, volunteer for that, listen to this, or start doing that. Your spirit would never say such a thing.

    Acting our age implies our behaviors be dictated by others, by people who want to keep us safe, comfortable, and supportive of the status quo.

    Acting our spirit means we listen to our hearts, even, as Jesus will teach us this Sunday, that holy presence inside of us. Acting our spirit often involves courage, trust, and faith - and prods us to improve and enliven ourselves and the world around us.

    God put that unique, life-giving, love-seeking, self-liberating Spirit inside of you for a reason.
    Don't be afraid to stand out.
    Don't let cultural norms dictate who you are and what you do.
    Listen more to your spirit, put it to the test, see if you don't feel more authentic, more fulfilled, more alive, by acting not your age, but your spirit. 
  • Lost in the Music

    Lost in the Music

     

    When the twins, Hazel and Hannah, first arrived home they entered a nursery adorned with wallpaper sporting images of little violins.

    No surprise. Both of their parents were concert violinists and instructors, who filled the house with violin music throughout their childhoods. It's no surprise that Hazel and Hannah would pick up the violin at a young age, grow to love practicing and playing, and themselves head off to college on music scholarships pursuing an instrument and a kind of music they had grown to deeply adore.

    When people would hear them play in concert they would marvel at their knowledge, expertise, and skill - and how they could bring joy and happiness into the world. How did they know so much? How could they play so well? No surprise, it's because their entire world was sculpted and formed around the violin.

    In Sunday's Gospel Jesus tells his disciples not to be anxious about what they're doing and where they're going. And when the disciples respond with worry and concern, he paints for them a picture of oneness with God, of a deep anchoring in love, of a sculpting and forming of their lives around a greater realization and conviction that God is in their midst.

    Jesus wants his followers to know that we are greatly affected by the environments we create. Regularly calling to mind the reality of God with us, love watching over us, and charity showing us the way - is the kind of life he commends to his followers.

    Friends, every moment of every day we take a vote on the kind of person we want to be. We do that as we choose the kind of things we listen to, the people we hang around with, the activities we pursue, the ways we spend our money, and the ways we spend our time. The challenge for you and me is to continually examine these things and evaluate them according to Jesus's ways. For his is the way of peace. His is a way of love. Like Hannah and Hazel, our environments make us who we are!

    May we find ways to be more fully aware of the presence of Jesus, that his music may bring joy and happiness to all who hear it. 
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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