Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


One more reason to hate the United States. “The CIA and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Committee launched drone attacks in Yemen.” Why? Because a recent video showed (that) al Qaeda leaders in Yemen (were) taunting the United States.” Apparently three civilians were killed in the raids. (SF Chronicle April 22, 2014) Are we so thin skinned?

The continuing drone bombings kill people in Yemen and Pakistan. The last I heard the U.S. has not declared war on either of these countries. We are at peace with them. Nefarious forces in our government, including the President, hail these cruel and illegal bombings as necessary for their counterterrorism activities. I notice the war is undeclared and never ending. No evidence is forthcoming of the effectiveness of these excursions in inhumane bombings. They kill civilians and perhaps some alleged so-called terrorists.

One wonders why the U.S. is hated and terrorism rages?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Jeanne Phillips, writer of the Dear Abby column got it really wrong in today’s advice column. (San Francisco Chronicle 4/17/14). A troubled wife writes that her husband consumes “six to twelve” cans of beer daily after work. Dear Abby writes, “You husband is an alcoholic.”

Wrong. A person who can keep a job, maintain relationships and function in society and drinks a lot of beer is not an alcoholic. An alcoholic is a person who admits his life is taken over by alcohol. Only the drinker can call himself an alcoholic. There is no known medical or scientific test that can prove a person is an alcoholic.

Name-calling only interferes with person admitting he has an alcohol problem. He becomes more resistant to admitting he has a problem. Phillips is right when she suggests the wife seek help from Al-Anon where she may find strategies to help her husband deal with whatever problems he may have with drink.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Seat the congregation – Remain Quiet

We contemplate Jesus’ death. We think of our own death.

We march toward Good Friday. All the Biblical readings move us to think about the death of Jesus and own death and the death of those whom we love.

Few of us can dwell very long on death. Our minds drift to other things very soon.

The Christian Church is one of the few communities that regularly teach about death Palm Sunday and Good Friday come around every single year, like it or not.

In the first parish I served in 1956 as a curate. Gail came to the rector, Fr. Barrett and said, “Could you please play down all that pain, sorrow and death during Holy Week and Good Friday this year. I don’t think it is good for the children to hear and read about all that stuff.”

The Rector was polite, but said things had to go on as usual and it did.

A few years later Gail committed suicide.

We walk through the valley of the shadow of death in this life of ours. The valley of the shadow of death is:

         1. Immigrants who fear deportation.

2. LGBT people who fear decisions by the Supreme Court perhaps nullifying same-sex marriages.
3. Elders who fear running out of money and housing.

4. Each of us as we age and grow more sick and infirm.

“Yeah, though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me.”

The Christian Church is a witness to death, its fact, meaning and mourning and healing.

We also stood witness to Jesus as we marched around the streets. We witnessed to Jesus who teaches us infinite love, compassion, forgiveness.

We followers of Jesus stand witness to the hungry, homeless and those who need healing.

It seems silly and useless to walk the streets, stand vigil for peace or end violence in our neighborhood. We are not likely to change things very much.

A man asked me when I was at the Vigil for Peace recently, “Do you really think you will abolish all wars?” I said, “Probably not, but I am here to say I am opposed to war.”

So we Christians stand witness to the reality of death, to love, to forgive and to our inspiration, JESUS, the revolutionary.



Once again obtuse American politicians have used “Twitter like” Cuban Communications network to underline the oh so dangerous communist country. (SF Chronicle April 4, 2014. Cuba one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere is apparently seen as a threat. The value of teaching democracy to impoverished Cubans is ludicrous. America, the merciful, refuses to allow aspirin to be imported into that country. The embargo is against this dangerous country trying to wrest itself from a communist past and into capitalism as a way to prosper. Send food, medical supplies and a helping hand, not useless propaganda.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, 1851

This is my third and best reading of the book. I chose to read slowly and read every word not skipping parts I found boring. I noticed this time how funny and amusing Melville is. The scene of Ahab and Queequeg meeting and sleeping in the same bed is quite funny. There are remarks and little satires through out the book that one misses unless reading slowly and deliberately.

Moby Dick, the whale, is truly a sign of evil and Ahab the captain is truly a sinner. He has a monomaniacal desire for revenge on the whale who bit off his leg, his refusal to help search for the missing boys from the ship Rachael. His petty cruelties and vicious comments to his crew are merciless and thoughtless. He does adopt the black boy Pip.

The cruel joy of the captain and crew in their wanton killing of the whales reflects the disregards for the creatures of the creation. But those were the times of the whalers and their owners.

Evil swims through the tale, yet life goes on and on. The work of the sailors, the easy banter of the men, the life of money, trade and human intercourse goes on all the while the world is a sinful and an evil plaice too.  The whale kills Ahab and his crew, destroys the ship and only Ishmael survives to tell the tale.

Melville shows us the perversity of evil in the created world but there is resurrection and new life and Ishmael survives and presumably writes the book through Melville. The book is both a warning of the perversity of human sin and reflection of all the good things that rifle through humanity. Melville’s book does not reflect all the full joyousness and creativity of human life. He is more interested in the evil.

His art as a story teller and describing of the sea, sky, water, birds, fish, animals and the ways and whiles of human beings is magical.