Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

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.

Monday, March 03, 2014


Dear Mr. President,

Please not let our American self-righteousness pour us into war over the Ukraine. It is not our business to supervise and manage the countries of the world.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Thursday, 2/6/, 2014
 Suddenly, I couldn’t speak clearly. My mouth was full of saliva; my tongue wouldn’t work so I could speak my thoughts when I spoke to Ann. This was Sunday night 2/2/14, at 11:00 PM as I was getting into bed. Ann asked, “Have you been drinking?” I thought, I wish I had been. She quickly asked if I was having a stroke. I mumbled. She ran to the kitchen for the fridge magnet message about strokes. FAST meaning. F “How is your Face?” she asked. We agreed it was not drooping. ARMS - ”Lift up you arms.” I did so showing no weakness, SPEECH. I could speak but, with difficulty. T-TIME to call 911. Ann did so immediately.

Within ten minutes the San Francisco Fire Department was in our flat, two women and two men firefighters. The woman in charge was quick and efficient asking all the FAST questions again and some others. She confirmed that I should go to the hospital immediately. Two minutes after the Firefighters came the Emergency Transport Team with two more women and two men. At one point there were eight emergency people in our bedroom.

The ambulance team walked me down the stairs and into the ambulance and whisked me to the hospital, Ann riding in front with the driver.

I am so grateful for their quick response and sensitive caring to me and to Ann. They are to be commended and congratulated for their expertise and humanity.

The Massachusetts General Hospital, Institute for Vascular and Stroke Care put out this item which we had on out fridge door in case of just this emergency.

I spent from midnight Monday February 2 to 6:00 PM at the California Pacific Medical Center.
I was immediately placed in an emergency room single room. The nurses administered IVs and drugs. I saw Dr. Duncan, a cardiologist, within ten minutes.  He, Ann and I consulted on Skype with Dr. Yee, a stroke neurologist, to determine a course of treatment.

I was then sent to a regular intensive care unit to await a C-Scan and MRI, and a barrage of other delicate and indelicate tests. I was a specimen for a team of internists, medical students, neurologists and cardiologists.

Final results indicated a small stroke in the cortex on the right side of my brain. I was essentially told to go home and enjoy my life with a full recovery from that stroke.

In an interview with Dr. Zumwalt, I told him how grateful I was for the quick, efficient care provided by the nurses, nurses’ assistants and doctors. I was quite choked up as I expressed my gratitude.