Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Saturday, November 30, 2019



Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Never too much

We can’t be thanked enough for what we do for our partners. Our partners can never be thanked enough for what they do for us. Here is a list of what we are thankful for. Sex, cooking, cleaning, caring for money, relationships with in-laws, appearance, dress, cleanliness, hair style, smell, kisses and touches and maybe more.

Love is not enough to keep a relationship going. You need to be mindful of each other’s physical, mental emotional and spiritual lives. Renew you commitments and agreements from time to time. Most of all be open and honest with each other and keep communicating -no silent treatments.

I am a steward of the giftts given me. I am a caretaker and owner of the gifts. I have the gifts of my body, spouse. children, money, talents as a cook, writer, therapist, preacher and pastor. I did not earn any of these. I did hone the skills and gifts I was given. I took courses, seminars and read books to improve my professional skills.

I have learned the Christian virtue of thankfulness. I am thankful for all the gifts given me, my life and wife, ears and tears, heart and art, money and honey, mind and kind, feet and meat, brains and grains, sex and love. . Everything, even pain and sadness, which make me grow and nurture.

Marriage - The person you marry is a free gift to you. You did nothing to earn that gift. It is a mystery. When you look at this person, see her or him as a gift rather than someone you earned and someone who owes you something. Some of us call this grace.

How to prepare for Advent? Read W.H. Auden's For the Time Being, a Christmas Oratorio. I have read it the weeks before Christmas for many years. It is funny, haunting and beautiful.

Sunday, October 13, 2019


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Dear Bishop Andrus,

Heal from the stroke. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has sent you a message to stop gallivanting around the country yammering about climate change. Stay home and lead the people of your diocese facing issues of immigration reform, homelessness, poverty, police brutality, income inequality, health care and peace. You were elected to lead your people not the whole country. Climate change is safer than the issues of urban pain. We need your leadership here.

Robert Warren Cromey

Friday, September 27, 2019


Rob Droste Oh Robert, you crack me up. You've given up so much and risked so much, all actions taken, as you've been so clear, out of your Christian faith. Those, my beloved friend, are all acts of love - actions of the heart - extravagant, costly, unexplainable in worldly terms - in other words, not "intellectual realities" but acts of passionate fire and blood and love. So while you'd renounce cold dogma, I very much doubt you'd instantly renounce the great principles of compassion and justice that have formed who you are, say turning your back on black people or gay people or poor people. And I absolutely refuse to believe that's all some sort of sterile intellectual exercise with you. It comes directly out of powerful feelings that make you the person we all love so much


My daily prayer is Thank You God through Jesus Christ:
For Ann, Daughters Leigh, Sarah and Jessica, Grandchildren Mary Charlotte, Eric, Caleb, Daniel and Catherine. Men in my daughters lives, Ben, Rich, Greg Bird, Greg Buck, David L.

For the departed: First wife Lillian, Grandson Austin, Parents Helen and Warren, Cousin Richard. Ruth and Gene, Ann’s mother and father.

I really do love these thanksgivings. They are the best part of my prayer life. They bring happy memories from the past. Warm thoughts about my mother and father. Guilt and sadness emerge too as I think of Lillian and deaths of so many loved ones. Also, the joys of the births of my daughters and grandchildren emerge. 

I do not meditate very well. I fall asleep, think of sex and when the hell will this be over.
I do not read the Bible regularly nor the daily offices. I find them boring, repetitive and irrelevant. My personality does not allow for those rote routines. However, I like my routines of three meals a day, cocktail hour, reading and writing, shopping and cooking.

I have not had a religious experience. I don’t like to pray in restaurants or in small groups or before meetings. I am embarrassed by public displays of piety.

We say grace at dinner blessing and giving thanks for the food. We include specific reference to the hungry, poor, sick, immigrants and lonely, all in the name of Jesus Christ, the Revolutionary. I hate that some might think I was a fundamentalist or a pious poop.

I do read some religious literature – Thomas Merton, Anne Lamott, Frederick Buechner, St. Francis de Sales, Rumi, St. Ignatius, Martin Luther King, Jr., The Bible etc. I like writing that roots me in the reality of God in my daily life, thoughts, causes, social, psychological and political. 

I often recite the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy upon me a sinner. 3X. This is apparently a Russian Orthodox pious practice. I like to recite it to myself when it pops into my head. It is a constant reminder that I am a sinner, both in the past and in the present. My glorious arrogance needs confession from time to time.

I recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Glory be… from time to time. Sometimes I say/think the opening prayer of the mass. “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from no secrets are hid. Cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit…”

I do regard my spiritual life as rather thin. Other people seem to do it all much better than I. But I am happy with the way it is for me. I do have tinges of “I should do it better.” I cannot think about going to a spiritual director. I pray the way I can, not the way I can’t

I do not want to develop a better discipline. I’d rather flop along as I am.

I love the Eucharist on Sundays. There I feel close to Jesus and God and the other worshipers at the table. I love the incense, hymns, organ music and a good sermon that relates to my life and values.

I have little emotional feelings about God or Jesus. They are mostly intellectual and mindful realities. I know I have connections to both. I can’t imagine being tortured or dying for my faith. I’d renounce my faith in a second if it might cause me pain or death. I also do not believe in a God who would care one way or another about my faith. I do believe in the God of love who loves me.

My Religious Experience

The closest thing to a religious experience for me was in direct action events.
I felt exhilaration, joy and fear when I went to Selma, was arrested in a sit-in in SF and stood on a weekly witness for peace for 15 years in SF. In those moments when doing something specific for social justice, I felt a “strength.” As a therapist and pastor, when a client “got it,” had a moment of insight, I felt a joy moment. In moments of deep sexual passion, my out of body experience was holy. Hearing great music, seeing divine sculpture and paintings and reading a great book, I am in awe and wonder.

God but no Jesus

The Dearly Beloved
By Cara Wall

I want to praise many things about this thoughtful book and I will. But first there is one insulting, naïve and blatant omission. Two of the main characters become Presbyterian ministers. Yet the name of JESUS never appears once in the entire book. This is an obvious omission. The publishers did not want to put off buyers who might be uncomfortable with the person of Jesus. Christian ministers wrestle with the identity and spirituality of this central character of the faith.

The author shows us how the ministers wrestle with their faith in God. The struggle is significant and the answers ambiguous. The courtship of the husbands and wives are depicted in moving terms. The problems of ministering in a downtown church are well done.

The serious and painful discussion of the birth, education and raising of an autistic child is magnificently told. He is the child of the wife of one of the ministers. Their agony, fear and eventual healing are most moving.

This is the story of redemptive suffering and emerging into new relationships and love. For Christians, the life death and resurrection of Jesus is our constant source of redeeming love.

-Robert Warren Cromey

Sunday, September 08, 2019


Sermon at requiem for Toby Wiggins at Church of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco, CA September 7, 2019

Toby took his own life a month ago. 

There is nothing you can ever do that will keep you from the love of God. 

I suppose David could even say that there is nothing that Toby could have done to keep him from David’s love. David was certainly hurt and saddened and even angry that Toby had taken his own life.
Toby was an artist. Many of us have little gems that he made and passed around to his friends. Ann has ear rings, I have a brouche and a six-pointed star. He created them and gave them away to friends and strangers.

David and Toby, Ann and I had meals together over the last decade. We witnessed their love, caring and support. They travelled, went to endless doctor’s appointments, meetings and social events. They lived together and nurtured each other for twenty years. Toby is dead and David is wounded. We his friends and church community are here to nurture him as he has cared for us. Know that David.

There is nothing you can ever do that will keep you from the love of God.

Many conservative people in our country work vigorously to opposed adequate medical care for our citizens. Jesus’s ministry was as a healer. Jesus healed the lame woman, the blind man and children. Christians, serious Christians, can continue to work hard to guarantee adequate medical care for all people. Toby needed all kinds of medical help. He received some but needed more. We can be healers on how we vote.

The Christian faith means we care for our brothers and sisters in sickness and in health. Our church communities love and support the lonely, sad and all the rest of us that are a bit odd and queer. That is what Jesus calls us to be and to do. 

There is nothing you can ever do that will keep you from the love of God.

Our worship of God through Jesus, our prayer, meditation, retreats, intercessions and thanksgivings are necessary for our faith life. Flowing from that spirituality is a commitment to justice, peace and healing. Without that active commitment to justice and peace our spirituality is pretty thin.

We are resurrection people. Easter means we have new life always. We live with a sure and certain hope of life beyond death. Some of us have high hopes for a celestial kingdom where we can rejoin our long dead families. Some believe that we are reincarnated in nature. Some have other views. Tobey used to say we came from the stars and we return to the stars.

The saying there is nothing you can ever do that will keep you from the love of God.

I like what our slave brothers and sisters believe. Sing with me;

Swing low, Sweet chariot, comin’ for to carry me home. 
Swing low. Sweet chariot comin’ for to take our Toby home.

-The Rev. Robert Warren Cromey

Friday, August 16, 2019


Why do we have so many illegal immigrants in the United States?
Stingy congresses have starved the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for many years;
1.   Low pay, poor working conditions, not nearly enough officers meant that illegal immigrants came in droves with no officers to check on them.
2.  Few U.S. citizens will do the hard work harvesting grapes, artichokes and other products.
3.  People from Mexico and Central American countries came to the U.S. willing to do the hard work.
4.  Immigration officers were too understaffed to follow up on immigrants who overstayed their allotted time in the U.S.
5.   Many of the illegals got jobs, had families, paid taxes and applied for citizenship.

Our inept congresses and a racist president are the root causes of the present crisis and the inhumane treatment of people from North and South America.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Controlled Capitalism

Capitalism depends on acquiring more money, using the earth’s resources for gain and greed, the idea that the more you get the more you want. Capitalism creates profit and poverty.

Controlled capitalism means that government puts controls on banking, real estate, and business to insure competition and prevent gross profit making. We had those controls starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Reagan and Clinton presidencies whittled away those controls so that few of them exist to curb the rampant capitalism of today.