Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I think the Iran deal is the best that can be done at this time to keep the U.S. out of another stupid war in the mid-east. Netanyahu and AIPAC will continue to lobby Congress. The Republicans will do anything to hurt the President and his efforts in anything. Frankly, I think peace would best be served by encouraging Iran to get the weapons they want. Apparently Israel has all the weapons it wants. The cliche, leveling the playing field, may be what keeps Iran and Israel wary and respectful of each other. Iran is a great ancient  nation that wants peace and non-interference in its life.  Israel is a newer nation that is still learning to live in the mid-east.

Monday, July 13, 2015


How childish politicians are trying to fix blame. Mikarimi blames the Feds, Ed Lee, Dianne Feinstein and Donald Trump criticize the release of Juan Lopez Sanchez who alledgedly shot Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14. The blame game is useless palaver when law enforcement authorities have to deal with a terribly broken immigration system with conflicting laws and rules. There is plenty of blame to go around. It is easier for politicians to make headlines blaming people rather than changing the awful immigration mess in which our country presently exists.

I an enjoying enjoying the benefits of capitalism. My wife and I have income from the Church Pension Fund, Social Security and some stocks.  Capitalism does work and its by products while making profits make the poor poorer and the planet evermore endangered.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


It is great news that Afghan and Taliban officials are beginning to negotiate about possible peace. (SF Chronicle, July 8, 2015. On the same page, senators decry the failure of the “president’s goal of degrading and ultimately destroying the Islamic State.” “U.S. military has conducted more than 5,000 air strikes to counter Islamic State.”  Obviously, the senators are more interested in killing than seeking negotiation. If Afghan and Taliban leaders can do it, why can’t we find ways to negotiate with IS?

Sunday, July 05, 2015


Sermon –St. John’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA July 5, 2015

What is a prophet? Not profit.

A prophet is a person is regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.

Today, prophetic voices are those who follow the radical teachings of Jesus. They do not predict the end of the world. They are teachers who teach humanity. Much of the political and business world teaches and worships money. That is the word profit not prophet.

Jesus comes into his hometown. He is a famous teacher and healer.
His neighbor immediately questions him. How come he talks like this? How did he get so smart? Is he a wise guy? His dad is only a carpenter! They also say, “He is only the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon.”

Jesus says, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin and in their own house.” He is discouraged.

The writer gives us throwaway line. “Yet he leaves after healing a few sick people and cured them. He went on with his work anyway.” He heals the sick while getting out of town.

This weekend celebrates the Declaration of Independence. Brave English citizens living in the American colonies chose to become independent of their mother country England. The signers of the Declaration of Independence could have been hanged as traitors to their country. The signed the declaration. They were prophets of a new country and a new world. And they were without honor in their own country – England.

Bishop Pike in the 60s was a strong voice for civil rights for African Americans and free speech opposing censorship of book and movies. He was brought up on charges of heresy in the House of Bishops of our church. He was without honor in his own country.

Paul Moore, great Bishop of New York, chose to hide his gayness so he could preach love and acceptance for gays and Lesbians. LGBT had not been defined in his day. He was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Brea Newsome made a wonderful direct action in pulling down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capital.

What’s also interesting about this to me is the outsized role single activists can sometimes have in moving conversations forward, setting off new movements, and exposing the power structure that oppresses people. Most of us are simply not going to climb that flagpole. But we probably should. ...

Lonely acts can sometimes prompt vast movements. But lonely acts will often -- usually -- sink without a ripple. What's hard is to predict which actions will make enduring waves. What Newsome did certainly amplified a cresting tide already in motion. She's won an honored place in the long river of resistance -- but she is certainly not alone.” She is a prophet without honor in her hometown.

In the Nuba Mountains of Sudan Dr. Tom Catena, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, N.Y., is the only doctor at the 435 bed Mother of Mercy hospital in the far south of Sudan. He is the only doctor for a population of more than a half million people. The area is under constant bombardment and shells from the Sudanese government. It is up to Dr. Tom to pry out shrapnel from women’s flesh and amputate limbs of children as he delivers babies and removes appendixes.

There is no telephone, electricity, or running water. Obviously no X-Ray machine. Dr. Tom has worked in the Nuba Mountains 24/7 for eight years. Muslims and Christians praise Dr. Tom’s work “People are praying he never dies.”

He is paid $350 a month, no retirement and no health insurance. He is driven by his Catholic faith. “I have been given benefits from the day I was born, a loving family, a great education. I see my work as an obligation, as a Christian and a human being, to help.

A Muslim Chief says Dr. Tom is Jesus Christ. Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see and helped the lame walk – and that is what Dr. Tom does every day.

When we try to do good things we often feel like they are a just a drop in the bucket and don’t do much good. When we write to the President, our senators and representatives it seems like just a drop in a bucket. 
However, empty bucket gets filled to overflowing.

Each of us is a drop in the bucket of helping the hungry – Julian Pantry

Drop in the bucket – Fr. Richard leads a Mission Walk against police brutality.

Drop in the bucket – Some hold a sign calling on a Vigil for Justice and peace.

Drop in the bucket - The Julian Pantry is our program for feeding the hungry.

They are all drops in the bucket but after a while the bucket gets full. Look at all the drops in a bucket too bring about the right for LGBT people to have the right to marry.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Sex and This Christian

Serious Christians today (2015) by and large see sex as good, beautiful and part of God’s creation. Even conservative Christians believe this. The rub comes in deciding how the sex is expressed. Liberal Christians want the freedom to express their sexuality freely.  Conservatives put boundaries on sexual expression. They want virginity until marriage. Masturbation and viewing pornography are considered bad. Homosexuality is sinful. Sex is ruled out for widows, widowers and adult unmarried people. Some groups prohibit birth control and abortion.

Jesus said nothing about specific sexual acts. St. Paul thought sex was to be controlled and urged Christians to marry. He also wrote things that seem to be anti-homosexual. As the Christian Church developed, its theology and ethics took on Greek notions that things of the spirit were good and things of the flesh were evil. The Roman, Eastern Orthodox and Reformed churches took on this duality. Abstinence, celibacy of the clergy and rigid demands of marriage became commonplace. Virginity and marriage were controlled because they were tied up with inheritances of land and money. The Reformers did allow the clergy to marry. All of this evolved over centuries and influences many churches today.

In our Anglican and Episcopal tradition, clergy and lay people make their own decisions on how to be a Christian and how to express our sexuality. I was born in 1931 and grew up thinking masturbation, pre-marital sex and homosexuality were sins. I knew homosexuals and people who had sex and were not married. It never occurred to me to treat them in any way than with friendliness, consideration and love. I was a virgin until my wedding night in 1952 and so was my wife. I had masturbated, petted to orgasm and was delighted with my fantasies about sex. I felt vaguely guilty about this pre-marital sexual activity. When I married I vowed full faithful monogamy to my wife and she did to me.

My wife and I adjusted well to our new sex life. We put off having children until after I graduated from seminary. From the earliest days of my marriage I noticed that I was sexually attracted to other women. I held my sexual attractions in check. We had three daughters whom we cherished. After seven years of marriage I began a series of adulterous affairs starting in New York and continuing in San Francisco where we moved in 1962.

What was I thinking? First, I just felt guilty and tormented, but went on having sex with other women. Discussions of a new morality were in the air in the 1960s were. Sexual love should be expressed should be expressed. Sex is a way of sharing love. Jealousy was out and old fashioned. Husband and wife sharing was said to be commonplace. The church should change its attitudes, which no longer applied. The church did not change much. Divorce for lay people and clergy became accepted. The rules about abortion were relaxed in the Episcopal Church. Homosexual sex became more accepted.

My wife and I divorced in 1969. For eleven years I was a bachelor in San Francisco and had many women lovers. I have never been attracted sexually to men. I enjoyed those days. I did not want to marry again. My ethical principle was to enjoy my sexuality, be loving and caring with the women and live in the moment. I had no trouble ethically with having lots of sex and not being married.

I took good care of my daughters, visiting with them corresponding, by letter and telephone and having them with me for a month in the summers. I paid all my financial responsibilities for child support.

In 1981 I was elected rector of Trinity Church, San Francisco. Fortunately, I met and soon married Ann. It seemed wise that I was married while pastor to a congregation. Ann and I pledged full faithful monogamy to each other. I am terribly jealous of even a hint of her having sex or even sexual feelings toward other men. Ann is also concerned about my relationship with other women. We have been faithful for the almost 32 years of our marriage. (Writing this in May of 2015)

I have no deep religious or theological feelings about my behavior. It is all rather practical. My life works best now being in a full faithful relationship with Ann. I am not trying to please God or Jesus or live by a doctrine.

I am glad that I come from the religious tradition of the Ten Commandments. They are part of what shaped who I am. Fortunately, I believe in forgiveness after I have blundered into sin and evil. I am happy with who I am formed by my religious and Christian traditions.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


 How could the Boston Judge allow only people who did believe in the death penalty sit on the Boston Marathon killer jury and excuse people who were opposed to the death penalty? I suppose Tsarnaev will spend the rest of his life appealing this stupid and cruel death penalty.