Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sex Positive

I regard myself as a sex-positive priest as opposed to the usual sex negative or sex cautious clergy in most denominations even The Episcopal Church. All sexual activity between consenting adults should not be a matter of the law. All sex practices, freely entered into, without force or coercion, between consenting adults is good and to be enjoyed. I also think that sex acts between consenting adolescents should be allowed. Ah, the Problem? What is the minimum age? I do not know. Some kids are mature earlier than others.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beach Music - a review

Beach Music

By Pat Conroy

Nan A. Talese, Doubleday 1995

I read this book first sometime in the fourteen ears since it was first published. I recognized many scenes and episodes but others shone anew from the pages as I read them just recently. There is a long section and vivid description of Rome, the food, neighbors and neighborhood where Jack and his daughter Leah live. Jack’s wife Shyla committed suicide and Jack took Leah to Rome from the South Carolina town where thy lived to recuperate in Rome.

The book is a search for the reasons for the suicide, a catch-up on the seven years in Rome with Jack’s family and friends.

High School and college days, the 60’s, anti-Vietnam battles, betrayal. Reunion and some reconciliation are depicted with vigor and freshness. Two grueling sections of the Holocaust help in trying to understand Jewish Shyla’s life and suicide.

It is a very complex and interesting book and worth the time to reread and catch up with times and issues that are decades behind us that shaped our lives and our country.

Friday, November 20, 2009

TESTIMONY on Happiness and Giving

Hi Robert,
Thanks for you thoughts. Yes, all you said is so true. I have been transformed over the years from a selfish, miserly, money hoarding being to a much more generous spirited person, thanks to much of your teaching and what I learned from my years at Trinity. So, thank you. I am a better, happier person for it.

A Friend

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happiness and Giving


Ann took a class on happiness at the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning this fall. Here are some notes on the findings she shared with me.

Giving makes you happy and healthy. People who give of their time, money and talents are happier than those who give little or nothing.

People who get a bonus at work have been studied. Those who gave the bonuses away were happier than those who spent the bonus money on themselves.

People who hoard money and are cheap do not know they will be happier if they have generous hearts and give some of their money away. People think they will be happier if they spend money on themselves. They do not believe the evidence that indicates people who give money away are happier.

One experiment was that one group of people were sent a letter asking them to give blood. 93% of the recipients of the letter gave blood. Another group of people were asked to give blood for a $20.00 reward. Only 70% of that group responded to the request.

One year, Individuals in America gave $260 Billion to charities.

There are 65 million volunteers in the U.S.

Why are people altruistic? The research indicates that individuals think if they give, the group will be happy.

People only give when they are asked.

Having money beyond the basics of food and shelter does not make people happier.

Generosity is beginning of spiritual awakening. Buddha based his religious teaching on Generosity.

I will add:

Jews have a basic religious teaching to welcome the stranger.

Jesus’ teaching is to care for the poor, widows, orphan and the sick.

Letting go, giving up and generosity make you happy.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Indignation - a review

Indignation by Phillip Roth

Houghton-Mifflin Company

Boston-New York 2008 $26.00

This novel touches on many topics including family life, Jews, College, War and growing up amidst all of that. Thus it is about change. Young people and parents who are looking at college should read this about “the impact of American history on the vulnerable individual.”

The story is of an angry man going to college and his inexperience, foolishness, intellectual and sexual conflicts and discovery, the impact of rules and family, fear of war, courage and risk taking.

I enjoyed the book and read it twice to get the full impact of its meaning. It is set in the same period I was in college and seminary, the era of the Korean War in the fifties. Roth is one of my favorite authors and is always a surprise, intellectually stimulating and emotionally jolting.

Monday, November 09, 2009

South of Broad

South of Broad

By Pat Conroy

Nan A. Talese-Doubleday, 2009

$29 .95

This novel has poetic descriptions of the city and nature. It is a moving story of racial tension that moves to love and harmony. Religion is taken seriously, with questioning, peace and showing perversity. There is a murder and natural mayhem. Moving rituals of honor and goodness are juxtaposed with vulgarity and delightful humor.

The city of Charleston, South Carolina, is seen in its glory with its broken and redemptive humanity. Pat Conroy describes the beauty of the city, the land and the water in poetic language and color.

The populace of the well to do who live south of Broad in Charleston is there; the rednecks, the African Americans, schools, college, churches and journalism are presented. The book explores all the important elements of a small city mixed into a tale of pain, hypocrisy, madness, race, wealth, snobbery, fear, revenge and hope and freedom.

Leo’s bother commits suicide. Their mother is principal of the high school. Leo is a nerd who falls in with some high school seniors of mixed race. They play football, begin dating eventually marrying and go to San Francisco to find one of their number who has AIDS. These good friends return to Charleston to a mad mother and murderous father and an important Roman Catholic prelate, a hurricane and final resolution.

The negatives are too much football, not enough intimacy and sex, and a too bizarre murder. But it is still a wonderful tale, gripping, wildly humorous and full of love and affection among friends of mixed race and sexual orientation.

Ann and I visited Charleston for five days in May of 2009 and really loved it. Our friend Bob Switz and his wife, Cheryl, live there and he took us on a horse drawn carriage trip trough the city streets.

Ann taught one of Pat Conroy’s daughters at Convent.

I was glad we went to Charleston and was delighted to read South of Broad.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bishop's Weak Support for Health Care Reform

Health care for all is a civil rights issue. Those who can afford it, have it. Those who cannot pay do not have adequate medical care. This is a gross inequality in how American citizens are treated in our country. African Americans and LGBT people were also denied full rights to the American way.

The Episcopal Bishop of California, The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, has failed to publicly support the medical reform bill moving through the congress. His wishy-washy statement quoted below shows no support for the legislation, gives the clergy and laity of the Diocese no help in thinking about, preaching or studying the proposals. He gives a scandalously vague, pious and wooly statement that shows lack of leadership and inspiration.

In many places, the Roman Catholic bishops have told clergy to read a statement from the pulpit urging people to tell their congressional leaders to vote against medical care reform. This is leadership, though woefully wrong headed indeed.

I wrote as an experienced priest and preacher:

To my brothers and sisters in ministry:

I want to make a suggestion on how you might deal with the health care proposal from the pulpit or in a newsletter.

Our country needs to provide health care, insurance for the millions of children and adults who have no insurance. I want you to know that I personally support the current proposals. I urge you to think and pray about the issues and write your representatives and senators letting them know how you feel.

It tells people where you stand and what you support. You leave it up to them to decide what to do.

This is the Episcopal and Anglican way.

I call on the Bishop and clergy to be followers of Jesus the healer and the voters of the country to declare their humanity and justice by urging congress to pass health care reform.

Here is Andrus’ non-statement:

The church and healthcare

by the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14 

The above verse came to mind as I’ve been thinking about the healthcare debate in this country. When the specter of socialism was invoked regarding the public option, its doom seemed certain. Then, almost overnight, the public option was re-branded as Medicare:e (Medicare for everyone), and suddenly new life was breathed into the idea. 

The Ephesians verse referred to dissent and confusion in the nascent Christian movement, proving that a base in faith is no vaccine against facile currents of shifting opinion. I would like to point out, however, that while it is common to deride the massive legislative work of The Episcopal Churchs General Convention (I have heard the 300+ resolutions referred to as so what resolutions in the main), our deliberative process, bringing to bear passionate, expert people from many perspectives on any one issue under debate, and submitting each resolution that makes it that far in the process to the vote of the whole representative democratic body, gives us ground to stand on in areas like healthcare.