Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, December 23, 2013


The Birth of a Revolutionary

That Jesus was a rebel is the most important thing to remember about his birth celebrated on December 25. He taught that the highest good is healing the sick, feeding for the hungry, caring for the widows and orphans and seeking justice for all. He stood for love and forgiveness. He was not a political or military leader. He was not concerned about being popular or famous. In fact he shrank from large crowds and sought anonymity. He thought the end of the world was coming in his lifetime.

Good Pope Francis is a Christian leader who embodies Jesus’ message. But every Christian is called to assume those basic values. Sadly, Christians have been more concerned for sexual purity, birth control, abortions, isolating homosexuals and illegal immigrants. As a good Jew, Jesus believed in radical hospitality to strangers and foreigners. Many Christian today are more concerned about Santa and sleigh bells than justice for all.

I have been a priest of the Episcopal Church for fifty-seven years. Much of my time was spent in raising money for buildings, grounds, upkeep, stained glass windows, organs and salaries, including my own. Our church has been a leader in justice for African-Americans, homosexuals, in  ministries to those with HIV disease and, sadly, ministering to the dying, their lovers and families. However, our church has been beset by squabbles over women in the priesthood, same gender marriage, war and peace.

I now find that all my interest in Biblical literature, dogmas like salvation, incarnation, virgin birth, the trinity, resurrection, and and ascension of Jesus, falls far back in my mind, replaced by Jesus’ message: healing, feeding the hungry, seeking justice is what we should do.

I was delighted to read that the clergy of the Byzantine Orthodox Church are active in the protests against the government in the Ukraine. One seldom sees clergy of any church protesting the opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act. Since Jesus was a healer, can’t Christian clergy and lay people understand the legislation as healing for more and more human beings? I participate in a weekly Vigil for peace and Justice in front of the Federal Building at Golden gate Avenues and Larkin Streets in San Francisco. Quackers stared that vigil twelve years ago. Passion for justice and peace comes directly from the message of Jesus.

The atrocities committed by Christians in pogroms, the inquisition and racial and ethnic discrimination come from the church corrupted by government. When the church was recognized by the Roman government and authorities thereafter, the basic message of Jesus was lost. The church sadly reflected the values of government rather than the simple message of Jesus.

However, Christian church groups feed the hungry, found hospitals, teach from nursery through graduate school, and care for the poor in many countries around the world. Christian churches meet regularly for worship, community and out to others. We Christians give thanksgiving gifts in memory of the birth of Jesus the revolutionary.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


To discover how to be truthful now
Is the reason to follow the star.

To discover how to be living now
Is the reason to follow the star.

To discover how to be loving now
Is the reason to follow the star.

                        Snippets from W. H. Auden

Dear Family and Friends,

Each Advent I read Auden’s For The Time Being, A Christmas Oratorio. Each year I find deeper and more powerful insights into the meaning of Advent and Christmas. The lines quoted above shone out to me recently. Read them again. I remain a Christian believer because I yearn to be truly truthful, truly living and truly loving. As a follower of Jesus I do my best to help the hungry, care for the widows and orphans, seek justice and peace and heal the sick. Focusing on those basic issues is my way of telling the truth, authentically living and deeply loving. Of course, others find different ways of being human. The political and social expressions of “following the star” are supporting the Affordable Health Care Act providing health care for more and more Americans. I participate in the anti-war movement, support immigrant rights and work with and for LGBT citizens to assure full civil rights for all people.

In addition to trying to be human beings, we do some traveling.  We took a pleasant cruise to Puerto Vallarta where we have been many times. Ann went birding; I went to Wal-Mart’s for aspirin. I wasn’t feeling well. In April we went to Pt. Reyes, CA for Ann’s birthday. We went to the family cabin in Utah for two weeks in August. We had Thanksgiving with my daughters and grandchildren in New England as well as four days in Manhattan. We have great travel plans for 2014 but you will have to wait until next Advent to read about them.

I love the computer, Internet and techie stuff. Ann hates them, mostly. I have a computer, an iPhone, Internet, Facebook, printer and fax machine. I do not know how they work or even how to use them very well. For instance, I have a Twitter account called church maniac but have never used it. I think it is all great.  Ann disagrees.

Ann continues her exciting and interesting life. Book groups, four classes a semester at the Fromm Institute, writing classes, Internet correspondence, and she and looks after me with her sweetness and love.

We love hearing from you and hope you have all the joys of a blessed Christmas and most joyful New Year.


Robert and Ann

Ann and Robert Cromey, 3839 20th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Ann-,