Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Trump uses all legal loopholes to pay the lowest taxes possible. He complains our military might is too weak. Taxes pay for military dominance.

Americans complain about crime rates and do not want tax increases to pay for more police.

Citizens moan about miserable prison conditions but defeat measures to increase taxes to fix the problems.

Many parents complain about poor public education but don’t want to hike taxes for higher teacher salaries.

Donald Trump’s desire to cut taxes for the rich slashes money to finance repairing highways, bridges and allows the American infrastructure to deteriorate further.

Tax rates in the United States are the lowest in most of the countries in the world. I consider paying my taxes an honor and privilege for being an American.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Luke 16:1-13

Then Jesus* said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth* so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.*
10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,* who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’*

I hope you have listened carefully to the parable that Jesus has just told us. St. Luke relates the story in his gospel. I have wrestled with the meaning of this story all of my preaching life and also this week in trying to figure a sermon out of it.  Maybe Luke was having a bad day.

I choose to interpret this parable by Jesus like this. “The point of the parable is that shrewd and the faithful are welcome in the kingdom of God?

Some believe in heaven and hell. If you are good you go to heaven. If you are bad you go to hell.  You can believe in them if you wish. We don’t give you a quiz on what you believe in this church.

Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God. Peaceable Kingdom where the lion lies down with the lamb, the child plays with the deadly snakes, where peace, love and forgiveness are the basic values.

The parable says that after death all people are welcome into that heavenly home, the shrewd and the faithful, the rich and the poor, the sick and the dying, the truly evil and those of high virtue.

The church can think that way too.

Do we welcome the sex offender? Do we welcome in our neighborhood low cost housing? Do we welcome the woman or man newly released from prison? Do we welcome a shelter for LGBT homeless youth? Do we
welcome an undocumented person fleeing deportation?

We do welcome the homeless through our Gubbio Project letting homeless people have a nap on our church floor and breakfast from 6 AM until 10 AM, 5 days a week..
We welcome those who want or need food to the Julian Pantry.

We certainly welcome people who lie. Raise your hand if you have never told a lie….and I’ll show you a liar.

We welcome Non Believers – Believers. Pray-ers – non prayers

I heard a fascinating story about a World War II prisoner of war held by the Japanese. Japanese soldiers were noted for their cruelty. The Japanese guard, unbeknownst to his fellow soldiers, was a Christian and an Anglican, known in Japan as Sei Ko Kai. While marching the prisoners one day to a welcome but measly meal, the Japanese guard quietly started humming the tune of this hymn. Publish Glad Tidings, Tidings of peace.”

It is (or was) one of the best known and best loved hymns of Anglicanism. The prisoners then knew that they had a friend among their captors.

The kingdom of God is not heaven or hell. The K of G is a banquet, a feast, a mighty meal. The K of G is a great welcome home to the good and bad in a splendid banquet.

Jack was a huge muscled man just released from prison.
He said food is better at Trinity than at Glide. Jack became a helper in the feeding program, came every night to set up and clean up and became part of the givers and supporters of the program

Feeding the hungry is a band-aid and but necessary.

How to stop hunger? We have to stop Water pollution, overworking the land, destroying trees and forests, polluting the air and earth by industry and governments. That is what makes the poor and hungry.

We help all have a banquet by the people we vote for and opposing the policies that cause havoc to the environment.

As we await the heavenly banquet, we work that that the poor and hungry are not further burdened by ecological disaster.

As we come to the table for the bread and the wine we have a foretaste of that Heavenly banquet.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016


A Sip of Scotch

I love a scotch whiskey on the rocks once in a while. Sometimes I have one for cocktail time at five or six in the evening. It is also a perfect nightcap. I like the smooth Glen Livet. I have enjoyed it since 1956. That year I learned to drink and enjoy scotch. Now I lean back in my blue leather chair, close my eyes and smell the sweet malty flavor of the drink.

All these years later a sip of scotch whiskey sprouts vivid memories of Lloyd Patterson and George Barrett in Bronxville, New York. I can see their faces, hear their voices and even smell Lloyd’s cigarette smoke. I hear Lloyd reciting the title of his doctoral thesis, The Anti-Origenism of  St. Ignatius and its affect on Gregory of Nyssa. I hear my boss George West Barrett, rector of Christ Church, Bronxville and his guttural chuckle after someone’s joke or sly remark. We three were the clergy staff at the church. We had met at The General Theological Seminary in Chelsea Square, New York City. George was a professor and Lloyd and I were students.

The sip draws memories of my first wife Lillian and our newborn baby, Leigh. She captivated us. The lovely Episcopalians welcomed our family to the church and the village. We had a light airy apartment overlooking green trees. Lloyd was a bachelor so we often had him over for dinner. He always clutched a copy of his dissertation, having left a copy of it his apartment. He feared losing his work in a fire. It was Lloyd who made me interested in Glen Livet. It was very expensive and not our regular brand. He sang its praises. We very occasionally bought a bottle. Now it is my house scotch.

George Burpee was another aficionado of Glen Livet. He and his wife Tippy were in their 70s. The first Sunday after we moved in the Burpees climbed three flights of stairs to visit us the new cleric and his wife. It was an old-fashioned house visit. They invited us to dinner and then climbed back down the stairs to go home. Before dinner that night very pregnant Lillian managed to spill a gin and tonic onto the splendid red and blue multi-colored Persian rug. The Burpees laughed it off and dried it up. George then extolled us of the virtues of a good scotch whiskey.
Mr. Burpee was Senior Warden of Christ Church. A civil engineer, he flew regularly to San Francisco as a consultant to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, known now as BART.

Lloyd, George, Lillian and the Burpees are dead. Leigh and I survive in this year of 2006, sixty years later.

A line from the Psalms sticks in my mind. “Oh taste and see….”