Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Friday, December 22, 2017


 Advent and Christmas Report 2017

Greetings: Two billion Christians throughout the world celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th each year. Yes, that is what all the fuss is about. The baby Jesus is nice, but the man Jesus is the one we follow. He healed the sick, was homeless himself, criticized the powerful in religion and society, fed the hungry, called for forgiveness and compassion, welcomed the unkempt of society and called for love and peace. In my not so humble opinion that is what we followers should be spending our lives on. rwc

San Francisco: We continue to be a very liberal city facing the reality of a large number of homeless people living on the streets. We allow medical marijuana to be bought. We are a Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants who have family and roots in our city. The opera, symphony, theater, cinema, libraries and churches all make us a vibrant cultural center. rwc

Family: My three daughters are flourishing, employed and happy. The five grandchildren are enjoying work, college and travel. My daughters travelled to California for a couple of days to see us at The Bishop’s Ranch. They visited us on our trip to New York City in October. rwc
Escapes: We travelled to Palm Springs in March so Ann could hike and to The Bishop’s Ranch in April with daughters. In July we flew to Amsterdam for two weeks on a Viking River Cruise to Budapest. The boat and rivers were relaxing and the daily sightseeing adventure very worthwhile. Budapest was a particular delight, so beautiful. rwc
                  In August, we spent two weeks at our cabin in the Wasatch Mountains.  Ann hiked every day while Robert drove to Salt Lake City to buy groceries and then he cooked dinners for Ann and her three brothers and their wives and children.
                  Near the end of August, Ann drove to Idaho with her niece and two children to see the total eclipse of the sun.  About fifteen other family members joined them there for a memorable occasion. ac
Writing: I have written Joy Years, a memoir of my 15 years of retirement. I am having it published by iUniverse. It may be out by the end of the year. The SF Chronicle has published a couple of my letters this year, mostly on church-state issues. Separation of Church and state does mean the separation of religion and society. rwc

Politics: Republican presidents in the past years make me yearn for Nixon again. 90% of our Congressional representatives call themselves Christian. As followers of Jesus, how can they consistently oppose legislation to provide health insurance for all, block programs to feed the hungry, fail to provide housing for the homeless, fail to provide hospitality to immigrants, and fail to protect the innocent from gun murder? rwc

St. John’s: For five years our Vicar Fr. Richard Smith at St. John’s has led us in fighting police killing of Black and Latino young men in the Mission District of San Francisco. He and the Bishop’s committee have made our church a place for homeless people to sleep five days a week in the nave from 6 AM until noon. We are a Sanctuary Church for fleeing immigrants. We also worship in the beauty of holiness. We begin a search for a new priest-leader in January as Richard retires. We joined a very enjoyable parish retreat at the Bishop’s ranch in November. 

Movies: I watch Netflix mysteries and still get big laughs from the Friends shows. I am shocked how few films interest me at the cinema. rwc 
Two movies I enjoyed are Letters from Baghdad, about Gertrude Bell, and Victoria and Abdul.  ac

Books: I liked Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach. I just started 948 pages of Grant. I regard it as my Advent reading, getting ready for Christmas. Rwc
                  I read many novels this year.  My favorites are Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, about immigrants from Cameroon, and Miss Burma, by Charmaine Craig.  I read a long history of the Hapsburg Empire on our European river trip. ac

Music, Dance, Theater: I enjoyed the operas I saw this year, especially Rigoletto, La Boheme, and La Traviata. Symphony concerts were good, too.  Robert and I went to see a performance by the ODC dance company.  I saw A Night With Janice Joplin and Hamilton in June.  A young friend and her mother accompanied me to a fine performance of Hamlet in the Park.  Robert and I watched all of the Ken Burns Vietnam television series.  ac

Museums:  San Francisco’s museums had some excellent exhibitions. I liked “Matisse and Diebenkorn” at the MOMA, and the DeYoung’s “Summer of Love” brought back memories. Robert and I both saw the Klimt show in Vienna and in San Francisco at the Legion of Honor. ac

Education:  I enjoy the classes I take at the Fromm Institute for life-long Learning, and I’m studying Spanish.  I volunteer with students at Mission High School. ac

Eats: I still do the shopping and cooking. Going to the stores, I get an airing at least once a day. Lots of fish, chicken and vegetables with meat every ten days, mostly lamb. rwc

Exercise: I continue to attend a weekly session with Evan, my personal trainer. While I hate every minute of exercising, it appears to make me feel good. rwc
                  I take walks with friends or alone about five days a week, and I do strength-training exercises at home. ac

Creaks and Moans: At almost 87 I rejoice to be alive. Poor balance and sore knees make it hard for me to walk very far. I used to have excellent eyesight and hearing, now I don’t. My taste buds are lively and love spicy food. rwc
                  I’m having a very good time at 75.  Travel, reading, seeing my family and friends, taking classes at the Fromm Institute, hiking and walking, cultural pursuits, and volunteering make a fulfilling life.  The best part is being married to Robert, who takes such good care of me!   ac

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

                  Robert           Ann

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Two billion Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. It is not an historically accurate date. It was chosen by the church to coincide with the winter solstice. It is as good a time as any to remember the birth of Jesus. He was a Jew who died before the Christian church was founded. It was not until 325 C.E that Jesus was defined as “Truly God and Truly Man.”
The child celebrated at Christmas time became a young man who vigorously protested the civil and religious leaders of his day as hypocrites. He healed the sick and always hung out with the poor and disreputable people of his time. His attacks on the hierarchy led to his death on the cross. His followers believed he rose from the dead.
The early followers of Jesus separated themselves from mainstream Judaism and became Christians by becoming baptized. They spread the news of Jesus around the Mediterranean world.
Over the years the Christians became the church and its leaders grew in power until Roman Emperor Constantine recognized it. Christianity became the state church of the Roman Empire.
Here is where the church went haywire. The concern for the sick and the poor was shuttered to one side in seeking and retaining power. The bureaucracy became more important than the caring. 
Much of the church today is boring. Music is static, liturgy turgid, and preaching is thin. Church people are willing to give soup to the hungry but do little to change the Capitalist system which keeps millions of Americans and billions around the world poor and homeless and lacking in medical care. Oh, of course, the rich get richer with the connivance of the governments.
At Christmas we billions remember the humble birth of Jesus. Perhaps we do what we must do to remember and care for the poor.