From the first page, I had a question about Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron. How did a guy I’d never heard of get his memoir published? After all, memoirs that get published tend to be connected to the rich and/or famous. Ian Morgan Cron meets neither of those criteria.
Let me amend that statement on two accounts. His family did well enough to live in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan. So Ian grew up surrounded by wealth—though the wealth, thanks to an alcoholic dad, sprung leaks throughout his growing-up years.
The second amendment (sounds like I’m referring to the Constitution) deals with the simple fact that I had never heard of the man. Of course, unless he appeared in a featured report on ESPN Sportscenter or in a current television show, chances are I wouldn’t know who he was. Perhaps lots of other people who do more than watch sports and the USA Network know exactly who he is.
Once again I began to read a book with little or no idea what it was about. I had zero preconceived thoughts outside of what the title itself engendered.
As I read, the story’s theme emerged from the pages. Ian had a troubled past, life with a mean drunk of a father, that merged with an equally troubling reality. He walked the same family-destroying path of his alcoholic father.
If you’ve ever had to deal with an alcoholic parent, you understand the angst that permeates life as a child and on into adulthood. Confusion, anger, resentment, a sense of loss…. These powerful, raw emotions sneak out of their hiding places and kidnap your rational side at the most unexpected and inopportune moments.
Ian weaves the three disparate elements in the book title—Jesus, his father, and the CIA—into a story of doubt, dysfunction, introspection, revelation, healing, growth, faith, and forgiveness. He doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of his childhood or the depth of despair he experienced later as an adult.
But he also offers hope, the hope he found as he sobered up and as he recovered his childhood faith. He carries the reader through the experiences of a preteen boy who “fell into God,” the high school junior who partied away his life, the college student who bounced between faith and failure, and the husband-father who seemed to have it all together then returned to alcohol with a vengeance.
I give the author five stars for authenticity and transparency as he relates his life story. Overall I’d recommend the book for its well-written and uplifting message. It’s not saccharine reading but it does offer a sweet hope in its final chapters.
I’ll be using parts of the book in upcoming posts to reflect on some challenging thoughts concerning the ONE and our JOURNEY.
Question: What have you read that has helped you sort out tough faith questions?