Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts   -     By: Ian Cron
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Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts

Thomas Nelson / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

At the age of sixteen, Ian Morgan Cron was told by his mother that his father, a motion picture executive, worked with the CIA in Europe. This astonishing revelation, coupled with his father's dark struggle with alcoholism, upends the world of a teenager struggling to become a man.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.44 (inches)
ISBN: 0849946107
ISBN-13: 9780849946103
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

  “When I first discovered the grainy picture in my mother’s desk—me as a towheaded two year old sitting in what I remember was a salmon-orange-stained lifeboat—I was overwhelmed by the feeling that the boy in the boat was not waving and laughing at the person snapping the photo as much as he was frantically trying to get the attention of the man I am today. The boy was beckoning me to join him on a voyage through the harrowing straits of memory. He was gambling that if we survived the passage, we might discover an ocean where the past would become the wind at our back rather than a driving gale to the nose of our boat. This book is the record of that voyage.” 

When he was sixteen years old, Ian Morgan Cron was told about his father’s clandestine work with the CIA.  This astonishing revelation, coupled with his father’s dark struggles with chronic alcoholism and depression, upended the world of a boy struggling to become a man.  Decades later, as he faces his own personal demons, Ian realizes the only way to find peace is to voyage back through a painful childhood marked by extremes—privilege and poverty, violence and tenderness, truth and deceit—that he’s spent years trying to escape.  

In this surprisingly funny and forgiving memoir, Ian reminds us that no matter how different the pieces may be, in the end we are all cut from the same cloth, stitched by faith into an exquisite quilt of grace. 

 “Simultaneously redemptive and consoling with bright moments of humor . . . this story is chock-full of sacredness and hope. Cron is one of only a few spirituality authors who could articulate these themes as poignantly.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Ian Cron writes with astonishing energy and freshness; his metaphors stick fast in the imagination. This is neither a simple memoir of hurt endured, nor a tidy story of reconciliation and resolution. It is—rather like Augustine’s Confessions—a testimony to the unfinished business of grace.”

DR. ROWAN WILLIAMS, Archbishop of Canterbury

“Ian Cron has the gift of making his human journey a parable for all of our journeys. Read this profound book and be well fed, and freed.”

FR. RICHARD ROHR, O.F.M., author of Everything Belongs

“Ian Morgan Cron is a brilliant writer. This is the kind of book that you don’t just read. It reads you.”

MARK BATTERSON, author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Author Bio

Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopal priest, speaker, and the author of Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale, which was hailed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Fr. Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, and Phyllis Tickle, among others. Ian is currently the curator of the Conversations on Courage and Faith Series at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, CT. He and his wife have three children and divide their time between homes in Connecticut and Tennessee.

Endorsements

"Ian is an absolutely magnificent writer, and this memoir is a stunning work. With Miles Davis and squirrels and weddings and Red Bull and fawns and cliff diving—it's like he has this bottomless bucket of images and metaphors and they're all so spot-on brilliant. The prose is light and loose and free, and then there are these moments when there's just so much soul right on the page. I literally had to put the book down several times because I began tearing up. What a gift!" - Rob Bell, bestselling author of Love Wins and Velvet Elvis

"Ian Cron is a brilliant writer. This is the kind of book that you don’t just read. It reads you." - Mark Batterson, bestselling author of In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

"Simply the best memoir I have read in years. It is engaging, clever, heartbreaking, and God-drenched in all the right ways." - Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why

"Just like Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" Ian Morgan Cron has written a daring and moving memoir in which abounding joy and grace defeat despair and the disintegration of the human spirit. These confessional pages illuminate for all of us the path toward forgiveness." - Makoto Fujimura, artist, author and founder of International Arts Movement

Author Info

Ian Morgan Cron served for ten years as the Founding and Senior Pastor of Trinity Church in Greenwich, Conn., a non-denominational community committed to social justice as well as to communicating the Christian story through the arts. Now he is an Episcopal priest, speaker, retreat leader, and songwriter. Cron is also a doctoral student at Fordham University where he is focusing his studies on Christian spirituality and the work of Thomas Merton. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, traveling, and kayaking. He divides his time between homes in Tennessee and Connecticut with his wife and three children, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Hobbes.

Publisher's Weekly

For good and ill, parents shape their children's lives in several ways. For decades, Episcopal priest Cron (Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale) bore the scars of having grown up with an emotionally distant alcoholic father. His story is heartbreaking and brutal, but simultaneously redemptive and consoling with bright moments of humor. An agent for the CIA, Cron's father was an enigma to his family and lacked the resources, financial and psychological, to take care of them. When he slides deeper into depression and alcoholism, Cron's heroic mother struggles to support the family, leaving Cron in the care of a warm and nurturing nanny. Their relationship is touching, but also serves to highlight the dysfunction in this family. Cron eventually succumbs to alcoholism, too, and spends years denying the problem until a trusted therapist challenges him to face it. The author finds the courage to release the repressed inner pain that he had been self-medicating through booze, and begins a slow healing process. While there are not many overtly religious passages, this story is chock-full of sacredness and hope. Cron is one of only a few contemporary spirituality authors who could articulate these themes as poignantly. (June 2) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

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  1. debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 21, 2013
    debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When Ian is finally told that his father worked for the CIA, it explains a lot. But not everything. Lost without the compass that is a father's love, Ian struggles to accept and understand a father that became everything he pretended to be while he worked for the CIA. Drowned out by the loud voice of his father's alcoholism and lack of interest in his son's life, Ian grows up to be a man of many questions and no easy answers.

    Years later when he faces his many personal demons, he comes to a realization that the truth of who he has become is found in his past. A father that drank and ignored him. A nanny that had nothing but the family's best interest in mind. The catholic church that introduced him to a God that held him up when standing was impossible. A mother who's long-suffering patience with all of them may have been the only thing that redeemed his childhood in the end. Will Ian's questions finally be answered? Or is he doomed to a life of broken fragments with no hope of redemption?

    Having read this author before, I was already familiar with the voice of Cron's writing. But reading this memoir was an entirely different journey altogether. It showed the heart of a young boy that desperately wants to find his way in this life, a young man that wants to make all the right choices, and then the adult that has to look to the past to put it all together. Sometimes looking at the past makes things harder. But Cron pushes past the pain to come out a better man for it. A recommended read for anyone that needs encouragement to resolve the past for a better future.

    This book was provided for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
  2. ACS Book Finder
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Disappointed in this book
    December 16, 2013
    ACS Book Finder
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 1
    Review: If you are wanting to know more about the CIA and thrilling adventure stories, you will be disappointed. This is a memoir which recounts Cron's childhood and adolescence with an abusive alcoholic father. He has a delightful prose and dialog which is very easy to read. I enjoy his style, but I don't think this book is suitable for younger children and teenagers for several reasons. First, there are some painful periods in his life which are recounted in detail. Once during his childhood, some older boys bully him in a demeaning, physical way. Cron talks about his emotional withdrawals, desire for love and acceptance, and his dependence on alcohol himself.

    Second, I do not agree with his doctrine. Cron grew up in a Catholic family; his mother was very religious, and Cron became an altar boy. The eucharist was his guiding light through all his turmoil. Through this fascination, he went to seminary, youth ministry, and sobriety (in that order). His "salvation" was during the mass when he hears a voice saying, "Forgive me, Ian. I'm sorry, Ian, please forgive me. Will you pardon me, Ian. Now we are both forgiven." "I stood and edged into the aisle to join the line of all the other knotted hearts limping toward the bread of new and unending life." This is not salvation of repentance.

    The theme of this book is forgiveness which is woven through the eucharist, and the book ends on a happy note. Cron becomes an Episcopal priest, marries, and rears his children in a loving and forgiving relationship. He desires them to grow beyond their fears and gain confidence to face the future bravely. Cron's dialog of his experiences is very touching and sincere, but I do not recommend the book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
  3. Jeanie
    Kearney, NE
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Don't bother
    September 5, 2013
    Jeanie
    Kearney, NE
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 1
    Cron grew up in a Catholic household, and the depiction of his memories could almost be called sacrilegious. He says this about a time his dad yells "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" in response to their car breaking down: "This calling on the members of the Holy Family for assistance in emergencies has a long and venerable history among Catholics in extremis. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that it supplies a single ounce of protection or divine aid to the petitioner, but we believed there was no harm in trying." Is this guy even a Christian? And this is just one example. He also works in two cheap shots on purgatory by page 52 (of 252), at which point I knew this one was no candidate for the parish library shelf. This led to, "Why am I still reading it if it's not good enough for the shelf?" So I quit, and in fact I'm trashing it.

    Now, if Cron is to be believed, it's not like his dad, supposedly an alcoholic, made Cron's childhood very easy. Conveniently, this father is now deceased and cannot speak in his own defense. But it seems like Cron still doesn't know not to hold that against the Church. Before putting the book down for good I did wonder what faith Cron practices now. I only needed to skip to "About the Author." Yes he is a Christian; he's an Episcopalian priest. (Don't Episcopalians believe in purgatory? And the Eucharist, which was another target of Cron's?)

    So do yourself a favor and don't bother with this one.

    I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program.
  4. YMinister1204
    Athens, AL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting to say the least....
    September 3, 2013
    YMinister1204
    Athens, AL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is a truly fascinating book. It is different from many of the other books I have read from BookSneeze because it is in the memoir vein rather than an exposition of text or a Christian life aid. I enjoyed the stories in the book and the thoughts the author (Cron) added to these stories that he experienced. Ultimately, the book is a tale of how one can truly experience, basically, every high and low that is out there during the human experience, and still come out on the other side closer to God and in a better relationship with Jesus and the people that matter the most to them. I enjoyed reading this book because it was a vastly different viewpoint than my own and I hope it will help me to grow in a different way.
  5. sarahandbooks
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Touching and raw
    September 1, 2013
    sarahandbooks
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This morning, I finished Ian Morgan Cron's memoir, Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me. The melancholy, yet hopeful, text follows Cron's early life in England, a childhood in the United States, and eventually to college and beyond.

    What I loved about Cron's book is his honesty: his frustration with his father, his confusion in his faith in Jesus, and his struggle with teenage and early adult alcoholism. He speaks of his father's struggle with alcoholism and the tumultuous family relationship that resulted from disorder. Cron discusses how he tiptoed to avoid his father's wrath, but often found himself at the receiving end of his angry father's outbursts. Surviving his childhood, Cron goes away to college, only to plunge into alcoholism and depression. However, though this memoir focuses on Cron's struggles as a young boy and man, the story does not end with his giving up on faith and family. Rather, Cron embraces the belief that Christ brings all things for one's good, even if one has to fall through a raging storm.

    Rating: 4/5 stars. Would recommend, but only to check out at the library.

    Disclaimer:

    The good people at Booksneeze.com offered me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine
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