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Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts [Kindle Edition]

Ian Morgan Cron
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (360 customer reviews)

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Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing

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Book Description

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

Whenhe was sixteen years old, Ian Morgan Cron was told about his father’sclandestine work with the CIA.  Thisastonishing revelation, coupled with his father’s dark struggles with chronicalcoholism and depression, upended the world of a boy struggling to become aman.  Decades later, as he faces his ownpersonal demons, Ian realizes the only way to find peace is to voyage backthrough a painful childhood marked by extremes—privilege and poverty, violenceand tenderness, truth and deceit—that he’s spent years trying to escape.  

Inthis surprisingly funny and forgiving memoir, Ian reminds us that no matter howdifferent 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



Editorial Reviews

Review

"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
--Publishers Weekly

"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, author of Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer


"Ian Morgan Cron writes with astonishing energy and freshness. It is - rather like Augustine's Confessions - a testimony to the unfinished business of grace."

The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams - The Archbishop of Canterbury

From the Author

"Ian Morgan 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."

- The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams - The Archbishop of Canterbury

Product Details

  • File Size: 446 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052FT38I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,501 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cron's Memoir Knocks You Socks Off June 7, 2011
Format:Paperback
If you've read any of Cron's other books, this memoir will knock your socks off. If you haven't, then reading this will make you want to read more.
Having a dad who worked for the CIA without your knowing it is one thing, but having an alcoholic dad is another thing entirely. Cron issues a disclaimer at the beginning that hedges the expectation of the reader to hear the `truth' about his childhood. I don't think he needs this. There's enough detail here to make it totally believable, and poignantly so.
The life he led as a child is the stuff of black and white films. He recounts a childhood in Greenwich Village of both privilege and horror, and a gradual coming to faith despite a rigid immersion in parochial school, and a gripping drug addiction in adolescence, that continued to plague him in adulthood.
My mainstream evangelical self squirmed at his assertion that he actually heard the voice of Christ pleading for `forgiveness', but then, given Cron's unconventional way of expressing his faith, it fits.
I read this latest work of Cron's just the way I ingested the last one, "Chasing Francis". With zest. Cron is a gifted writer who knows how to salt the page with just enough hyperbole and a gentle touch of poetry.
I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for my honest opinion of the book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars [REVIEW] Jesus. My Father the CIA, and Me by Ian Cron September 16, 2011
Format:Paperback
Recently while perusing the Netflix movie site, one of those listings of "Suggested Films for Brad" popped up. The heading read: "Dysfunctional family dramas with a strong male lead." Ah, Netflix, you know me so well. Evidently, so does Ian Morgan Cron.

We know each other when we meet.

Cron writes that "boys who grow up fatherless, or boys with fathers who for some reason keep their love undisclosed, grow up without a center of gravity. They float like astronauts in space, hoping to find ballast and a patch of earth where they can plant their feet and make a life . . . . We know each other when we meet." And like war veterans, we have fought our own unique battles but we share a deep knowing of what war feels like. That's what made Cron's new book such a great read for me and will for others with related stories in need of redemption.

Something Better Than a Hero Story

I have to confess Cron had me at the title. But if the title leads you to anticipate tales of CIA intrigue you'll be mostly disappointed. Instead, you will get something better.

Cron offers us a candid "memoir ... of sorts" that attempts to come to terms with what his life "was or wasn't" while growing up with a brilliant but enigmatic, alcoholic father. Like other post-modern writers willing to confess only an approximation of memory, the author asks simply that we accept the gift of his coming of age story as he best remembers it. Why that matters is because it sets a tone of authenticity that connects deeply with each of us who share the same struggle to get our stories right, especially the painful, confusing and unfinished parts.

The gift of Cron's storytelling keeps his writing from becoming overly dark or evocative of mere pity.
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134 of 174 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of True June 10, 2011
Format:Paperback
I love to read. Really love it. So much so that I will mute the sound on my TV and read the closed-captioned dialog just for fun. When I was offered the chance to be sent free books on Christian Living and the Bible, in exchange for a written review, I jumped at it.
The first book I was sent was by Ian Morgan Cron, published this year by Thomas Nelson. The title, Jesus, My Father and the CIA, was a real eye-catcher, but it turned out the sub-title shed the most light on the story: "a memoir...of sorts." By page four, the author lets us in on the meaning of his actual genre: "This work,' he writes, "dances on the hyphen between memoir and autobiographical fiction." The problem I have with this pseudomemoir, is that I don't know when to enter in and identify with it as a blood-bought narrative or stand back and admire it as clever storycraft. I read the book struggling to know if I should really grieve over him huddled in bed against his spy/drunken father's brutal punches, really weep over his longsuffering Irish-Catholic mother, or care too deeply about his own abusive drinking and self-indulgent appetites when he can flippantly describe himself like a, "like a Hoover set on deep shag." Then there is the whole Jesus thing, or is there?
We are given all the requisite details of the life of an Irish Catholic boy in mid-twentieth century Connecticut - fearsome nuns, benign priests, fragrant masses and holy sacraments. He loves the pageantry of sounds and the sights and the feel of the Bishop's "fat thumb" rubbing his temple after he makes his first communion. He remains "fascinated by the Eucharist," and credits this life-long affection for leading him to seminary, youth ministry, sobriety (in that order) and into his present vocation of the Episcopal priesthood.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a delightful book May 11, 2011
Format:Paperback
I have just finished reading this delightful and moving new book. I know Ian is a good writer (it was my privilege to be one of his first reviewers when Chasing Francis was published), and he is also a friend. So I would have read it come what may. But one chapter in, I was hooked: a proper read of this was no labour of love, I was simply captivated by Ian's lyrical language, his ability to weave anecdotes into legends, and to paint characters so that they climb right out of the pages in full technicolor.

The book begins and ends at an altar, and in between he tells the stories of his unfolding life. It's a mark of a good memoir, I think, that although the story is particular to the author, there is a complete sense of identity with the reader in the way the stories evince the recognisable emotions of growing up and finding one's place in the world - the longing of the isolated, clever kid to be accepted by his school friends, the agonised shame when a stranger discovers your family's darker secrets, the deep grief of loss, and moments of delirious joy in between. A story about setting off explosives in the woods becomes a tale of belonging; an adventure in which his mother takes him on a legendary roller-coaster and teaches him to face down the darkness leaps off the page like a parable of survival. It's a story of how the dark secrets of childhood need to be unleashed, and of the deep gratitude that flows from finding at last that from the jumble of pieces life throws at you, a cohesive pattern can emerge.

This book is a joy to read: not only did it make me laugh and cry, it also had that magical capacity, in the spaces between the lines, to cast shards of light back onto my own life. Thank you, Ian Morgan Cron, for a wonderful book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny and meaningful memoir about a son and his dad
Ian Cron's memoir is a sarcastic and memorable look back on his life so far. It especially focuses on his life with a father who part of the CIA and, regrettably, a drinker. Read more
Published 14 days ago by J. Lussier
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Another success story from a disfunctional home.
Published 3 months ago by Jane Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars A Middle-of-the-Road Memoir
I think this book suffers from the same memoir syndrome that Mennonite in a Little Black Dress suffered from. The stories are unwieldy at times and don’t always flow together well. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stormy(Book.Blog.Bake.)
3.0 out of 5 stars Memoir of a son about his father
This book was strange. Never explained was how a person raised in the Roman Catholic church becomes an Episcopal priest. This was our book club book April.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars My Mother, My Dad!
Really underscores the importance of parental involvement in one's children early life, sharing, understanding and communicating with young people as they develop. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Janet Rigby
5.0 out of 5 stars SO GOOD
I heard Ian Morgan Cron speak a few years ago, right around the time this book released. I was at a creative conference and everyone was RAVING about him after we heard him... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Melissa Watkins
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy-to-read autobiography
Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopalian adjunct priest and former youth worker with Young Life. This after growing up as the Roman Catholic son of an essentially absent and abusive... Read more
Published 6 months ago by JustinHoca
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly casual and monumental all at once
after reading Cron's "CHASING FRANCIS" and being reminded what books could and we're supposed to do in their readers, I couldn't help but move quickly to this memoir. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Donald G Jordan
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read!
Started this book because of the CIA subject. Very interesting read! Finished it & loved it because of the religious and relationship aspects.
Published 6 months ago by AngelaG
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading... Glad I bought this one.
Not what I expected. More of the author's journey of self-discovery. That said, I traveled right with him and came out the other side a better, more understanding person. Read more
Published 6 months ago by deskjockey
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More About the Author

Ian Morgan Cron is an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, and retreat guide.

To introduce others to St. Francis of Assisi, he authored Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale. His literary debut received accolades from The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Brian McLaren, Fr Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, Tony Campolo, Brennan Manning, and artist Makoto Fujimura.


Ian's latest book "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir...Of Sorts" became a Wall Street Journal Bestseller. Publishers Weekly praised it as, "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."

In addition to writing and speaking, Ian is an adjunct priest at Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut and a doctoral student at Fordham University (The Jesuit University in New York) where he is studying Christian spirituality.

Ian adores the Rolling Stone's record Exile on Main Street, and the melody to Lulu's 1967 hit song "To Sir, With Love" has been stuck in his head for more than thirty years. He can explain the former, but not the latter. He divides his time between homes in Tennessee and Vermont with his wife, three children, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Ella.

For more information, please visit www.iancron.com.

For Speaking: Chaffee Management Group
Phone: 615.300.9699
Email: jchaffee@chaffeemanagement.com

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