This book was not easy to read through but I was eager to finish it. Cron takes his reader through his journey of pain, neglect, abuse, and eventual forgiveness and redemption with his alcoholic father. The redemption process is not as overtly "evangelical" as some would like it but it's obvious through Christ and people in the author's life. The writing is humorous and sincere and the presentation is elegantly simple. Cron is a good writer.
Cron speaks somewhat into my life through this book as he processed his struggles, guilt, and eventual healing from his alcoholic father. The bit about CIA is interesting and gives us some insight--and humor--into how a CIA agent relates to his family and the resultant barrier. The books ends in a triumphant note as Cron learns to parent his own children in spite of a the lack of a fatherly role model.
Cron has a way of integrating tragedy with humor, redemption, and love and this book will bring you tears on one page and lol on the next.
on January 29, 2012
The title of this book grabbed my attention immediately as I was hoping to see the tie between Jesus, his father, and the CIA. These are all subjects that intrigue me, and so it was with this anticipation that I grabbed the book and started to read.
The book itself is a journey of pain, as Ian Morgan Cron takes us for a walk through his life. His honesty and willingness to invite the reader creatively into his pain was appreciated and endearing. I ended up not only liking Ian, but hurting for him, and the pain his life has experienced.
The book did not leave me rejoicing in Jesus which I would have appreciated, and much of Ian's fathers work in the CIA remained a mystery. His pain and joy is the focus of the journey, so if you are looking to be entertained by peering into the life of a good author and vicariously feeling his pain and the beginnings of his healing, you will enjoy this book, if you are looking to grow, you may be disappointed.
Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller
on January 7, 2012
I received a copy of Jesus, My Father, the CIA, And Me: A memoir' of sorts from Book Sneeze in exchange for a review.
This book was hard to put down even when I absolutely had to. It was with caution that I started reading, not knowing what to expect after having read someone's introduction ' but by the time I was into chapter two there was no stopping.
Ian Cron writes with such seeming honesty and transparency that the reader can feel his grief, his triumphs, his struggles. I winced in places, feeling sorrow for his pain, and laughed out loud where he unexpectedly injected humour.
He writes about his tumultuous growing up years ' as he remembers it ' with his secretive alcoholic father and his proper, lovely mother who tried to protect him. He writes about his own fall into a life of addiction, patterned unwittingly after his father. And he writes about his deep love for God, his anger toward Jesus when all he wants is for his own father to love him, and the discoveries of the truth about both his father and Jesus. Truths that change his life.
What bothered me about this book was the author's flippant attitude toward God, his apparent lack of reverence as if God owed him something. My hope was that he was simply expressing the feelings he had early in his spiritual journey, which are probably the questions of many in their search for Truth. Ian Morgan Cron, who eventually became a priest, eased my mind when he responded to my alarm with these words: "I think what you heard as flippant was actually masked anger, disappointment expressed in sarcasm, which is what I did in those days."
This is a story that pulled me in and held me there right to the end; such an enjoyable read that is different from any out there.
on November 1, 2011
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron is a fantastic read. In fact, I read the whole thing in one day, I simply could not put it down.
Cron leads us through his journey with his family, through riches and poverty, through alcoholism and family struggles. This is not a book that paints a false, and rosy picture of what it means to live for Christ, but because of that it invites the reader into real struggles, and healing. It is amazing to read the way in which Christ is at work in both Cron's life, and ours as well.
Forgive the cliche, but this book will make you both laugh and cry. It is marvelously written and is one of my favorite memoirs in a while.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 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.'
on July 9, 2011
Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me : A Memoir .....of Sorts
by Ian Morgan Cron
When first flipping through this book, which my usual way to begin a book I am going to review, I had the thoughts that this was going to be an easy read- not many pages, larger printing- oh this will go quickly. I must admit, I was wrong. The topic was different than my usual- it is non fiction and that is not usually my first choice, but the subject matter was intriguing.
Ian writes in metaphors, which take some getting used to. He tells you the story of his life , which is one of remembering his many hurts endured, coping with them and coming to an understanding- but not until he was an adult himself of why and how this happened the way it did. Ian has a father that he just does not understand- why he acts the way he does, where he goes and why there is such unhappiness in his home.
Ian has made his memoir into somewhat of a parable. How can he love a parent who has hidden away from his fatherly duties? He approaches dealing with the act of using God's love and forgiveness to discover empathy for this man and the past.
I have to admit this was not an easy book for me to read. I prefer fiction and lighter topics, however Ian writes in a very engaging and clever way , that I feel those who love biographies, etc. would love the detail and the showing of spiritual growth that takes place in his life as his takes this journey back to his childhood and beyond.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".
on June 27, 2011
At the beginning of the New Year, I had the opportunity to review a book called Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron. It was a book that I very much enjoyed, one that inspired me to look a bit deeper into the life of St. Francis at some point down the road, but not one that I would say truly moved me.
In truth, in all the reading that I do (review books in particular), it's rare that a book stands out and truly touches my life. This memoir (of sorts) by Ian Cron did just that, at different points bringing me from tears to bursts of laughter (as cliche as that sounds), and in the end leaving me with a deep challenge to 'wake up' to the reality of the love and grace of God around us.
Jesus, my father, the CIA, and me is the story of Ian Cron and his family, and the struggles they faced having to deal with an alcoholic father who just so happened to work for the CIA.
Without giving away the details of Cron's story, let me say this: near the end of the book, Cron talks about seeing a psychologist named Dan in an attempt to come to terms with what he faced as a young boy and with the current issues he was dealing with as a result. After he was done telling his story, Dan says the following: 'I want to sit quietly for a moment to honor the story you've just told. It was sacred.'
That's exactly how I felt after having finished this book, for this is sacred storytelling at its finest.
While Cron readily admits that the facts of the story may not be depicted with 100% accuracy (the book being categorized somewhere between memoir and autobiographical fiction), the journey that Cron describes in terms of moving from childhood to adulthood - coming to see not only that he did not have to become what his father had been but also that he had the opportunity to be for his children what his father had not been for him - is immensely powerful, and can indeed speak to any reader on a multitude of levels.
As a father to a 9-month old son, I was particularly moved by two specific bits, the first being this quote:
To see delight in your father's eyes is to see his belief that the party of life would be a bust without you.
I can only hope that as I interact with William, he would see that this world simply would not be the same without him.
Secondly, Cron relays a story near the end of the book about an experience that he was able to share with his kids, and it's a story that resonated with me because I am pretty sure that I would have initially reacted as he did in that situation (again, without giving anything away). It's a story that demonstrates the beauty and power of a grace that allows us to embrace a life of faith regardless of where we have come from or what we have been through, and one that challenged me to consider the areas of my life that inhibit me from embracing 'the jump'. Thankfully my 'stuff' isn't anything close to what Cron had to go through as a kid, but there are serious enough stumbling blocks that I know must be worked through at some point, not only for my sake, but for my wife, my kid(s), and ultimately for continued progress down the path of genuine discipleship.
In short, I would highly recommend this book. I know I'm not making a huge leap when I say that, as it was recently selected as a feature title on the Barnes and Noble 'Discover Great New Writers' program, and has been praised by a great number of prominent Christian writers / pastors. BUT, the accolades are well deserved, and I thank Ian Cron for sharing his story with us.
on June 22, 2011
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir...of Sorts by Ian Cron
I think this is the first time I've ever read a memoir. I guess just the word memoir made me think "some person's life story? boring!"...kind of like how some people automatically look right past a movie when they see it's a documentary. Which is strange, cause I'm usually curious about other people's lives...But I digress.
Ian Cron shares his experiences growing up with an alcoholic father who is emotionally absent from his family, and physically absent for months at a time because of his work with the CIA.
Desperate for his father's love, Cron tries everything from drinking and drugs to excelling academically and completing college. Along the way, he shares his innermost feelings and memories of his childhood and youth. Growing up in a disfunctional family with a Catholic background, Cron doesn't experience God as a loving father until he is a young adult and at the end of his emotional rope.
I really enjoyed this book! I grew up with an alcoholic mother,but thankfully never experiences the trauma that many children of alcoholics face. I don't even remember specifically a time when my mom drank in front of me. One of the reasons this book intrigued me so much was because of Cron's experiences with his alcoholic father.
I also enjoyed Cron's somewhat dry sense of humour, something else I can relate to!
on June 16, 2011
Franz Kafka summed it up well when he said,"I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. . . . What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe."
In a nutshell, Ian's book took an axe to the frozen sea within me.
I'd seen Ian's name on the Twitterverse, a couple weeks prior to attending Donald Miller's Storyline Conference in Portland earlier this month. Every year Miller gives away a new book to conference attendees. This year it was Ian's book "Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me." He had a brief Q&A with Ian before giving away his book.
I was convinced that I was going to love this book purely based on this casual Q&A session. I don't know if it was Ian's nerves or just a quirky idiosyncrasy, but he had an endearing habit of putting his hand on the top of his head when he spoke. It made him resemble a fidgety antsy Yenta from the Bronx, in a charming sort of way.
Think: Woody Allen meets Anne Lamott. Ian has an incredible ability to make astute observations on life's poignant and devastating moments with a generous dollop of wit and tenderness. The lethal combination is what did my heart in.
Anne Lamott says, "I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness'and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine."
Ian does exactly that. He shares his truth. He is concerned with real lives, human hearts and spiritual transformation. I had moments that unraveled my heart so deeply that I had to hit pause (audiobook) and (literally) clutch my heart even at the risk of looking like a lunatic on public transit. Not since Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years has a book wrecked me (in a good way) at *this* scale.
Ian's writing has the incredible ability to take unexpected disarming tears and transition them into cry-giggles a second later. I'm also really looking forward to also reading his first book, "Chasing Francis."
This book helped me identify the golden thread of God's unfinished business of grace in my own life.
I just found out that Ian has been Selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Program on his blog: [...] Former authors to be selected as part of the B&N program include Cormac McCarthy, Elizabeth Gilbert, Frank McCourt, Barbara Kingsolver, Yann Martel, Alice Sebold, Michael Pollan, Patricia Cornwell, Kathryn Stockett, and Khaled Hosseini.
I can't say I'm surprised.
Powerful. Must-must-must-must read book for 2011.
on July 19, 2011
Ian Cron strikes me as the coolest Episcopal priest I ever came across. Not that I know any, but if I did I would think he stands out.
He writes with the humor of Garrison Keillor and hints of Woody Allen. He is theologically trained but does not write a treatise. Instead, we find an auto-biography that brings us to a quiet place at an altar. His testimony reminds us that broken people are healed by a broken Lord.
This is his journey with Christ from childhood, through addiction and depression to parenting and priesthood. I was struck by the simplicity of his gospel and huge gaps in the story. We learn very little about his seminary years or how he came into the priesthood.
But the gaps make sense because Ian turns himself inside out with vulnerability and intention. I was left with the impression that Ian Cron is one who reverences The Name in the same way that Jews would not utter God's Name.
Great read. Couldn't put it down.
on June 29, 2011
At times the book is humorous, many times heartbreaking and often hopeful. You see it come full circle from childhood to parenthood. A father anxious not to repeat the mistakes of a father. Ian speaks with great grace about his parents and their circumstances. He comes from a perspective of trying to understand, not to judge. This book also reinforced for me something I strongly believe, that sometimes going outside our own resources and seeing a good counsellor can have a strong influence on shifting our perspective.
The book was intellectually stimulating, but also relatable. It's definitely worth adding to the "to read" pile. This book captured for me the best of two worlds, it wasn't as difficult to read as a theology book, and it was far more life affecting than reading "fluff", and I totally "judge a book by it's cover" and this has a good one! :)
For the full review: [...]