Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

Ian Morgan Cron is a fantastic writer. This is probably the best written book I have read this year, and I read a lot of books. He is masterful in painting pictures that kept bringing me back to wanting more. That is probably obvious when I wanted to keep reading about a man's life, someone I have never met. This book is his memoir...of sorts. He says "of sorts"because as he tried to write about his childhood, he realized we all imagine how it was like better than it probably was. He says, "This work dances on the hyphen between memoir and autobiographical fiction. Many of the stories in this book are more than forty years old . . . They include approximations of conversations that actually occurred or ones I believe could have reasonably taken place, given my knowledge of the people and the events at the time" (4).

After reading it, all I can say is that if it is indeed real and not fiction, I feel for this man. He grew up in a family where his father, covertly working for the CIA, was an alcoholic. Much of the book is about his interaction and struggle of dealing with a father who never expressed his love for him. He never thought he was good enough for his father, even though he had a mother who loved him unconditionally. He grew up in a Catholic family and tells stories of what it was like to be a young altar boy as well as attend Catholic school.

Eventually, his struggle with his father turned him against God. He talks about how getting that guitar in High School was his savior, of sorts.
I don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't learned how to play guitar and write songs. God provided me with music as a spiritual foster home until I could find a permanent place to live. I no longer thought much about God, and when I did my thoughts turned dark. My life was one long, unanswered prayer. If there was a God, he was just like my father, a drunk who forgot to keep his promises to his children. It was up to me to make life work." (115)
This was his attitude, whether it was pursuing education, alcohol, drugs, or whatever thing in life. He thought God and Jesus was a sham because they never answered his prayers as a child.

As I read this book, my heart really felt for the young boy in the story. I felt for the high school student who tried and sought attention in so many places. I was moved by the story of the college student who still looked for happiness in so many places. Then the book ends with Cron leading a parish in the Sacraments as part of a Episcopal church. And I thought . . . what happened? Where's the conversion? Where's the understanding of Jesus and the cross being his only hope? Where's the understanding of justification by faith? Where's the forgiveness? And while I was compelled by the literature of this book, it ended with my heart still aching for this man. I hope it is in vain and he has really found the meaning of salvation in Jesus, the cross, and repentance of sins.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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