I had a sweet surprise as I delved into a random book sent to me by an editor to review this summer. “Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts” by Ian Morgan Cron wasn’t some manly thriller complete with blow-out violence and car chases (though, the author did have a tale to tell of his engine over-heating and starting on fire on a drunken drive down the interstate…) and drug-busts (though it did revolve around the damage caused by his father’s addiction)— the kind of “un-like-me” theme I envisioned when told the title. It was a family drama, deftly told, about a healing man who was once a boy broken by an alcoholic father, and held together by a dysfunctional family and a faithful God.
Cron is a masterful story-teller. I was tickled by his sense of humour and conversational way with words peering through lines like, “Behind the wheel, Marcus was like a retired stuntman with dementia" (pg. 24). Intermingled with the down-to-earth humour, he also speaks in a poetic voice: "God provided me with music as a spiritual foster home until I could find a permanent place to live" (pg 115). In fact, Cron interprets much of his experiences with a poetic eye, like in how as a child Cron was drawn to this Lord who is bigger than any religious method made of man in the Catholic practice of Eucharist. And by how his eyes were called heavenward through such simple things as a fawn in the woods or a water stain on his bedroom ceiling.
Cron’s over-arching story was a testimony of a walk with a Father God who reaches out to us in whatever our circumstances. I was touched by this fearless portrayal of his own doubt and questioning in His walk with God through the years of learning to see Him reaching out, his honesty about the journey that it is, and his gradual discovery that He is breathing in everything around us, and we only must train our ears to hear it. “There is no event so common place but that God is not present within it,” says Fredrick Buechner, “Always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.” God walked beside Cron as he maneuvered his way down a winding road, sometimes he could recognize it, and other times he could not. This is one man’s story which, despite growing up across countries and the child of a drunk CIA agent, is really not so very different from any of our own in this human condition-- and the enduring truth of it is God’s faithfulness on that road.
* *I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] 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