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Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,356 ratings  ·  343 reviews
"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 be ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 6th 2011 by Thomas Nelson
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  2,356 ratings  ·  343 reviews

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Bob Carlton
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You know, there are those books you read and quickly can not recall. There are those books that give you an stray thought or two. And then there are books that get under your skin and transform the way you look at things. This is one of the third kind. This book is powerful, at times even overwhelming. You can not read this book and approach fatherhood or the Eucharist the same way again. You can not read this book and think of Christianity the same way. This book will change you.

Cron's story o
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This account of a boy's childhood blasted by a father's alcoholism and secret life is so lyrical you can almost forget how horrible it was in the living of it. Ian Morgan Cron is a gifted writer who seamlessly weaves together the conflicting emotions and the inner turmoil of this kind of upbringing.

Surprisingly, a wry humor leavens Mr. Cron's relentless tale of sorrow. A few hints of an idyllic boyhood that could have been find their way into the narrative. In particular, I loved the scene in wh
Sarah Hyatt
Jan 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I've read the reviews for this book - they were what made me want to read it in the first place. I seriously don't see how I am reading the same book as all of these people, because the very things that everyone praises are the things that I think are worst about this book.

Nothing about this book is unique. It's an overgrown blog entry, another hipster Christian book trying to be edgy with pop culture references that will quickly become obsolete and disjointed childhood memories without an overa
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, faith
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is alternately funny, touching and instructive. My husband picked it up at the church book store, in part because Father Cron is our favorite celebrant to lead the portion of the liturgy where we sing to begin communion (this is a priest with a good voice, people). I found his memoir as easy to read as his voice is easy to hear. It didn't hurt anything that his story is so close to my own (and yet so very different).

Like me, Cron is the child of an alcoholic. Un
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ian Morgan Cron is a masterful story teller. His writing style came across as if we were sharing life stories over a cup of coffee. Some parts were so hilarious that I read them aloud to my husband. When you read a book and can't wait to share a part of it with your loved ones, I think it qualifies as a good read. This is a book about learning to live a full life in spite of a difficult childhood, a story of the love and holiness of God, and the sacredness of sharing one's story, no matter how d ...more
Jonathan Lien Horn
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another great piece of Christian memoir. Truly fantastic but missing something; I can't quite put my finger on what. ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Despite the mention of the CIA in the title, it’s not the primary focus of the book. Ian didn’t know his dad was involved with the CIA until his mid-teens. There had been odd “business trips” when he had thought his father was out of work, his mention of having met people (like President Ford) whom he would not likely have crossed paths with, etc., but the pieces didn’t come together until Cron’s teens.

Cron grew up in England until his father’s work took the family back to the States, where the
Tracy Towley
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Books like Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts are the reason I love the Good Reads First Reads program so much. It's unlikely I would have picked this up if I hadn't received my free copy but it ended up being a surprisingly touching book.

The synopsis at IndieBound reads: “An autobiography of Ian Morgan Cron, a clergyman in the Episcopal Church,” which is about as inaccurate as a synopsis can get while remaining technically accurate. Based on this description,
David A.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was predisposed to think Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron would be great. It was recommended to me by friends, coworkers, a vicar’s wife I met on retreat, even the editor who asked me to review it for Relevant Magazine's year-end best-of-2011 list. I picked up a humidity-soaked copy at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina in June, where the euphoria surrounding the book was palpable.

I normally resist such mania. Anything that gets that many people so quickly in a lath
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I definitely felt there was a worth-while narrative being told, I didn't find much cohesion among the different elements that made up the narrative. While the author/narrator is very direct in letting the reader know the effect his father had on him (for better or worse), he never seemed to make an adequate comparison to his actions and his father's influence on those actions. Each chapter would tell a story from Ian's life, but very rarely would there be the corollary the title and premis ...more
Kathryn in FL
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author begins his story using a child's eye view of life, creating multiple moments of laugh out loud funny observations. It reminded me of the very popular book, "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes, Really Reflect Up" which has recently been reprinted for another generation of readers. These memoirs recount the horrors and confusion of growing up Catholic and attending a Catholic school.

However, once the trauma of Catholic school has been addressed, the remaining three quarters of the book, expl
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This author is quite a storyteller. I think I felt every emotion known to mankind while reading this book. I loved the sense of humor shown throughout the book and thank God for it because without it, it could have been a real downer. There were times I wanted to cry, times I felt angry (I think mean spirited kids are dispicable) and times I wanted to applaud someone for his or her role in this man's life. I will definitely read other books by this author. ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5. .... because I shouldn't give every single book five stars?
I listen to Ian's Typology podcast, and wasn't sure what to expect from a memoir "of sorts". His story is moving, heartbreaking, encouraging ... no family is exempt from some level of dysfunction, I suspect.

We all want to be seen and to be loved. And we can never know too well that "love always stoops".
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
A painful story beautifully told in some of the most delcious prose I've read in a long time. ...more
Jeff Earnhardt
Ian Cron owes me a new pen. I nearly ran one dry underlining his clever voice that fully allowed me to visualize his words and nod as I read them.

I apologize in advance as I will be using (stealing) many of the phrases he coined in this book. His word play, puns, metaphors, and similes are outstanding and deserve to be retold.

Well done, Ian.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'home is not just a place; it’s a knowing in the soul, a vague premonition of a far-off country that we know exists but haven’t seen yet.'

I felt this through the whole book. fascinating, heartbreaking, but colourfully and compellingly told.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this memoir by Ian Cron the Enneagram guy! It was an honest look at his troubling childhood and had so many references to the good old days (1960-70s).
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to Ian via his enneagram podcast. This book was so like him. Now I have a better understanding for why he’s so wise and gentle.
jonny diane - Professional Wedding Officiant
It was an ok book but I had to really make my self read it ... which defeats my purpose of reading ... Good in the beginning then rather boggy!
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lethal Combination: Astute Observations on Life's Poignant and Devastating Moments with a Generous Dollop of Wit and Tenderness

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
Kristine Coumbe
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was attracted to the title and photo on the front of the book of a toddler in a lifeboat waving. Ian Morgan Cron explains the picture in the first chapter as being beckoned by his past self. Cron also warns the reader: "...I couldn't tell the whole truth about my childhood by rigidly sticking to the facts." Cron aptly concludes chapter 1 with: " This a record of my life as I remember it - but more importantly, as I felt it."

Jesus, My Father The CIA and Me is a "memoir" about growing up with an
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I have recently been introduced to the genre of Memoir books and find them fascinating! I love hearing about how people learn to take the life they find themselves in and not only reflect back on the past (with all the hurts and bruises) but move forward because or in spite of it. Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me- A Memoir of sorts by Ian Morgan Cron is just such a story! He is so interesting to read, and such a good storyteller, that I read this book in just a few short sessions.
Ian grew up
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
Cron is an episcopal priest who struggled with his faith throughout his young life, particularly because of his alcoholic father. His memoir describes his childhood growing up with such a father, and how that affected both his faith and his psyche. This struggle was made more complicated by the fact that his father worked on-and-off for the CIA throughout his life, so there is this added layer of not knowing his father both because of his alcoholism and because of his secretive life that couldn’ ...more
Robert Stump
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Homo Homini Lupus

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir of Sorts tells the story of the author and of his strained relationship--if relationship it can be called--with his father. From the start Cron grabs the readers attention with pithy anecdotes and personal story that break up the main biographical arc of the narrative. The book moves through the life of the author in a number of stages, and even without their being separated and divided out by the a
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have a special place in my heart for memoirs and this one did not disappoint. I have been listening to Ian Cron on his podcast about the Enneagram called Typology. I was so curious to hear more about his story and it is a sad one filled with heartache. What a delightful storyteller he is and I so enjoy his personality on his podcast and in his memoir.
Trinity Rose
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me A memoir…of sorts by Ian Morgan Cron is one fantastic book. This is the second book by Ian and I think his best so far.
The story is mainly about Ian’s life and how he survived an alcoholic father who showed little if any love to him and also how he became the same person without realizing it.
This is an amazing story that held my attention through the whole book. It is a book that is full of despair, hopelessness, but also one of hope, peace and finally love.
Amy L. Campbell
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, 2011, blogged
Note: Review copy provided by publisher.

Cron's memoir, whether of sorts or not, is an honest admission of what it was like growing up with a secretive and emotionally absent alcoholic father. Throughout the narrative Cron struggles with trying to gain his father's acceptance, first through misbehaving and then through overachieving, in an attempt to gain the recognition and love his father was never capable of giving. In the meantime, he manages to earn a degree, find a wife, have his own strugg
Kristian Kilgore
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cron is an excellent storyteller with a remarkable gift for using language to convey his tone. Cron's story is beautiful, but his yarn spinning makes this book hard to put down. i didn't know what to expect as I started it, perhaps an hair raising tale of espionage and near misses, or a life marked by patriotic sacrifice. What I found was a coming of age story that was painful, funny, and meaningful. This is not a deep dive into anything theological, it is a refreshing mix of just the right amou ...more
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
An entertaining coming of age by the now Episcopal priest Ian Morgan Cron. Cron is honest about his adult lens to do his personal retrospective. Of course it’s part fiction and ‘a memoir….of sorts’. His Roman Catholic upbringing, earliest memories of his alcoholic father who worked for the CIA as well, a nanny, schools and the challenge to establish friendships.
Having said farewell to the faith of his childhood the return to God takes time and is full of criticism. Alcohol got a grip on the auth
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: recently-read
Easy to read, very lyrical at times. I'm glad I read it, but I'm heartily tired of the one-sentence paragraphs that are so often used for effect nowadays, & this author is very fond of them.

Or maybe his editor was.

(See, isn't that annoying?)

Plus bitter experience has taught me to be extra-wary of narcissistic types. Cron's father is, & so is Cron himself, though he seems to have his reined in via spiritual direction & commitment to his family. I respect that discipline & am not sure how he could
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Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, trained psychotherapist, Dove Award–winning songwriter, and Episcopal priest. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Ian draws on an array of disciplines—from psychology to the arts, Christian spirituality and theology—to help people enter more dee ...more

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