I picked up journalist Eric Lax’s heartfelt new memoir after reading his recent opinion piece in The New York Times in which he lovingly supported the controversial election of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, who is gay, as an assistant bishop in Los Angeles’ Episcopal Diocese.
“Faith Interrupted’’ is in part a longer reflection on the troubling paradoxes that confront a religiously observant life. Lax, the son of an Episcopal priest and the author of a well-known biography of Woody Allen, spent his childhood steeped in his family’s faith, serving as an acolyte in his father’s Southern California church. Lax tenderly writes that “at the altar we were like dance partners, each of whom knew the other’s steps before he made them.’’
In an age of dysfunctional family relationships, the Laxes stand out for their mutual love and respect even as Eric eventually abandons the religion of his childhood. Yet “Faith Interrupted’’ is such an honest and affecting memoir that one can imagine Lax wrote much of it in the same frame of mind in which he contemplated the night sky as a boy at Camp Stevens. The Episcopal camp, where his father served as chaplain, held memories of a first kiss as well as God’s surrounding grandeur. Lax writes that “I felt particularly close to God as I drifted to sleep, and woke up in the morning thinking I would become a priest.’’