David Gregory, How's Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey (New York: Simon and Shuster, 2015), 276pp.
By the time he was a sophomore in college, David Gregory knew that he wanted to be a television journalist. He channeled his anxieties about his mother's alcoholism into a fierce ambition: "everything was subservient to my career," he writes in this memoir. With the help of his father, who was a Los Angeles producer and agent, he succeeded even beyond his lofty imagination. He became NBC's chief White House correspondent, and then the moderator of "Meet the Press" when he was thirty-eight.
Along the way, Gregory got married to a woman with a vibrant Methodist faith. They had kids, which provoked questions about how to raise them in an interfaith marriage. While his mother was a lapsed Catholic, his father was Jewish, and Gregory had always identified as a Jew. After six years at "Meet the Press" the ratings fell and so he was replaced, ending a twenty-year career at NBC. That made him think about how he measured his worth and self-identity. His mother's alcoholism was a source of pain and reflection, as was his angry temper.
So, about ten years ago Gregory started on a pro-active spiritual journey. He felt like his faith was an "empty page," and that his Jewish identity was not much more than something ethnic and cultural. He met with a series of religious advisers. He joined a men's Bible study. He was intrigued by a pointed question from the then president George Bush: "Gregory, how's your faith?"
This book tries to answer that question. While it might not be especially profound, and his stories about Bush treat him with kid gloves, it's deeply personal and characterized by remarkable candor. It reminded me of David Brooks' new book The Road To Character (2015) — a genuine effort by a prominent journalist to move beyond the limelight and explore life's deepest questions. Bravo for David Gregory!