On a warm September night in 1991, in a quiet neighborhood north of Houston, Texas, David McGlynn’s closest friend and teammate on the high school swimming team is found murdered on his living room floor. As the crime goes unsolved and his friends turn to drugs and violence, McGlynn is vulnerable, rootless, searching for answers. He is drawn into the eccentric and often radical world of evangelical Christianity—a journey that leads him to a proselytizing campus fellowship in Southern California, on a mission to Australia, and to Salt Lake City, where a second swimming-related tragedy leaves him doubting the authenticity of his beliefs.
In his post-evangelical life, he finds himself exiled from his parents, plunged into financial chaos, and caught off-guard by the prospect of fatherhood. A new job offers hope for a new beginning, until the possibility of losing his newborn son forces him to confront the nature of everything he believes. The memoir’s concluding chapter, which appeared in The Best American Sports Writing 2009, celebrates the author’s love for swimming, the enduring metaphor for his faith and the setting for many of his life’s momentous occasions. A Door in the Ocean charts the violent origins of one man’s faith and the struggle to find meaning in the midst of life’s painful uncertainties.