Book Review: Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

12 06 2013

Title:  Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s TaleImage

Author:  Ian Morgan Cron

Genre: Christian Fiction

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Available:  NOW

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a wonderful novel that reads like a memoir. It is the story of Chase,a New England mega church pastor, who loses his faith when tragedy strikes his congregation. He heads on a pilgrim to Italy and walks in the steps of Francis of Assisi to try and find what it means to be a Christian.

I really, really enjoyed this book. Chase comes from the “modern” church – seeker friendly, prosperity gospel, internally serving. He steps over the line in looking into a Catholic saint’s life. And while he has his misgivings, instead he looks beyond the “Church” and sees what Francis faced in his lifetime to follow Jesus – ignoring what the church and society thought he must do. Chase faces many different demons in his own self analysis. He opens his heart to believe in the possible, and to see the truth.

Chase is a charismatic protagonist and his journey is serious, but lighthearted. He is honest in his search for the truth. As we read his story, we are bound to find a piece of our own faith journey there, something we even struggle with in our churches today. Bringing St. Francis into the equation and jumping the line into Catholicism points out another of the church’s weaknesses – the division between the various factions of the church, and their unwillingness to accept other forms of Christianity as heaven bound.

His cast of sidekicks are wonderfully enlightened, likeable and helpful. Chase is open to the change, even as other characters are not. The study guide in the back is quite detailed and helpful in guiding the reader to think more about what this book is trying to say. Would make a wonderful selection for a Bible Study type group or book club.

Overall I agree with many of the things that Chase discovers in his search for faith (not 100% though). He puts his finger squarely on some of the biggest problems in American churches today.
Personally I found things to carry with me on my own church journey. If nothing else, this book will make you think.

Note: I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions provided are my own.

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