Chasing Francis A Novel by Ian Morgan Cron

Book Description:  Author, musician and speaker Ian Morgan Cron sheds new light on the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi, "the Last Christian." Cron masterfully weaves actual accounts from the life of Saint Francis' into the fictional story of Chase Falson, a New England minister on a pilgrimage to regain his faith. It's an amazing story with profound implications for the contemporary church. Read the story, and then learn even more about St. Francis' radical activism and theology in the robust forty-page study guide.

My Review:  Sometimes a book catches you "off guard."  Such is the case of Chasing Francis A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron.  
Being familiar with St. Francis of Assisi but not truly knowledgeable about his life only his famous quote, "Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words" piqued my interest in reading more about Francis.
The story begins with Chase Falson flying into Florence, Italy.  Then in the next paragraph we "hear"as he tells us about being a mega church pastor and how he loses his faith. 
Chase Falson was the preacher at Putnam Hill Community church - a megachurch in Connecticut - until the day he loses his faith in front of the entire congregation. He calls up his Uncle Kenny, who is a Franciscan Priest living in Italy. Uncle Kenny suggests that Chase come visit with him for awhile and learn about God from Saint Francis of Assisi.  Thus, begins an engaging story of finding one's faith.
Chase begins a pilgrimage even spending the night at the Grotto (cave) that Francis slept in for weeks.
This is a thought provoking book.  At times a heavy read! But a book that begs to be finished not to be left on the table or shelf.  
I wish that like Chase I could fly off and "find my faith" in times of distress.  Yes, I'd like to see the country side, sip espresso at an outdoor cafe and follow the footsteps of a great man.  
Even though I'm not Catholic or of Catholic descent, like Chase, I was immersed in this pilgrimage and found that no matter what your faith God longs for you to commune with him and be filled with all faith!  
On page 172 it tells us that Francis of Assisi was so repulsed by lepers that if he saw on coming he would cover his mouth and nose, turn and run the other way.  One day while riding on the outskirts of Assisi he saw a leper.  He wanted to take off in the other direction but then he heard Jesus telling him to get off his horse and kiss the leper.  He did and that was turning point in his conversion.
A truly enjoyable 5 star read that will encourage you in your faith!
*I reviewed this book for NavPress*

About the Author: 

Ian Morgan Cron is the founder and now senior pastor emeritus of Trinity Church in Greenwich, Conn., a non-denominational faith community committed to social justice as well as to communicating the Christian story through the arts.

To introduce others to St. Francis of Assisi, he authored Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale. His literary debut received glowing endorsements from The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Brian McLaren, Fr Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, Tony Campolo, Brennan Manning, and artist Makoto Fujimura.

Ian is an adjunct priest at Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut and a doctoral student at Fordham University (The Jesuit University in New York) where he is studying Christian spirituality. In his spare time Ian enjoys reading, yoga, hiking, traveling, and kayaking.
Ian is currently writing a spiritual memoir for Thomas Nelson with the working title, This Much I Know ( a memoir. mostly.)which should be released in the Spring of 2011.
He resides in Franklin, Tennessee and Dorset, Vermont with his wife, three children, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Hobbes.

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