Chasing Francis by Ian Cron is a novel about a burned out pastor (Chase) of an evangelical mega-church who embarks on a pilgrimage on the other side of the world–chasing St. Francis of Assisi. Along the way, he learns what it means to broaden his view of the Divine, how to find God in all things, that we’re all connected in strange and mysterious ways, that worship is important but doing it in a space with stadium seating isn’t, Catholics and Protestants have much to learn from one another, that God is intimately concerned with all of God’s creatures (that we should be too), and that sometimes you have to leave the old to make something new.
This book was powerfully endorsed by folks such as Phyllis Tickle (“absolutely seductive…a feast for the soul as well as a great, churning, joyful romp for the spirit”), Marcus Borg (“I was powerfully and wonderfully moved by this story”), and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams (“I’ve now read it twice and found it equally compelling both times”).
It lived up to these endorsements and more.
Perhaps it’s because of my own stage of life and faith that made me open to this book and that made this book so compelling to me. I was captivated by Chase’s story–because I, too, am disgruntled with the current institution we call church. I was captivated by his journey and the notion of pilgrimage for myself. I was reminded of the way in which the saints before us–and those living among us–care for the poor every day, in ways that I don’t know if I ever could but am called to try. I found this book to be a captivating narrative as a novel and a thought-provoking commentary on church and the differences in the ways we are called to live and how we actually do live.
A great read and one I’ve already recommended to a half dozen people whose stories may benefit from the weaving of this one.
This is a book review for Speak Easy. No money exchanged hands for this review, but I do get to keep my (free) copy of the book. Hot dang.