Item description for Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron...
Overview Chase Falson may just have lost it all this time--his temper, his faith, his pulpit. Could an old saint in the hills of Italy help him salvage the shreds of his life?
Chase Falson has lost his faith so he crosses the Atlantic to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, where he encounters the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscovers his ancient faith. Follow Chase's spiritual journey in the footsteps of Francis, and then begin one of your own through the pilgrim's guide included in this book.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.32" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.68" Weight: 0.57 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2007
Publisher NAV PRESS #111
ISBN 1576838129 ISBN13 9781576838129
Availability 0 units.
More About Ian Morgan Cron
Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopal priest, speaker, musician, and retreat leader. Ian and his wife have three children and divide their time between homes in Connecticut and Tennessee. Visit his website at www.iancron.com.
Reviews - What do customers think about Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale?
A slightly monocular search for an alternative to modern evangelicalism Nov 25, 2008
This is a winsome and helpful fictional exploration of an alternative to the non-denominational, generic evangelicalism of modern America. The entire novel could be said to be an extended narrative on how, by consideration of the example of Francis of Assisi, one Protestant minister in the throes of a crisis of faith comes to a better understanding of the basic Christian mandate that faith without works is dead. This work is a useful corrective to the notion that Christianity is solely an affair of the head, an intellectual parlor game for the comfort of the initiated right-believers. It is also a reminder to those who might be "light" on church history that the church had its saints well before the advent of Martin Luther and John Calvin.
The book is not without its flaws. On a literary note, there are a few cliches too many, not the least of which is the "fallen woman with a heart of gold" whose challenge to the protagonist about the problem of evil in the world seemingly precipitates the crisis that is the focus of the book, and whose devotion to the protagonist eventually enables him to courageously embrace a neo-Franciscan model of being the church for his own ministry. The author also betrays his own cultural captivity through recurring references to haute cuisine and (perhaps especially) through his choice of a trip to Italy as a curative for his theological malaise; it would have undoubtedly been cheaper (and more realistic) to check a copy of Dorothy Day's "A Long Loneliness" out of the local public library rather than swilling espresso with traveling priests and monks in the Italian countryside.
But the most significant limitation of the book (and the author's project) is its rosy exaltation of a version of Franciscan spirituality. In my experience, the Christian faith is at its most beautiful when an active love for God and neighbor is married to a robust and hopeful faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. Just as faith without works is dead, works of charity without a firm foundation of faith and hope risk becoming indistinguishable from any other secular social work program, with all the attendant limitations and weaknesses. Perhaps the author's next project will be a novelization of how our neo-Franciscan pastor subsequently rediscovers the joy of faith, restores his hope, and attains a theological balance in his life after suffering burnout working at the soup kitchen or the drug treatment center. I would be interested in seeing how he does with that!
Although somewhat dated, I recommend "Evangelical Is Not Enough," by Thomas Howard, as an alternative autobiographical exploration of similar issues with a slightly different corrective.
Beware, You will be challenged! Jul 7, 2008
You will be forced to think seriously about you live your life. A very readable novel with a thought provoking idea. It should change the way we view ourselves and the role of the church. Well worth the time and thought.
wonderful book May 27, 2008
since i've been blogging about books i read, i've started receiving some in the mail. some publishers still don't get this, and have absurd requests ("we'd like to send you a book, but we need you to guarantee you'll post a positive review of it within two weeks, link to it on our site, and give us one of your children."). i always decline these requests, and they seem to send the books anyhow. but this book just showed up in my mail. no demands, no requests, no "we hope you blog about this" card stuck in the cover. and it sat in my "maybe i'll read" pile for a month or so. but each time i was selecting my next book to read, this book caught my eye. i finally read the back cover, and decided it was a good fit for my "new zealand fiction reading spree". and, after chris moore's comedic love story about vampires in san francisco, i was ready for a tale of a pastor in spiritual crisis.
this book is one of those fiction books that aren't written just to tell a story. it's fiction with a point. it's fiction with long non-fictiony prose by primary characters. brian mclaren's "new kind of christian" trilogy is written in this format. so are patrick lencioni's excellent business parables. some people don't like this kind of writing. i am not one of those people. i love this approach, when done well (i've seen hack jobs also, and wished they'd just written non-fiction, or not written at all!).
but the bottom line is: crom totally makes this style of storytelling work in this book.
the basic storyline, without giving anything away, is of a conservative evangelical seeker-church pastor in new england who goes into a full-blown faith crisis which climaxes right in the middle of sermon. nasty way to go, but painfully engaging and voyeuristic to read! this main character -- chase falson -- gets put on leave of absense by his freaked-out church board, and ends up flying to italy to hang with an old favorite uncle who's become a franciscan friar. this uncle (uncle kenny -- gotta love a franciscan monk named "uncle kenny") takes chase on a pilgrimage to wrestle his questions and doubts to the ground, all alonside francis (as in: saint francis).
here's what crom accomplishes: - he gives us a great overview of franciscian ideology (and theology), as well as an overview of the life of saint francis. - he proposes that francis has much to teach the church (and the emerging church) during this epochal transitionary time we live in (modern to pomo).
occasionally, chase has thinking or understanding that seems too simplistic for a new england mega-church pastor (there are a few times when i thought, "c'mon, he would have known that!"). and that occasionally makes the book feel like it's making an unfair caricature of conservative evangelicals. but i really don't get the sense that's crom's intent.
i truly enjoyed reading this book, and would highly recommend it. it's not preachy but has some wonderful ideas. and its narrative approach not only lends itself to enjoyable reading (and, really, i like to read just to read sometimes, not only to get new ideas!), but it utilizes the power of story and illustration to gently unveil some powerful and timely old skool theology and worldview.
tmost Apr 21, 2008
This book is phenominal for anyone who is an artist or thinks like one, and also a believer in Christ. Growing up Catholic then migrating to more evangelical churches, Ian Cron speaks directly to the feeling of emptiness that eventually catches up with you. There needs to be an understanding and appreciation for the historical basis of faith. Evangelical churches would do well to put this book into practice. Artists need to inject themselves into the church using some of the ideas in this book to bring about positive change and a new direction.
a bit disappointed Feb 18, 2008
I ordered this book because of a review in World Magazine. It was an o.k. book but I was a bit disappointed. It basically was a way to tell the story of St. Francis but the information was nothing new, at least to me. The main character didn't seem to really go through any struggle before deciding the church should be patterned after St. Francis and a works-oriented church. Basically, it was stuff that I went through in the 70's, tried and came out realizing that we are saved by God's Grace not by our works. Our works should come out of that grace...works to make us feel good is pretty empty.