“Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron and published by Navpress
This is a novel about a mega-church pastor who becomes disillusioned with rational, church as usual, Christianity. He takes time away from his church to visit his Franciscan priest, uncle in Italy. He then is taken on a journey to visit places and the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, which revitalizes his faith. He returns to share his new found faith and his new vision for the church, only to be voted out of his church.
The pastors new vision is born from 5 words that is the essence of the teachings of St. Francis: transcendence, community, beauty, dignity and meaning.
I am not big into reading novels, but I was looking forward to reading this one because I thought it would apply some of the teachings of St. Francis in a more practical way, even though in a fictional account. I was disappointed. The book talks about his teachings but fails to bring it home. For instance, talking about Francis living for the poor, the best it could say for us is that we should learn to live more simply-What does that mean?
I appreciate the stance many in the church are taking against materialism and our consumerist life styles. But why wont someone draw a line? Why don’t the church be specific and say to purchase this item or to live in this size house or to drive this type of car is a indication of greed and materialism? The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth not to associate with covetous people. So that would indicate that the church knew who would be covetous. So, who do we say today is covetous? Have you ever heard of a church disciplining a member because they were coveting? When is enough enough?
With that said, if you enjoy novels and are interested in some of the basic teachings of St. Francis I would recommend the book. You will probably enjoy it.