I love reading nonfiction and partaking in theological discussions to learn, grow, and encourage. But six months after I’ve read something, what sticks with me the most?
Is it a quote? Sometimes. A fact? Maybe.
But more often, I remember someone’s story.
We remember someone’s story because his or her experiences become intertwined with our own empathetic emotions. Story causes us to see truths and situations from a different perspective.
Imagine combining the richness of deep nonfiction with the power of someone’s story. That’s what Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron does.
Chasing Francis follows Chase Falson’s story. A founder and preacher of a megachurch in Connecticut, Chase endures a series of events over two years sparking a meltdown in front of his congregation. As a result of his forced break from his job, he calls his “black sheep of the family” Uncle Kenny, a Franciscan priest in Italy. He travels to Italy and embarks on amazing experiences with a hilariously real group of Franciscan friars, touring the locale and life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Considered “wisdom literature” because it includes nonfiction components in a fiction format, Chasing Francis is a fascinating read. In fact, the author is very Franciscan in his writing because he tells theological truths through fiction. The author includes small details and unique metaphors that make scenes realistic.
“He’s the only Christian shrink I know who doesn’t make those annoying throaty humming sounds when you tell him some painful detail about your life.” – Chasing Francis, pp. 11-12
The author asks hard and deep questions quickly. “What” questions are usually easier to answer than “why” questions. This book asks “why” questions within the first twenty pages.
Those reading Chasing Francis need to have an understanding of Christian terms and foundations, but believers of all backgrounds could glean from this book. The author presents very interesting parallels between St. Francis’s time and our current era. This book also touches on the differences between what some may consider legalistic Catholicism and real, active faith, no matter what denomination. Some readers may be concerned that the characters are idolizing St. Francis too greatly, but the characters (and author) also are certain to show that St. Francis’s life centered on Christ, and Francis remains an example of living for Christ.
Both Chase and St. Francis’s stories caused me to ask the right questions of my own life and faith. Am I following Christ from love or from rules? How much of my life is action because of that life or just stagnant intent? What would it look like if I stopped trying to convince others of faith and instead just showed faith?
Wow. This may be one of the books I add to a “must re-read” list. And I absolutely want to read more about St. Francis.
For further reading on St. Francis, I strongly recommend reading the in-depth study guide and bibliography included at the end of the book.
Have you read any of St. Francis’s quotes or biographies on St. Francis? How does his life share Christ’s love in a way that you can adapt in your own life?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.