Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron–Book Review

Pastor Chase Falson, leader of a large, evangelical church, finds his faith floundering after the death of a young child in his congregation. Suddenly he doesn’t have all the answers — or any answers–and God seems far away. He shares his feelings in a sermon, and is promptly asked by the church elders to “take a break” so that he and they can reassess his ministry.

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by [Ian M Cron]

Chase’s Uncle, a Franciscan priest, convinces him to come to Italy, going on a kind of pilgrimage to the places that were important in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He gives him a reading list of books about the saint as well. Chase is highly suspicious at first — for one thing, as a Catholic his theology is all wrong, and wasn’t he also a little crazy? Messages from God, giving up everything? It’s far from the logical, reasoned faith that Chase espouses and teaches.

I won’t publish any “spoilers” except to say that Chase recovers his faith, but he has changed and learned many lessons from Francis, who was willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world for the sake of Christ.

The author describes his book as “a genre called wisdom literature, which is a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.” It’s an easy, engaging read, and I actually thought it was a memoir at first! Since there was so much historical and theological detail that could not be included in the story, Cron has provided a study guide at the end of the book. This could be done alone or with a group.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved it!

For more on pilgrimages see:

And Then There are Pilgrimages …

..And Speaking of Retreats …..

for all who wander by Robin Dance–Book Review

How do I wander?  Let me count the ways!  This is exactly what Robin Dance does in the story of her journey in faith.  There are so many ways we can move ourselves away from God, sometimes without even realizing what we’re doing.  Here are a few:

  • Ignorance or misunderstanding of Scripture
  • Striving to please people instead of God
  • Getting caught up in “idol worship” by placing worldly goals above God’s will for our lives
  • Jealousy
  • Bitterness
  • Self-righteousness
  • Burnout
  • Tragedy

Well, I’m sure you get the point.  There are a million  things in our lives that can cause us to take our eyes off of the One who is our Shepherd!  It happens to all of us, and so we need to constantly examine our lives to see if we’re heading in the right direction. How do we do this?  Robin says:

“We leave each day a little different than we begin it;  we undergo tiny, imperceptible changes that give shape to who we become over time.  The same is true of our faith.  Small changes are happening whenever we linger in God’s Word, worship in song or service, celebrate the sacraments, or even listen to contemporary classics on the radio …. when Christ comes to us through His people ….”

She is completely honest and transparent in discussing her struggles and doubts, wanting all of us to realize that we are not alone, and that wandering doesn’t have to mean we are lost.

There is also a Journey Guide to supplement the text, for journaling or discussing the book with a small group.

VERDICT:  I give this book 5 stars.  It would make a great book club or small group selection.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255