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.
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: