Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monkish footsteps

A friend of mine sent me a copy of Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Chase is the thirty-something founding pastor of a New England mega-church and he finds himself in front of his congregation saying, "my faith didn't die slowly..." Needless to say, the elders of Chase's church feel it's time for him to take some time off and get his head and heart straightened out.

So, off to Italy goes Chase to visit his Franciscan-Monk-estranged-from-the-family uncle who says he knows someone who might be able to help Chase sort out his mess. Only thing is, this friend is not only a Franciscan Monk, but THE Franciscan Monk - St. Francis of Assi. With the aid of Chase's Monk-uncle and Monk-friends, Chase embarks on a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St. Francis in a quest to resurrect his dead faith. Through this pilgrimage, Chase catches a "new" image of what the Church could be about as he learns about how Francis viewed community, faith, the environment, and the poor.

Francis is a hero of mine and this is an outstanding introduction to the life of St. Francis. I found myself identifying with Chase and his frustrations over being a Christian in the current church culture of the Western World. The book will make you cry and rejoice over the grace of God and the potential of a life wholly devoted to Jesus.