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Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    Great Book!

    "Chase Falson has lost his faith - and he did it right in front of the congregation at his megachurch." begins the back cover of Chasing Francis. The author, Ian Morgan Cron, combines a search for faith with a trip to Italy, throwing a megachurch pastor in as the one on this unlikely pilgrimage. I loved the sights described in the book and the way Chase traces the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, ultimately rediscovering a faith that looks entirely different than it originally did. Through an unlikely cast of characters, Cron takes us all on a journey to meet St. Francis and I have to admit that I am now fascinated with Francis.

    Chasing Francis is a critique of modern day Evangelicalism, but it is a critique without malice, readily acknowledging that we could sit around all day critiquing or we could live the lives that reflect the gospel and the church we want to see exist. As Cron says, "Francis was more than an entertaining street preacher. He didn't want to win people to faith through theological arguments or by reasoning with them. His way of evangelizing people was through the example of this own life. That's what gave his simple words so much gravity and impact. His life was his theology" (p.149).

    I especially liked the definition of the church Cron gave: "Churches should be places where people come to hear the story of God and to tell their own. That's how we find out how the two relate. Tell your story with all of its shadows and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who's authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life" (p.67).

    This image of the church is refreshing to the doubters among us, those of us who have grown to appreciate a more down to earth approach to faith, stripped of the fancy buildings and expensive sound systems. It reminds me of an old Matt Redman song about coming back to the heart of worship. Sometimes I wonder what faith people would be left with if all the extras were removed. Like Chase, I had to leave the church for a bit in order to find a faith that is a lifestyle, a theology that I can live, day in and day out.

    I don't know if there will be a sequel to Chasing Francis, but I'd love to someday read more about the new community Chase has dreamed of seeing.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Ancient and Modern: a tale of pilgrimage

    I had no sooner finished reading 'Chasing Francis' than I turned back to the beginning to start all over again: this time, concurrently with the study guide at the back of the book. Every chapter provoked a hundred thoughts and questions: the study guide posed even more. This is a novel, telling the story of Chase Falcon, a modern Christian (he is actually a pastor of a mega church) who had become disillusioned with post-modernity to the point of losing his faith, alongside the story of St Francis.

    It is amazing: the kind of book which references ideas - and, in this case, other writers - which make you just want to start reading and studying all about them as well. Add the comprehensive bibliography at the back of the book and years of adventure await.

    Every chapter struck a chord. Chase wrestles with the kind of questions which many of us have but rarely dare to voice. Like Francis, he rediscovers his faith and, with it, different ways of expressing it. Francis served Jesus completely and unreservedly. Whether or not that is your aim, too, then start a pilgrimage to find out how you can best do that. Start with this book.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2014

    A MUST read!!

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Show what is really important in our lives and how we must be focused on serving Jesus.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith-and he did it right

    "Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith-and he did it right in front of the congregation of his mega church. Now the elders want him to take some time away. Far away. So Chase crosses the Atlantic to Italy to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, where he encounters the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscover his ancient faith." (back cover)


    Pastor Chase is a man on a spiritual mission. The life and church he created is no longer working for either Chase or the young people who need more than a "McDonaldized Jesus" and the empty promise of "...a more victorious spiritual life in three easy steps."




    "So where is God?" becomes the question that needs more than a scripted answer...something more than an appealing and easily digested "...brand of religion...." When nine year old Iris dies Chase's carefully constructed faith is no longer logical or straightforward.


    Chase Falson's story reads more like a memoir than a novel and is sure to inspire any reader who seeks to find their own story beyond the labels. The second part of Chasing Francis offers seekers a wonderful guided pilgrimage based on the voluntary life of St. Francis of Assisi. (Note: the collected bibliography is truly a treasure for those readers who want to continue the journey.)


    Bestselling author Ian Morgan Cron masterfully weaves lessons from the life of Saint Francis into the story of Chase Falson to explore the life of a saint who 800 years ago breathed new life into disillusioned Christians and a Church on the brink of collapse. Chasing Francis is a hopeful and moving story with profound implications for those who yearn for a more vital relationship with God and the world. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review purposes ... the words are my own. Today I rarely give 5-Stars, Chasing Francis is an exceptional book.

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  • Posted July 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron . After a tragic accident


    Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron


    .
    After a tragic accident, Pastor Chase Falson has "lost his faith", & it was in front of his congregation to top it all off. After a meeting with the deacons it was decided Chase needed a break. So off to Italy he goes to see his Uncle Kenny. Along the way he meets Friars who would knock your socks off with laughter & he finds deep friendships he didn't realize he had. Through this whole journey he learns about St. Francis of Assisi & helps him understand the deep root of True Faith.

    This book was amazing! I would recommend it to anyone who has at anytime questioned God & their faith. It's so good & so full of history that it sometimes feels as if your reading a memoir. I am so glad that I read this book & if you get it, you will be too!


    *I recieved this book free from Booksneeze as a part of their Blogger Program

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  • Posted June 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Chasing Francis is a powerful, motivational book that will make

    Chasing Francis is a powerful, motivational book that will make you think.
    Chasing Francis is the fictional account of a wildly popular pastor of an evangelical mega church who one day lost his lid.  He awoke one day to find that his religion seemed to be less than the “real thing.”    He felt like his faith was quite suddenly shallow and lacking a solid foundation.  This surprised him, left him perplexed.
    “I’d considered myself one of the privileged few the heavens had endowed with a perfectly true compass…… one day I would see the boxes neatly checked off next to each of my life goals.  I liked myself a lot.”
     His pat answers no longer satisfied.
    “Now I’m the one who’s thirsty….. and the Jesus I’ve known for 20 years isn’t making it go away.”
    This Pastor took a sabbatical and visited his uncle, a Franciscan Monk in Italy.  This led him on a pilgrimage through Italy, chasing St. Francis of Assisi, eager to learn everything he could about St. Francis.  And he shares it all with us.  It's amazing.
    What’s ironic is that this is exactly how I was feeling when I agreed to review this book.  And I think a lot of evangelicals are beginning to feel this as well and that, my friend, is called “Post-Evangelicalism.”  The previously unnamed cry of my heart I will now call Post Evangelicalism.


    I finished this book at the top of a mountain, 3800 feet above sea level, and thought it was going to change my life entirely. 
    And it did.
    Until I descended the mountain. 
    Real life infringed and stuffed me back in my little box.  But I think I will break out and let this book transform my life for real.  

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  • Posted May 12, 2013

    First I'd like to thank the publisher and BookSneeze for allowin

    First I'd like to thank the publisher and BookSneeze for allowing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    I give out 5 star reviews very rarely....meaning, about 1-2% of the books I read, are truly what I consider worthy of 5 stars. It has to change my life in some way, and this book did exactly that. It was such an interesting look into St Francis of Assisi's life, and such a modern story that it was hard not to get caught up in it.

    Ever since I started reading this book, it was as if Francis was trying to reach out to me through this book. Every where I turned, there was a statue of him, a church of him, a book of him, a quote about him....things that I had never seen before or experienced before were suddenly popping up. As a child growing up, I picked St Francis as my patron saint in confirmation (much to the consternation of the Catholic teachers that believed a girl should pick a girl saint, not a boy saint!). This book showed me how wonderful and apropos of a choice he really was.

    Because of this book, I'm definitely hunting down more books on him.

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  • Posted May 2, 2013

    The church Chase Falson founded now has 3,000 members and Chase

    The church Chase Falson founded now has 3,000 members and Chase is about burnt out. He isn’t even sure what he believes anymore. After a meltdown during his last sermon the elders insist he take time off to recover. Meanwhile, his assistant appears eager for the head pastor role.
    Chase flies to Italy to spend time with his Uncle Kenny, a monk in the Franciscan orders near Florence. Kenny arranges a pilgrimage for Chase, to follow the path of 13th century Francis of Assisi.
    Chase learns astonishing things that help him see similarities between many present day churches and the church of Francis’ time. Francis quietly but insistently returned the church of his age to truth and wholeness.
    Chase knows Francis’ methods are needed for our day. He realizes where he’d erred in his own theology and preaching. During Chase’s journey he meets several interesting people and receives a cool surprise that will clue readers to this sincere, tired pastor’s possible future.
    The combination of a novel about struggling Christians and facts from the life of a 13th century monk create a most interesting book. What the story teaches readers can be exciting for our own lives and worship.
    To keep the novel from ‘lecturing’ the author includes a section at the end of the book with questions and more information about Francis’ teachings.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    One of my favorite books

    Story driven biography of St. Francis. Check it out. One of my favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Awesome

    Great book! Very thought provoking.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Chasing Francis

    This is one of the first genuinely good books I've read in a long time that adequately meshes good storytelling with sincere Christianity. The protagonist is a pastor of an evangelical mega-church; his name is Chase. One day, when faced with an already deteriorating faith that is given the big kick with the death of a beloved child, Chase tells his entire congregation that his faith is no more. When confronted by his church elders, he is told to take some time off. Emotionally spent, Chase travels to Italy to visit his uncle Kenny who is a Franciscan priest. Through a long pilgrimage that continues even after Chase leaves, Chase comes to know what St. Francis was really like, what he did, and what he taught. Kenny and his other Catholic priests / monks take Chase around to view places of historical importance in the church and even allowed Chase to see poverty firsthand and let him help. Chase even learns what it means to be a true follower of Christ, not just a so-called Christian. Of course, at the end, Chase regains his faith. However predictable this ending may be, the passage to get there is heartfelt and real. The pages keep turning as readers see themselves in various parts of the story. As a Catholic, I like how bits of Catholicism from the liturgy to cathedral to transubstantiation are introduced in a positive way without being overbearing. Chase doesn't convert to Catholicism in the end, but he does grow closer to God through various Catholic venues. He even prays to St. Francis after a while. At the end of the book, there is a lengthily study that includes excerpts followed by questions with space to fill in answers. Christians of all types can learn more about God, worship, and themselves with this book. Best of all, due to the construction of the book, they will most likely want to live out what they learned.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Chasing Francis Part 1 of my review

    A more accurate title for Ian Morgan Cron's book, Chasing Francis- A pilgrim's Tale, would have been: "My Coversion to Roman Catholicism from Evangalism". Cron's work is a fictional novel which tells the story of a dissapointed, dissolusioned, young evangelical pastor, who has a spiritual break-down following the unexpected death of a child in his parish. Unable to find solace within God's word, the hero, the young pastor named Chase, seeks to find "another Jesus", whereas on page 37 he states: "I'm sure there's another Jesus I haven't met yet. How on earth do I find him?". Yet, this is in direct opposition to Paul's warnings in his letters of the new testament of the bible, when he explains that some followers will abandon their faith and the truth that they learned for a false gospel or a false depiction of Christ. Also Jesus tells the parable of the seed, how it fails to grow when it becomes entangled with thorns- a metaphor for those whose weak faith is broken in the face of hardship. The response of this Pastor to tragedy is disheartening and discouraging for anyone who has faced personal tradgedy yet found solace in God. The best answer to Chase's statement should be obvious- Would not one's journey to find Jesus begin with the word of God in the bible? Is it required that one just leave his home and go on an expensive, nostalgic siteseeing trip to get away from the pain of life? Regrettably, this is not an option for most people. The erroneous assumption is that the bible would not help in the pursuit to find Jesus or solace.

    Chase openly declares on page 43: "I want to find a new church and a new way to follow Jesus". The books is subtle and cleverly written that it could turn any unsuspecting reader into a Roman Catholic, endearing almost anyone into believing in the legitimacy of the intercession of the Saints, the priesthood, the mystical visions/ appirations of Mary, the authority of the pope and transubstantiation. Key Catholic terms (on page 33), such as the Eucharist and the intercession of the Saints are repackaged and redefined in order to make the concepts more palitable to those with bible based faith. Rituals, Catholic traditions such as the mass, infant baptism, and mystisism are systematically justified without explanation of what these concepts really mean. Perhaps this book is an attempt at the ecumenical movement, in which theological and doctrinal differences are overlooked and undermined. The conflicts of Roman Catholic tradition with the bible are not addressed and are basically ignored. In direct opposition to gospel message of the bible, the reader is left with the feeling that all paths of worship are acceptable and that there is not one single truth. (Page 55).

    For more see http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2010/09/chasing-francis-by-ian-morgan-cron.html since my review didnt fit here

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