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Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 311 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chase Falson is the founder and pastor of a successful megachurch in New England who faces a spiritual crisis. The certainties of faith and scripture are no longer so clear; his theological foundation has collapsed. When church elders insist that Chase take some time off, he heads to Italy, embarking on a spiritual odyssey that follows in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi before returning with a renewed and invigorated vision of Christianity and community. Cron’s blending of the fictional and historical allows him to offer a polite challenge to those elements within Christianity that peddle entertainment and attract those “disappointed that happiness hadn’t come as optional equipment in their Lexus SUVs.” As Francis demonstrated, Christians should be communities of peacemakers, stewards of creation, givers of hospitality, restorers of dignity, and seekers of the divine through beauty. Although clearly addressed to Christians, Cron’s story is a charming read for anyone interested in spiritual autobiography and the quest for meaning. --Christopher McConnell --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

“It seems the world never gets tired of writing about and falling in love with Francis of Assisi. Ian Cron does it again, but with real insight, imagination, and courage.” —Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M. author of The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See


Chasing Francis is absolutely seductive. This one is a feast for the soul as well as a great, churning, joyful romp for the spirit!” —Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why


Chasing Francis creates a unique and meaningful contribution to the emerging conversation about faith and life in today’s world.” —Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio; Unabridged edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598598856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598598858
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,610,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Chase Falcon, megachurch pastor, has lost his faith. When a young girl falls off her bike and never wakes up, Chase's answers suddenly seem hollow. His faith comes crashing to the ground at the worst possible time: in the middle of a sermon.

"I used to have all the answers, just opened the Bible and there they were. The truth is, they aren't all there - or if they are, I can't find them. I've tried to convince you that Christianity is logical and straightforward, as if God can be codified and stuffed into files he can't jump out of. Each time uncertainty knocked on the door, I hid behind the couch until it went away. Now I'm the one who's thirsty. And the Jesus I've known for twenty years isn't making it go away."

"And what about our church? I mean, is this all there is?..."

Understandably, few at the church know how to react to Chase's crisis. When the elders ask him to take a leave of absence, Chase goes on a surprising pilgrimage, chasing and learning from Francis, better known as Saint Francis of Assisi. Through this novel, Chase's pilgrimage also becomes our pilgrimage too.

Near the end of the book, Chase says, "When I left here, I wasn't sure what a Christian looked like anymore. My idea of what it meant to follow Jesus had run out of gas. I started feeling less like a pastor and more like a salesman of a consumerized Jesus I didn't believe in. Learning about Francis helped me fall in love with Jesus again - and with the church again, too."

I didn't think I could learn so much from a novel, but then again, I've never read a novel that has a study guide before. This book expresses some of what I have experienced, minus the exotic pilgrimage. I was genuinely sad when the book ended because I wanted more.
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Format: Paperback
In Chasing Francis, author, singer/songwriter and pastor Ian Morgan Cron shares his vision for the postmodern church through an engaging story about a pastor who finds his way forward as a follower of Christ and leader in the church by looking back at the life and beliefs of St. Francis of Assisi. Chase Falson is the founding pastor of a New England church who becomes disenchanted with many aspects of modern evangelicalism. The senseless death of a young girl in Chase's congregation and his inability to help the girl's mother make sense of it devastates him to the point that he questions his own faith in a sermon before his church. No surprise, church elders then ask Chase to take time off to figure out where he stands.

Seeking to figure it all out, Chase turns to his Uncle Kenny, a Franciscan priest living in Italy. Kenny invites Chase to join him for a time in Italy, which ends up being a pilgrimage for Chase to learn about St. Francis and what he believed the church and Christians should be. As Kenny and his fellow Franciscans take Chase to the places and recount the events that shaped Francis's life and beliefs, Cron paints a literary picture of what he believes the church should become. To try to summarize here the issues that Cron raises and thoughtfully addresses throughout the story and accompanying study guide in the appendix would not do them justice.

My advice: read the book. In fact, I would encourage everyone in the leadership of spiritual communities to read this book and meet with others to dialogue about the issues raised in it. Cron creatively and intelligently addresses issues that are essential to the church's future. Like Chase Falson, most churches are trying to find their way in a postmodern world.
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Format: Paperback
This is a winsome and helpful fictional exploration of an alternative to the non-denominational, generic evangelicalism of modern America. The entire novel could be said to be an extended narrative on how, by consideration of the example of Francis of Assisi, one Protestant minister in the throes of a crisis of faith comes to a better understanding of the basic Christian mandate that faith without works is dead. This work is a useful corrective to the notion that Christianity is solely an affair of the head, an intellectual parlor game for the comfort of the initiated right-believers. It is also a reminder to those who might be "light" on church history that the church had its saints well before the advent of Martin Luther and John Calvin.

The book is not without its flaws. On a literary note, there are a few cliches too many, not the least of which is the "fallen woman with a heart of gold" whose challenge to the protagonist about the problem of evil in the world seemingly precipitates the crisis that is the focus of the book, and whose devotion to the protagonist eventually enables him to courageously embrace a neo-Franciscan model of being the church for his own ministry. The author also betrays his own cultural captivity through recurring references to haute cuisine and (perhaps especially) through his choice of a trip to Italy as a curative for his theological malaise; it would have undoubtedly been cheaper (and more realistic) to check a copy of Dorothy Day's "A Long Loneliness" out of the local public library rather than swilling espresso with traveling priests and monks in the Italian countryside.

But the most significant limitation of the book (and the author's project) is its rosy exaltation of a version of Franciscan spirituality.
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