271: Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

by Gerard


271.02: Cron, Ian Morgan. Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013. 212 pp. ISBN 978-0-3103-3669-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 270: History of Christianity
  • 271: Religious congregations and orders in church history
  • 271.02: Eremitical religious orders

Chase Falson is a man struggling with his faith. The church he has spent years building in New England is doing well, but he can no longer muster up the same cookie-cutter sermons Sunday after Sunday. And then, when the only daughter of a reformed drug-addict dies in an innocuous bike accident, he loses his cool in front of his followers. He decides to find a new faith, a new way to Jesus and to Christianity. Ian Morgan Cron’s Chasing Francis follows his path.

The first thing you have to know about this is that it is an extended parable. None of the characters are real, but they serve as vehicles for the exploration of the history of the life and church of St. Francis of Assisi. Chase travels to Italy at the request of his Uncle Kenny’s request, a friar with an order of Franciscans near Rome. Once there, he meets the rest of the order and becomes inundated with Franciscan history and tradition. While he is reticent at first, he eventually becomes enamored with the locale and the liturgy.

Cron’s tale is, I think, a very interesting way to teach the life of St. Francis. His brand of religion was truly one of radical Christianity and simple deeds of charity. Falson’s realizations along the way are further highlighted by dips into Italian scenery and church history. Cron does a very good job of keeping the tale balanced but still informative. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a different brand of Christianity or trying to get cursory information on St. Francis himself.