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Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,250 ratings  ·  371 reviews
Musician and first-time author Ian Cron sheds new light on St. Francis of Assisi, the "Living Candle." Cron masterfully weaves actual accounts of Saint Francis's radical impact on the world i
Paperback, 252 pages
Published June 22nd 2006 by NavPress
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,250 ratings  ·  371 reviews

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Mariah Roze
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Chase Falson has lost his faith so he crosses the Atlantic to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, where he encounters the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscovers his ancient faith. Follow Chase's spiritual journey in the footsteps of Francis, and then begin one of your own through the pilgrim's guide included in this book."

I read this book for my hometown book club. At first I was very skeptical of it because of the huge religious storyline to the book. BUT this book turned out to be r
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
The Pop-Christian book market is dominated by Evangelicals, so it was interesting to read a book by a mainline priest that follows the formula but contributes an entirely different slant. Instead of a book with an incidental plot that is really just a glorified evangelical street tract, this is a book with an interesting plot that descends into a glorified mainline social gospel essay (since there's no such thing as a tract in liberal circles...).

This is not a bad book. The central idea of a pas
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
I found myself relating to what the character, Chase, was experiencing and going through but I never quite felt like I was emotionally invested. I found the story to be a bit predictable, a little cheesy, and felt like I would rather have just read something by St. Francis than a non-fiction story about some of his theology. I think the thing is that I have already been through much of what the character was facing. It wasn't new to me or eye opening and so it didn't hit me in a way that really ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I read this book during Lent in 2017 at a close friend's recommendation when I was still a Christian. I have a lot to say about Chasing Francis, very of little of which pertains to its actual contents - more than anything, I want to call up Ian Morgan Cron and lay my full set of questions and a few accusations on him. On the one hand, I am appreciative of the vulnerability and humility with which Cron tells his story and the flashes of real insight and humor that color his prose that, unlike a l ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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 wa
David A.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
At the end of 2011 I was invited to write a brief review for a best-of list. The book was Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, a memoir by Ian Morgan Cron about growing up in a car wash. Just kidding. The title was as accurate to the content as it was creatively uncreative, and the book was absorbing. I wrote an effusive review of the book and resolved that I would eventually, finally, read his first book, Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale.

Then I forgot about it for a while.

Then I had the chance
Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron
published by Zondervan and released May 7.13

Ian Cron introduces us to Francis of Assissi via his impact on a contemporary pastor, Chase Falson, who hits the wall in his faith journey after the death of one of his parish children. Taking a much needed break to restore, refresh and rediscover faith, he travels to Italy to spend time with his uncle, a Fransiscan priest.

While he's on this spiritual journey, the youth pastor back home is on a campa
“First, if Francis were around today, he'd say our church community relies too much on words to tell others about our faith. For Francis, the gathered community was as potent a form of witness as words. He was convinced that how we live together is what attracts people to faith.”

I read this book quickly because it was the right book at the right time. I needed something about faith, love and hope and so I fell into this and didn’t come up for air until I was finished. At the time, this was a goo
Lisa Stegall-dokoozlian
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Slow start but gems hidden in and about if you stay with it! Real gems!
Glen Grunau
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
My wife Karen picked this book up at our local Salvation Army thrift shop and suggested that we read it together during our recent vacation. We did a lot of driving on this vacation and so we would often read it aloud in the car, with Karen doing most of the reading. The author writes as a fictitious lead pastor in a mainstream evangelical church in Connecticut. In the midst of a "successful" ministry in which he had founded a growing church, he began to experience a personal awakening that bega ...more
Katherine Jones
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
One important things to know about Chasing Francis is that it is what Cron calls wisdom literature: “a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.”

Chasing Francis is an appeal more to the mind and soul than to the heart. The story didn’t engage my emotions in a very satisfying way–which is why it was important to understand that what I was reading was not meant to (as opposed to true, straight fiction, which is meant to do just that). Knowing this helped to alleviate dis
Laverne Ombadykow
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Although this book is a novel, I kept wondering how much is somewhat autobiographical because the author is(was) the pastor of a church in Connecticut. When I went on the church website it shows another person as being senior pastor and he is not listed among the staff. So, being curious, I googled him and found that he is a doctoral student, studying Thomas Merton.

Well, anyway, I do agree that we should be "the body" of Christ and therefore, be His hands and feet when it comes to helping the p
Melissa Lindsey
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved the idea behind this book, as well as the insights about St. Francis. I felt less lonely when I read this book and more connected to those who are disillusioned with the religion of their youth. This is a book best read slowly (which I did not) and perhaps in a setting where it could be discussed with others. I'd like to read more about St. Francis as it seems he and I may have been kindred spirits, at least at some time in my life. I may be a bit to cynical these days.

What I didn't like
Debbie Howell
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who want to tie missional church to its historical roots.
This is an introduction to the theology of Francis of Assisi in novelized form. It didn't quite win me over, but I have to give the author credit for trying something different. As a novel, it had some flaws--kind of hokey, "happy-friends" character interactions, not much dramatic tension, forced-sounding dialogue. To get factual information across, the author used the device of journal entries by the main character. My personal preference would be to get factual info straight-up, but some peopl ...more
Taylor Cole
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Chasing Francis was a pretty big letdown. The majority of the "radical" ideas discussed throughout the book were concepts and practices that I've heard regularly discussed in evangelical Christianity; none of it seemed particularly new or transformative to me. The apparent doubts that Chase was experiencing couldn't have been too intense, as letting go of foundational beliefs (or leaving Christianity completely) was never an option presented in the story. And can we just talk about that church s ...more
The supposed tale of a pastor's search for Christianity, this introduces us to the history and significance of Francis of Assisi. In the hands of a more competent author, it might have worked. We have only Cron's word for this being "wisdom literature."

I'm not familiar with Connecticut evangelicals but those in Colorado, Kansas, and Virginia would have been less surprised than Putnam Hill's folks about the need to experience, not just know about, God. In fact, the whole Connecticut framing story
Adam Shields
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like the concept of this book, introduce a saint to modern Christians through story and not just biography. Saint Francis, was a transitional Christian and is very relevant to today's Christians, maybe especially to evangelicals.

The weakness is that it isn't great literature. At one point it talks about the purpose of great art to be the great art and not propaganda and occasionally this seems to dip to propaganda instead of focusing on the art.

The positive is that it does what I perceive as
Wayne Clarke
Good read - the journey of a burnt out "megachurch" pastor into a more contemplative spirituality. Well written and undemanding, yet thought-provoking. A bit didactic in places for me, but worth reading and helpful on my own spiritual journey.
Writing Christian fiction with a mission must be very hard because it is usually not done well. Ian Morgan Cron says that his book “is written in a genre called wisdom literature, which is a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.”

The fiction in his book is the story of Chase Falson, an evangelical Protestant minister of a large, successful New England Church, who begins questioning his Christian faith. His church elders request that he take a leave of absence so tha
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of Ian Morgan Cron. This easily read book about a man who loses his faith and journeys to Italy to find it again is refreshing. So much of what the main character, Chase, learned really hit me as relevant in the post-evangelical culture we are living in today. What a beautiful church we would have if more heeded the sage wisdom of St. Francis is Assisi. Lots to ponder after reading.
Stephen Case
I came to a realization reading Ian Cron’s work: Mystics are empiricists. They’re trying to meaningfully express experiences. I’ve always been a theorist. I try to fit my own experiences and those of others into pre-conceived patterns and structures. I had always imagined (without much thought) that this was the other way around. I imagined the mystics were the theorists and that my own thoughts were grounded more firmly in empirical evidence. Meeting and reading Cron made me realize that the tr ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
"Wisdom literature, which is a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching." I enjoyed this story in light of our own struggles in ministry. I'd be happy to go on a pilgrimage to Italy if someone wants to finance it for me! ;)
Jo Ann
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok

I read most of this in one sitting but found it hard to finish once I put the book down. The “Chasing Francis” theme was a little overused for me and also knowing about where the author currently is took some to the surprise out of the reading.
Jeanne Bushong
Very readable. I found the main character to be very engaging and open.
Tyler Collins
This is the reflection essay I wrote about "Chasing Francis" for my Christian Beliefs college class:

“In Italy, I found a mentor named Saint Francis of Assisi who taught me that the church of the future needs to listen to the church of the past” (191).

Reading the novel "Chasing Francis" by Ian Morgan Cron has been one of the most challenging and spiritually-transformative experiences of my life. A bit dramatic? I don’t think so. The book is centered around the story of Chase Falson, a man whose s
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderful novel that reads like a memoir. It is the story of Chase,a New England mega church pastor, who loses his faith when tragedy strikes his congregation. He heads on a pilgrim to Italy and walks in the steps of Francis of Assisi to try and find what it means to be a Christian.

I really, really enjoyed this book. Chase comes from the "modern" church - seeker friendly, prosperity gospel, internally serving. He steps over the line in looking into a Catholic saint's life. And whi
Liz Haswell
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: january-2015
This book introduced me to St. Francis and what's known or believed about an incredible historical and spiritual figure. The story of St. Francis' conversion (Chapter IV) and tales of his characteristic vulnerability (Chapter IV), environmentalism and love of animals (Chapter V), mysticism (Chapter VI), use of the arts in preaching (Chapter VII) egalitarianism (Chapter VIII), peacemaking (Chapter VIII), and incredible asceticism (Chapter X) is interwoven with the story of Chase Falson, an evange ...more
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book and read it very quickly with the idea of rereading it later and maybe using it as a selection for my book club. After finishing it, I don't know if I will reread it and although I won't select it for book club, I will tell my friends about it. It would be interesting to discuss it with others from various religious backgrounds. Having not grown up Catholic I knew almost nothing about St Francis of Assissi. Very interesting man.
However, it was pretty obvious relative
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a novel that would have worked better as non-fiction. The message of the book is good, and important for the American church to hear. St. Francis brought a lot of wisdom to the church that we could all benefit from applying to our lives. But the author's opinions and criticisms about the evangelical movement came through too harshly. The dialogue and narration was not believable and felt very clunky. Even the names he chose were disappointing; "Chase Falson" is the man on the pilgrimage. ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
3 stars for content, 2 for actual writing. This really surprised me, because I've heard so many good things about this book, and the idea really excited me! I know that I'm coming at it from a different perspective these days, so I want to give grace to people who would rate a 3-3.5 but any higher just confuses me.

Ian's a great storyteller! I just think he should stick to non-fiction. This reeked with clichés, choppy dialogue, and a few parts just made me cringe. I think that Ian has a flair fo
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Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, trained psychotherapist, Dove Award–winning songwriter, and Episcopal priest. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Ian draws on an array of disciplines—from psychology to the arts, Christian spirituality and theology—to help people enter more dee ...more
“Beauty can break a heart and make it think about something more spiritual than the mindless routine we go through day after day to get by. Francis was a singer, a poet, an actor. He knew that the imagination was a stealth way into people's souls, a way to get all of us to think about God. For him, beauty was its own apologetic. That's why a church should care about the arts. They inspire all of us to think about the eternal.” 7 likes
“Francis taught me that if we spent less time worrying about how to share our faith with someone on an airplane and more time thinking about how to live radically generous lives, more people would start taking our message seriously.” 5 likes
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