Friday, July 05, 2013

Book Review - Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

This book snuck up on me. I was surprised to discover it was a novel rather than a memoir, and the first few chapters were a little clunky. But I'm so glad I kept reading, because the story that unfolded was a real gem.

Chasing Francis is about a pastor who has lost his faith. He travels to Italy to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest, who suggests he study the teachings and life of Francis of Assisi.

The best part of this reading experience were the many lines that made me stop and underline them, put down the book, and think.  Like this:  "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you're doing the impossible" (a quote from St. Francis).  Or this: "The Bible isn't simply a book that tells us what to do; it's also a story that tells us who we are." And this series of thoughts as the pastor is trying to imagine what a church inspired by Francis might look like today:

"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....In a fallen world, beauty is a form of protest, a way to push back against the darkness.... We're all broken people who've lost our dignity, in one way or another....What if we all, as a church, decided to make one of our distinctives being restorers of people's dignity?"

Kind of a beautiful idea, right?

I learned so much about Saint Francis in this book, but it was woven into the narrative with skill.  An entertaining, inspiring, edifying read.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.


Randal said...

This is awesome!

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Edu Academic said...

Books are surely your best friend if they are good and give a message. You have done a review of a very interesting book which has urged me to read it. I will get my hands on this one soon. Thanks for sharing it!