I have to agree with Gordon MacDonald who wrote, “I’d like to be part of a church that this hero ends up proposing.” Chasing Francis is a historical novel that tells the story of a disenfranchised, evangelical minister who goes on a pilgrimage (sabbatical?) to rediscover his faith. He makes it very clear that he didn’t loose his love for Jesus but for Jesus’ church. Through traveling to Italy and following the journeys of and studying the life of Francis of Assisi, Chase (the main character) comes to a deeper understanding of what it means to truly follow Christ.
From a theological standpoint, I struggled with the emphasis on Francis instead of a focus on Christ, but I had to remind myself that the book is fiction and not necessarily what we would consider “Christian Living.” However, his final picture of the church he wants to lead is in line with Christ’s vision set out in the Gospels. There are some things I would add to his vision, but I believe the implication behind the story is not that the church needed so much to be only what was presented but needed to add to what it was already doing, while changing some things, to better realize Biblical Christianity.
Over all this book was worth reading and I’d love to participate in a discussion group of it. For the record, I was in tears at the end of it. It’s been a long time since I read a good piece of fiction (literally, probably over 10 years), and this was a great re-introduction to the genre. Overall, I’ll give it 4/5 stars.
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.”