Chase Falson is the founding pastor of the largest contemporary evangelical church in New England. After graduating from seminary, he headed east to start a church in Thackeray, Connecticut. Everyone thought he was crazy - New England is commonly called "the graveyard of preachers". He not only founded a new church, but saw it grow to a weekly attendance of over three thousand worshipers.
Things were going great - right. Not so, Chase had become disillusioned. He is reaching a spiritual crisis in his faith and asking the question - there must be something beyond the evangelicalism island he lived in. To top things off, behind his back his student ministries' pastor is aiming for his job.
Things come to a head one Sunday morning when he goes completely off script and loses it. He tells the whole congregation he has lost his faith and there must be a better way to serve God than the way the church is going. As a result, the Elders suggest he take some time off to get himself together. He is not allowed to speak with any of the members or his staff.
The question - now what is he to do? After three days of not leaving his condo, the idea comes to him to call his Uncle Kenny. Kenny not only had left the Conservative Baptist fold and became a Catholic but a Franciscan priest, living in Florence, Italy. Kenny suggested he come to Italy for a visit.
This is where the story becomes intriguing. Kenny is taking Chase on a pilgrimage through the teaching of . Leaving Florence, they journey to Assisi where they meet up with Kenny's three friends who are Franciscan priests - Brothers Bernard, Peter and Thomas. (Brother Bernard reminded me of Hagrid in Harry Potter movies.) They are delighted to meet Chase and enthusiastically join in the pilgrimage. Their first stop is the Chapel of San Damino. This is the chapel where Francis heard Jesus speak from the cross. He told Francis to repair his church. Francis, a man of noble birth and wealth, left his family and his privileged life to live in poverty, and to do what Jesus had asked of him. With the help of the brothers, books, articles and places, Chase starts his spiritual journey in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi who was the first post modern .
As you read the book, you find yourself going step by step with Chase as he experiences the teaching of Francis. Will Chase convert to the Catholic religion? What will happen to his church when he returns? Will he change the church's beliefs or be out of a job?
I found the book hard to put down, I could hardly turn the pages fast enough . The story held my interest and kept me enthralled and (I hope) brought me closer to God. I can't recommend this book too highly. Everyone should take this pilgrimage with Chase and Francis.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.