Life Lessons from St. Francis: An Interview with Ian Cron

What in the world do you and I have to learn from a 13th-century Italian saint? Quite a lot, actually. Though he lived an austere life hundreds of years ago, Francis of Assisi still has a profound impact on the world today.

St. Francis
Photo Credit: Slices of Light via Compfight cc

In a recent interview, Ian Cron and I discuss these things, his recently rereleased novel Chasing Francis, and why stories are powerful tools in changing lives — especially our own.

We talk about faith, storytelling, and what it takes to make your life to really matter.

I hope you enjoy it.

Listen to the interview

[audio:https://traffic.libsyn.com/jeffgoins/Ian_Cron.mp3]

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About Ian

Ian Morgan Cron is an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, psychotherapist, and retreat guide. He is one of my favorite contemporary writers and was kind enough to endorse two of my books (Wrecked and The In-Between).

Ian Cron

Ian is a thoughtful, contemplative soul with an affinity for art and beauty. In addition to authoring Chasing Francis, he has written a spiritual memoir called, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, which was chosen as a featured title in the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” program.

He’s also one of the smartest guys I know.

When he’s not speaking at events or leading retreats, Ian divides his time between living in Tennessee and Vermont with his wife and three children.

If you’re not following him, you really should be.

Interview highlights

In this interview, Ian and I discuss:

  • How we lose faith as we grow up and what we must do to reclaim it
  • The story of Ian discovering St. Francis (and how it changed his life)
  • Why fiction is often better for telling the truth than nonfiction
  • How storytelling liberates the storyteller (as well as the audience)
  • Why total resolution rarely comes in most stories — and in most lives
  • And much more

After you listen to the interview, check out Chasing Francis and Chesterton’s St. Francis of Assisi (which inspired Ian’s book) on Amazon (affiliate links). Also, be sure to visit Ian on his blog.

What do you know about St. Francis? How does his example inspire you today? Share in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Life Lessons from St. Francis: An Interview with Ian Cron

  1. Am going to look into his books now. Although as a Christian, I was familiar with St. Francis, I was introduced to his thoughts more through a book by Richard Rohr. I discovered there was also much to learn. Thank you for this introduction.

      1. It was actually an audio book, one I checked out via the library on my Kindle: The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis. I’ve actually kept it on my bookmarked list– so much good stuff in there, I will need to listen to it again. I put Ian’s book on my to-buy list– thanks for highlighting him.

  2. Loved this interview, and I agree with Ian that learning about grace and other Christian virtues is sometimes accomplished better through fiction than non-fiction. I’m intensely interested in talking to him.

  3. Why we lose faith as we get older and storytelling liberates the teller are so true. Both are especially evident when people share their testimonies. You can almost see weights being lifted off of them when they share their story. Thanks Jeff!

  4. I’m sorry that this website has turned into another religious site. I’m not interested in a monk who founded an order responsible for the inquisition and persecution of Jews.

  5. Good interview. Minor note : Francis was a friar not a monk. Franciscans, Dominicans ,
    Trinitarians, etc. are Mendicant orders. Benedictines , Trappists , etc. are monastic orders. My dad was born on Oct. 4th, the feast day of Francis. As is the custom in the Catholic church, my brother and I took the confirmation name of Francis. I recommend reading the books of Ilia Delio,OSF especially Franciscan Prayer.

  6. Thanks for the interview Jeff.
    I so identify with Ian. Chasing Francis is an incredible read. I would put it as the best book I’ve read this year.
    In my crisis of faith, I was so locked in that I was compelled back into Buddhism, and Jesus found me again there. I also went into AA to regain my sanity. I was a religious alcoholic.
    I loved it where Ian says that there has already been an emerging church movement. It was with Francis.
    Great interview.

  7. I consider writing, story telling, and words are sacred, and very powerful.
    In general what I say here does not highly relate to Chasing Francis; it still relates to story telling. In my recent diary entry I wrote about the word.
    To start off with…, I consider writing to be very sacred. Words & Writing can be very powerful. It is not what you say, but how you say it. When I write into my diary ( I don’t mind)…, the fact that God is looking over my shoulder, to see what it is I’m writing into my diary. Words are very powerful.
    Wars have began when a word was said to start one, Engineers have moved mountains with the stroke of a pen in a contract. Sadness turned into laughter at what someone has said, and a life has been saved after a tragic accident.
    Words and Writing are sacred to me, and I believe there is nothing in the whole universe more powerful than the word and writing. I hold that knowledge in my heart everyday. I believe the bible (word of God) supports my thoughts and ideas on this. Here are some of the following scriptures I read, that supports my thoughts: >(John 1:1) In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. >(John 1:4) In Him was life, and the life was the light of man (mankind). >(John 4:24) God is spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and TRUTH.
    Also read: (John 14:16 to 17)….(John 14:10 to 11)….(Luke 24:39)
    (1st Cor 2:12)….(Heb 4:12)….(Rev 1:8)….and (Rev 19:13)
    So the word is God, and the word is in us who BELIEVE.
    They are just some of the reasons I believe the words, our words and writing is very sacred.

  8. Great interview, Jeff. Ian is one of my favorite authors and speakers. I had the privilege of meeting him this summer when he spoke at our church. Loved Chasing Francis. I always learn so much from him.

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