We are joining Chase Falson again this week in his pilgrimage as we read Chapters 4-6 of Chasing Francis. Here we travel along with Chase and his uncle to the town of Asissi and meet three friars who become an important part of Chase’s journey. Each of these men impart wisdom and experience to Chase, and we also get to learn more about the life of Saint Francis.
In Chapter 5, these men all go on a picnic before Chase has an opportunity to spend the night in a cave the way that Francis did. The discussion centers around the way that Francis connected with God through nature, the way he cared for animals and plants- not worshipping the creation itself but rather the Creator through His creation.
Many people have a story of meeting God in special ways through nature, and it is often where they go to spend time with Him. I’m generally not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the outdoors and long walks make excellent prayer times. But I often wondered why I didn’t seem to have the same experiences that others did connecting with God through nature.
A couple of years ago I went through a leadership training course and we took a survey from the book What’s Your God Language? Connecting with God Through Your Unique Spiritual Temperament by Dr. Myra Perrine. In the book, Perrine discusses nine ways we relate to God uniquely as we connect with Him, love Him and know Him.
Just to give you quick run-down, the nine temperaments she lists are: the Activist (loving God through confrontation with evil), the Ascetic (loving God through solitude and simplicity), the Caregiver (loving God through serving others), the Contemplative (loving God through adoration), the Enthusiast (loving God through mystery and celebration), the Intellectual (loving God through the mind), the Naturalist (loving God through experiencing Him outdoors), the Sensate (loving God through the senses), and the Traditionalist (loving God through ritual and symbol).
When we took the test for the training, we received back a list of the temperaments in order of how they most applied, so it wasn’t that we had to just choose one. We relate to God through a variety different ways, but perhaps one is stronger for each of us because of the unique way that God has created us.
My top temperament is Sensate- relating to God through the senses. When I first saw this result I was a bit confused. I don’t come from a background where senses are used in services. We don’t light candles or use incense, touch beads or take Communion every Sunday.
But then I got to thinking about some of those spiritually impactful moments, those times when God moved so strongly in my heart. I thought of a small cathedral next to the Pantheon in Rome, the beauty of singing “How Great Thou Art” in three different languages in a tiny tin-roof church in Ecuador, or the way I was moved by the unique granduer of the architecture in Prague. I thought of watching a teammate share her love of dance while we worshipped as an organization, how when I get the unique opportunity to hear bells before church, this stirs my heart to worship.
I don’t know if Francis would have had the spiritual temperament of Naturalist, or what Chase’s might be. After Chase’s experience in church, Peter told him that “God snuck up on you through architecture” and He often does the same for me.
Were there other ways you saw the characters in our story so far connecting with God? What do you think about the idea of a “God language”, a unique way you know and love God? What else has stuck out to you in this section?
Just because, here are a couple of my favorite quotes from this section. I love the friars and their words of wisdom.
Thomas: “Tell your story with all of its shadows and fog, so people can understand their own. They want a leader who’s authentic, someone trying to figure out how to follow the Lord Jesus in the joy and wreckage of life. They need you, not Moses”.
Thomas again: “Sometime prayers are wet”.
Do you have a favorite friar quote so far?
Join us for the rest of Chasing Francis! Here’s the schedule:
January 21: Chapters 7-9
January 28: Chapters 10-12, Epilogue
What’s Coming Up:
In February we’ll be reading Rachel Pieh Jones’ book Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa! Grab your copy today.