New life has been breathed into a book originally written more than 20 years ago. Despite the original 1992 publication date, the book contains information that some find more relevant today than ever before.
“Francis and the Foolishness of God,” co-written by Elkin Presbyterian Pastor Stuart Taylor, discusses the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and his impact on discipleship in the contemporary world. “Our global reality has changed so much from 1993 until now,” said Taylor, explaining why the book has been revised and re-released.
Taylor’s fascination with St. Francis has served as a beacon for Taylor’s faith since his completion of seminary at Princeton University. “Francis had a very unique vision,” Taylor said, explaining St. Francis’ view of God’s creation from an ecological perspective. “It was a touchstone for the global movement of reclaiming God’s creation.”
Like St. Francis, Taylor is a believer of protecting the environment and teaming up with local awareness groups such as Watershed NOW. “Climate change is a game changer to the whole planet,” said Taylor.
Taylor isn’t alone in his belief in ecological awareness as a part of the Christian stewardship. Just last week, Pope Francis announced his view on climate change by stating that “very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” and “things are now reaching a breaking point.” Pope Francis goes on to state that “We are not God,” and should not conduct ourselves by “usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot.”
St. Francis’ teachings are not only relevant to the current environmental discussions but also issues of religion. According to Taylor, St. Francis, who had travelled with the Christian Crusades, was able to cross over enemy lines and gain an audience with the Sultan. “They had conversations for over a week,” Taylor said, explaining the importance of St. Francis’ handling of Christian/Islamic relations compared to today.
The book begins with the conversion of Francis and takes readers through his life as he develops a theology based on loving with open hands, open dialogues and ecological responsibilities.
Taylor, along with co-authors Marie Dennis, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and Joseph Nangle, state in the introduction to the book that, “We believe that God is calling a new generation of Franciscans, one that transcends denominational lines in the church.”
By learning more about St. Francis, the authors’ “intent rests upon our belief that the community of believers is an essential part of Christian discipleship — and upon our own experiences, which have taught us that transformative learning happens best in the context of community.”
Authored by two men and two women, two Protestants and two Catholics, two ordained and two lay, the book states in the narrative that it carries a “hope that clarity may be given to the global crisis that demands a new response from the church.”
Since its previous release, the book has been revised and each chapter reviewed and modified to help prepare for the re-release.
On July 9, Taylor will speak about the history of the book and why it is important to release a new edition in honor of Pope Francis, as well as the importance of the Franciscan teachings for today’s complex dimensions of current global reality.
The event will take place at Brushy Mountain Winery from 5 to 7 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for sale at $22.
Karen Holbrook may be reached at 336-258-4059 or on Twitter @KarenHolbrook00.