St. Francis and the Christian Life

A Disorderly Parable of the Epistle to the Galatians

Christian - Devotion/Study
196 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2020
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Author Biography

With two degrees from Georgia Tech, Dr. April Love-Fordham spent twenty very fun years in the corporate world, including several in Washington DC as a technology adviser to both the George H. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations where her resume once claimed that she helped Al Gore invent the internet.

During these years, her clients included NASA, NATO, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Leaving Washington, DC and returning to her home in Atlanta, she rose to the executive suite where her teams were awarded the internet product of the year award two years in a row for the first internet based e-mail system. It was then that she got the idea in her head that she ought to be doing more to make the world a better place. So she left the corporate world and went to seminary to search for answers and become a pastor.

Today she wakes up every morning and asks the Spirit what love mischief they will accomplish together that day. She finds joy in working for peace and social justice, caring for the poor and the oppressed, embracing human diversity and equality, questioning religious tradition and culture (including and especially Christianity), and living as a good steward of the earth.

Her first collection of books is a series of Disorderly Parable Bible Studies. They include James in the Suburbs on the Epistle of James (2014), Dismantling Injustice on the Song of Solomon (2016), and St. Francis and the Christian Life on Galatians (2018).

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

If you’ve ever asked yourself how best to lead a Christian life, you may find that St. Francis and the Christian Life: A Disorderly Parable of the Epistle to the Galatians by April Love-Fordham is for you. Author Jon M. Sweeney notes in a foreword that, “(Love-Fordham) does here what we desperately need spiritual books to do: she prompts questions in us.” If you’re studying the missions of St. Francis and St. Paul, you’ll find this an interesting comparison on how they approached the establishment of religious communities in their respective times. If you’re looking for an engaging and thought-provoking subject for group or personal study, you’ll find this to be an utterly approachable and readable presentation that includes lesson plans, suggested spiritual practices, illustrations, and a bibliography.

I enjoyed St. Francis and the Christian Life. For all that it’s a non-fiction work on a serious question (“how are we to live the Christian Life?”), it reads with the easiness of an adventure novel set in the Italian countryside and laced with history, mystery, and suspense rather than as a purely academic treatment. The result is enjoyable. Love-Fordham crosses three timelines—the Early Church, the Middle Ages, and the modern world—as she and her husband end a hiking pilgrimage on the Camino di Assissi with a month’s stop at an agriturismo a day from Assisi. While there, April Love-Fordham works on a lesson regarding St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and draws comparisons between the two saints. The descriptions of the Italian countryside, the religious sites, and the people that she encounters, including the mysterious Brother Giovanni, add color and interest to the historical and religious themes.