After Jesus, The Best Christian Ever?

Ian Morgan Cron says St Francis. What say you?

Who, in your estimation wins the all-time, “most incredible Christian in history” prize?

Call me crazy, but I vote for the guy who holds birdbaths up in people’s gardens—St Francis of Assisi.

I knew zero about St Francis until I went through a spiritual crisis a few years ago. I was burnt out on ministry, disillusioned with church, fed up with evangelical subculture, and tired of not being able to voice my spiritual doubts and questions without being labeled a ‘backslider.’

At the height of my faith meltdown a friend invited me to visit him at his home in Bermuda to pray about whether to remain in ministry or not. While packing I saw an unread copy of G.K. Chesterton’s St Francis of Assisi on my bookshelf, and without thinking I threw it in my bag.

Cron focuses on five features:

Extravagant love for the poor, peacemaking, love for creation, contemplative spirituality, and rebuild my church.

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  • Dianne P

    St. Gregory of Nyssa. Also a great lover of the poor, a harsh critic of an entitled clergy, a mystic (Life of Moses), and theologian (the trinity). Together with the other Cappadocians, they laid down great and wide roads for the future travels of Christianity.

    And for RJS, there’s also some commentary that indicates he was an early proponent of TE.

  • fb

    Was Jesus really a Christian?

    But besides that nit, this is a funny question. The ‘best’ Christian could well be someone that none of us have ever heard of, as I’m guessing that they aren’t promoting themselves. That said, I’ll go with John Wesley — not a perfect disciple, but I’d feel blessed to be half as good. George Whitefield works for me as well.

  • Jeff Weddle

    I’ve read a number of biographies on Francis and I’ll just say–I don’t get it. Francis was a dropout who turned into a fruitcake and turned it into a living. Perhaps I’m all wrong, but I don’t get it.

    As to ranking Christians, that seems a pointless endeavor and one that contradicts the main tenant of Christianity–not I but Christ.

  • Brian Metzger

    You ARE all wrong. But Francis would very likely agree with you.

  • Brad Kittle

    Was that it? This ended quite abruptly.

  • dholt

    My Grandmother. Not kidding. As a boy I was involved in a terrible car accident that sent us shooting off a highway overpass and then tumbling violently down a 300 foot embankment. My grandfather, dad and brother were in the wreck also. We all survived with varying levels of injury, but my granddad was the worst and he died about an hour later. He had been thrown from the car and then it flipped on top of him and left the impression of his body in the soft ground. My dad called his mom to tell her about it shortly after and to tell her to come quick if she had any hope of seeing him alive one last time. She was about 200 miles away and got a guy who was a crop duster in her church to fly her to the little town we were in. She didn’t make it in time and my dad thought it best to meet her at the little airport and tell her. The local episcopal priest drove us there just as she was landing. I am sure she was shaken beyond comprehension, knowing what it meant to see us waiting and coupled with the fact that she had never flown before. When we had crossed the runway and met her my dad tried to tell her, but she interrupted him as she held his arms and said, “Leonard, if we live, we live to the Lord, or if we die, we die to the Lord. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” Even as an 11 year old boy I knew that dwelling in her was a a faith and a hope I could only ever dream about. 30 years later it still brings a quickening to remember it. She died a little over a year ago and her life was nothing more than this testimony of a sure and steadfast God who loved without fail everyday. Paul says something to the effect of follow me as I follow Christ. I insert her name for his everytime I think of it.