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He is a Catholic pilgrim from Detroit, Michigan living without money. A man who has been depending on the generosity of others to support him since 1991. His name is Carl James Joseph. Joseph dresses in white robes and walks around barefoot carrying a woolen blanket and a bible. Joseph referees to himself as Jacob. He emphasizes to people he encounters that he is not Jesus and is not trying to portray Jesus.
Carl James Joseph was born in Detroit, Michigan. His family moved when he was young and Joseph grew up in Toledo, Ohio. At the age of 12, Joseph joined a local Catholic church with his older brother Vincent. The experience changed his life. Joseph has never studied the Bible in a formal setting. He has never attended seminary. Joseph has always been very dedicated to reading the scriptures. He has also been very serious about following the teachings of Christ.
The Jesus Guy Label
Others often refer to him as “The Jesus Guy.” It is a name given to him by those who believe he has a Jesus-like appearance. Joseph likes to live as he believes Jesus did over 2,000 years ago. Since his pilgrimage started, he has visited 48 states and more than 20 countries worldwide as a missionary. In the sacred city of Jerusalem, he is very well-known. This is where Joseph likes to spend most of his time exploring the paths taken by Jesus Christ.
Joseph tells everyone he meets that he is just a traveling preacher. He is open to whatever God may want from him. Joseph didn't intend to start living his current lifestyle. Once he realized it is what God was calling him to do, he dedicated his life to it. Joseph has given up having any earthly possessions. He simply wants to travel and share the Gospel in whatever way is possible. Joseph lives in total poverty and only has the simplest clothes. He makes it a point to have no material possessions.
There came a time when Joseph had the public eye focused on him. He felt things got rather intense when many people started to learn about his story. Joseph was featured in Time magazine as well as the Washington Post and other publications. He made an appearance on “Good Morning America,” “20 20,” and other television shows in the United States and Europe. Initially, he viewed this type of attention as a way to share the gospel. After becoming a major story all over the United States as well as internationally, Joseph tried to get away from all the attention it brought him.
The Jesus Guy Documentary
The idea of The Jesus Guy documentary was conceived by Sean Tracey who is the documentary's director. It covers the beginning of the pilgrimage by Joseph. This was a time he refused to share his name with anyone. He would only say to call him “What's your name?” The documentary covers three years of Joseph's travels across the mid-Atlantic portion of the United States. The documentary shows Joseph dealing with all types of weather and going from a variety of towns and cities. In some places, he experiences serious rejection. In other places, Joseph has inspirational acceptance. It shows many different random encounters with people as well as interviews with individuals who have encountered Joseph under good and bad circumstances.
Those who have a chance to meet Joseph believe he is real. He's a traveling preacher who has been going from place to place for decades with no shoes or backpack. Joseph spends much of his time praying and studying the scriptures. Many people believe he has spent his time paying his dues. Joseph has done more than many preachers. As he tries to walk in the path of Christ, Joseph has gone as long as 10 days without food. He has also gone alone into dangerous places at night seeking an opportunity to preach the gospel or help a person in need. Joseph often visits hospitals and will generally speak with anyone who wants to speak with him.
These days Carl James Joseph aka “The Jesus Guy” lives near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. He makes it a point to try to let people in different types of circumstances know he is available to them. Joseph is known for trying to help those in need in any way he can. There are people who speak with him who are curious, hurting, or looking for inspiration, and more. When asked about his chosen lifestyle, he tells people it is one thing to learn by reading, it is another to learn by experience.
© 2020 Readmikenow
Readmikenow (author) on August 23, 2020:
Flourish, thanks. I don't know for sure. I believe people probably help him. I'm sure since he travels as a missionary, these groups pay for him.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 22, 2020:
He looks clean, robust and well-fed. I wonder more about the practical side such as how he gets his white garments washed and who pays for him to fly between countries.
Readmikenow (author) on August 19, 2020:
Miebakagh, thanks for your comment.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 19, 2020:
I don't say history repeat itself. But if a person lives like Jesus, that is between him and God. Thanks.