When Carl James Joseph left Toledo in 1991, he left on foot â€” barefoot, in fact â€” wearing a robe and carrying only a Bible, a rosary, and a toothbrush.
The long-haired, soft-spoken evangelist â€” who calls himself â€œWhatâ€™s Your Name?â€ but is usually referred to as â€œThe Jesus Guyâ€ â€” has since walked his way through 47 states and 13 foreign countries.
â€œIâ€™m just a traveling preacher,â€ Mr. Joseph told The Blade in a recent interview.
In 2000, the Bowsher High School graduate was quietly making his way across western Pennsylvania when the worldâ€™s media suddenly discovered this countercultural evangelist who seemed to have stepped out of the pages of the Bible.
Mr. Joseph soon found himself featured in Time magazine and on Good Morning America, 20/20, British television, the Washington Post, and a three-part series in The Blade.
â€œIt got very intense. It was a pretty major story all over the country and internationally as well,â€ he said. â€œI somewhat ran away from it.â€
He headed south, he said, where the media were not so intrusive and people seemed more accepting of his unorthodox appearance and his Gospel message.
â€œThe South is a whole different world,â€ he said.
In the winter, he wears a warmer robe but still goes barefoot.