Two Franciscan brothers, Richard Goodin and Joshua van Clees, from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago visited the Goshen College campus last Friday to inform students about their more than 300-mile trek from Roanoke, Va. to Washington D.C. These two men, as well as four other brothers from the Catholic Theological Union, decided to search for God in an untypical way and set out on their journey without money or food – wearing just the clothes they had on their backs.
Goodin explained the true challenge for this journey.
“We’re men," he said. "It’s not easy for us to not have directions. This meant that we had to let go of control and just accept the fact that we needed God and other people.”
The group spent every day asking for directions, hoping someone would give them some food and hoping to find some place better to sleep than on a large trampoline behind a fire station.
Throughout their journey the men met everyday people. They accepted a car ride from a Jewish man, slept in a basement next to a Buddha and even spent the night with a man called "Healing Bear" who typically plunged people into a waterfall in order to cleanse them from disease.
Through all of these crazy-sounding adventures these Franciscan brothers came to one main conclusion.
“Accept whatever," said Goodin. "We cannot tell God what to give us; we just have to accept what he gives us.”
The brothers claim that it would have been easy to deny help from some of the scarier looking people they met, or to deny help from those who did not have the same religious background as them.
However, they claim that God’s journey for people may not be what we expect, and so we must simply accept what God brings to the table. So, if help comes along in the form of a fly fisherman, a group of nuns, a Hindu woman or even in the form of a gangly looking man who claims to heal people – we cannot deny God’s help, we must simply accept his plan.
Goodin and van Clees had much more to say about this subject, and through their modern quest for God they were able to accept that all people are inherently good, and as Christians on life’s journey, people must accept God’s goodness through others. If you are interested in hearing more about Goodin and van Clees' story be sure to look for a podcast on the Goshen College Web site.