McCormack uses the poppy, perky prose of secular magazines such as Seventeen and CosmoGirl! to tell the story of 19-year-old Becky Hicks, who literally followed her dream — she considered it a set of instructions from God — to spend a year lugging a cross on her back around 3/4 of America’s perimeter.
As journalism, there isn’t much here; but as an artifact of a worldview even most evangelical Christians would consider marginal, it’s fascinating. All the more so because Hicks undertook her journey with a handful of other teenagers and the staunch support of her parents and her church.
The trip took place some years ago, but The Revealer wonders what Hicks has accomplished since then. “I want to do crazy things for God,” she told McCormack. At the time of writing, she planned to “take” the inner cities with a walking campaign she compared to the book of Joshua. Of course, Joshua pretty much killed everyone in the cities he “took,” but we think we know what she means.
Age and teenybop passion aside, Hicks’ mission was not as unusual as it sounds. Long walks with heavy crosses are, in fact, a spiritual tradition. A more thoughtful article on the practice appeared in The Tablet, a British-Catholic journal, reprinted here on the website of a pilgrimage organization called Scottish Cross. Accounts of similar efforts may be found throughout the U.S. In the past, though, carrying the cross has been a ritual most popular among Catholics and Protestant preachers deemed “peculiar.” Does Hicks’ pilgrimage — and Brio’s endorsement — suggest that cross-carrying is moving into the mainstream?
Ask the fifth man down.
Or better yet, this guy.