Opening in theaters nationwide this weekend is a feature documentary about a man who has carried a twelve-foot wooden cross for nearly 40 years across 315 nations, territories and islands across the world.
Produced by Gener8Xion Entertainment, "The Cross" tells the story of Arthur Blessitt, who 39 years ago felt called by God to carry the 45-lb. cross that hung in his Christian coffee house on foot across the country.
"All too often religion has caused the cross to become a symbol of conflict around the world," says Blessitt, now 68, "but it's part of my life's mission – and hopefully the mission of this film – to reinterpret the meaning of the cross for people so they can see that the cross is not something that's against them, but the ultimate symbol that says God loves you no matter what."
Since setting off in December 1969, Blessitt has crossed through 52 war zones, met and visited with both presidents and peasants, been greeted by hundreds of thousands in packed town squares, and spent countless months walking alone down deserted highways. He's survived wars, firing squads, beatings, and deadly jungles.
The more than 38,000 miles that he's walked so far is equal to circling the earth one-and-a-half times.
"Even if you're someone who couldn't care less about church, religion, Christianity, or whatever, here's a guy who's just full-on gone for it," exclaims "The Cross" co-producer Stephan Blinn. "He's been through some of the most mind-blowing stuff, and no matter who you are you're just sitting there in awe going, 'No freakin' way did he just say that!"
"The Cross" director Matthew Crouch, meanwhile, says he was intrigued from the beginning by Blessitt's unique trek.
"I always find myself inspired by people driven to lead extreme lives – whether they're climbing Everest, investing all they have into the world's next great company, or giving it all away to care for destitute orphans in India," says Crouch. "Arthur is just such a person."
In addition to the March 27th release of "The Cross," Arthur Blessitt's book of his experiences, also entitled The Cross, has been published by Authentic Publishing, a division of IBS-STL Global and Zondervan. The book was released on Jan. 12.