My First San Diego… April 15, 2012


We live our lives peering into a mirror instead of occupying a small, glass box, viewed as an experiment by a great white Father, King of the Cosmos.

What we do matters. What we decide is our own and therefore generates our own conclusions. We are not searching for God‘s will for ou lives, but rather, pursuing a plan that helps us uncover the will of God. I learned this early.

Matter of fact, arriving in California yesterday, it brought back memories of the first time I made the  journey to the Golden State. I was thirty-four years old. Even though I had crisscrossed the country many times in my twenties, I had never actually made it all the way to California, only achieving Washington and Oregon–nearby touchstones.

It was a journey with my family in a green utility van that finally brought me to San Diego, California. We didn’t know anyone, so we set out to try to establish some contacts with churches that might be interested in having in some vagabond troubadours. We found such a place. Arrangements were made and we drove out into the countryside of San Diego County, arriving at the church about an hour ahead of time so we could set up and prepare.

Traveling with me were my three sons. One of them had been in a hit-and-run car accident four years previously and was incapacitated and needed to be carried from place to place. The other two boys were fourteen and nine years old, and had recently begun playing instruments, creating our family band. It was the 1980’s, and they were kids and wanted to dress like kids instead of Jesuit priests. So at first glance, they looked like adolescent version of the Bee Gees. I saw nothing wrong with it. They wore leather pants (which were really plastic, since we couldn’t afford real leather) and glitter ties, which certainly made them look like Hollywood pimps.

I was so accustomed to seeing them dress this way that I didn’t give it a second thought. But upon arriving at the church, one of the young men–a leader in the congregation–greeted us and apparently became upset with how worldly my sons were adorned. Matter of fact, he took it upon himself to talk to the minister about asking us to leave and refusing to allow us to present our program. You see, I didn’t know this because the pastor of the church, being a man of character, decided not to cave in but to pursue his original decision to welcome us to the fold. No, it was AFTER the delightful evening of sharing in music, word and ministry, while out to dinner with the pastor, that he explained what had transpired.

We became friends. Over the next seven years, I returned to that church eight times to give my heart, soul and care to its inhabitants. Every time we came, the fellowship was richer and the experience deeper. Matter of fact, the young man who originally objected to our first appearance, nearly nixing our efforts, found himself in a time of need during one of our visits and I was granted the privilege of helping him reestablish his faith.

As I drove into California yesterday and arrived in San Diego, that story came back to my mind. For if we begin to believe that we have lost control of our lives and must merely react to propriety or the whim of loud voices around us, we sacrifice the greatest gift that human beings possess–the free will to redecorate until we get it right.

Yet caution has replaced experimentation; following the rules is more important than creativity and trying to find the elusive will of God often leaves us stagnant–in an attitude of indecision rendering us insipid at the point of contact. Yesterday I thought about what would have happened if that pastor so many years ago had given into the pressure and fear of one member of his congregation. We would never have had the friendship, the countless hours of fellowship–and we even would have lost the chance to help our critic find his peace in his hour of need.

So I don’t know what’s going to happen in San Diego, but I know this–it will be a mission of my own making and desire rather than tip-toeing through the tulips, hoping to never disappoint the distraught gardener.

It’s my life. I thank God for it. I welcome God into it.

I am prepared to surprise His Highness. 


Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.


Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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