Welcome to Santa Cruz.

John-Michael (that’s one guy) and Spenser, two students from the University of Arkansas, had no idea what to expect when they set out.  Their assignment: get into spiritual conversations with folks in downtown Santa Cruz on a cool, summer Saturday night.

They walked slowly down the busy sidewalk, tentatively glancing around in search of the least intimidating group of people they could find.  Two older gentlemen caught their eye, and they decided to initiate a conversation.  John-Michael introduced himself by mentioning that they were with Campus Crusade for Christ, and interested in learning more about the spiritual beliefs of people in Santa Cruz.  Quickly, one of the older guys piped up, “Well, what do you believe?”  Taken aback, John-Michael tried to briefly and comprehensively explain his worldview.

“Well, if you are religious…” the old man interrupted, “then you must believe in the talking rocks…”  Spenser and John-Michael looked at one another and silently came to the decision that nervous laughter was the appropriate response.

It was not.

See, this guy really believed in the talking rocks (whatever they are) and spent the greater part of 20 minutes berating Spenser for his disrespect of the speaking stones.

Meanwhile John-Michael had gotten into a much more civil conversation with the other gentleman.  Civil, but no less fantastic.  This guy was convinced that many years ago he met God while naked and on a Peyote trip in the forest.  While Spenser “got the shaft” for carelessly addressing the talking rocks, John-Michael was busy hearing the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of a good naked romp in the redwoods with mother earth and the spirits (which sounds like a great name for an up-and coming rock band with a female lead… mother earth and the spirits).

Fellas, we are not in Arkansas anymore.  Welcome to Santa Cruz.