Carrying a message ‘cross’ country

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 15, 2006

California man passes through the Queen City

By Deborah Goodwin

The Selma Times-Journal

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Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16: 24).

Most people take this message figuratively, but one man is walking it right off the pages of the Bible.

“I’m known as cross carrier Chuck,” Chuck Johnson said.

Many of you may have seen him walking Highland Avenue this week carrying a life-size cross on his shoulder. Johnson is from California and came through Selma on his 11th trip across the United States.

He’s made it through seven years of his intended 10-year journey.

Why is he here?

“I carry this cross 365 days a year, 7 days a week to show people you need God in your life,” Johnson said.

The cross carrier says he was working a regular job when he received a message from God.

“I was a loader operator for Southern Pacific Railroad,” he said.

“I made almost 30 bucks an hour.

I gave up a good job to go out and work for the Lord. You can’t out work the Lord.

You can’t out give him.”

According to Johnson, he was given specific instructions.

“God said take nothing with you so I just went totally that way.

And He always provides. He’s never let me go without.”

Traveling alone, and starting off with basically no money, Johnson takes donations and rides from people he encounters.

“I let God pull them over,” he said.

Johnson says he carries a rope in his backpack and has ridden from town to town with his cross strapped to every type vehicle known to man.

Even on the back of a Harley Davidson.

Although his cross has a wheel, riding on the back of Harleys is not what it’s used for.

“The wheel is just so it won’t grind down to nothing,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, he’s been across the country 10 times and has traveled over 30,000 miles “from one city to the next, from one town to the next, one state to the next.”

“I’m like Forrest Gump,” he said.

“I hit one ocean, turn around and go back to the next.”

At the end of his 10-year journey, Johnson plans to finish writing his book about his travel experiences.

“It’s called ‘I Carry the Cross, God Does All the Work,'” he said.

Johnson says he’s lost his father and uncle since he’s been on the road. His uncle died three weeks ago. He doesn’t have a wife or any children.

“I’m 44 years old.

I haven’t been married,” he said.

“One day maybe. We’ll see what the Lord does.”

He travels light with his small backpack and his cross.

When asked if he carried a cell phone, Johnson said, “No, I carry the Holy Spirit.

It works faster.”