The Story Behind Lighthouse Trails
Every good mystery starts off with “It was a dark and stormy night.” But this is a different kind of mystery. It’s about a church, a Bride, that was mysteriously kidnapped by a dark, deceitful stranger who came as an angel of light and promised her many great things if she would just follow him. And it’s about a small insignificant publishing company who teamed up with members of the Bride who did not succumb to the angel of light, in an effort to find out what happened to her and how to bring her back to safety.
In the summer of 2000, there was no Lighthouse Trails Publishing. There wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s mind about it. Dave and I were nearing the final round of raising a half a dozen kids in a small town in Oregon, one nestled in the Cascade foothills. We had been alerted in 1997 to a thing called Y2K and helped put together a task force in our little town. Not because we thought the world was coming to an end on December 31, 1999. We didn’t. But we were stirred from our every day lives of soccer games, raising kids, going to church, small time campaigning to keep the homosexual agenda out of the schools, helping friends in need, supporting ministries like Focus on the Family—you know, just the regular stuff a good Christian family does. In twenty-five years of being part of the church after getting saved in the ’70s (I in a barn with a Bible and some cows, Dave in army barracks in Germany), there were a lot of things we had never heard about in the pulpits. At first, in the ’70s, we heard a lot about Jesus’ return, and it wasn’t unusual to hear the Gospel preached on Sundays with people going forward in altar calls and getting saved. It was exciting, and there was anticipation in the air that the rapture could happen at any time. But over time, that kind of talk ceased, altar calls died down and were replaced with lots of other things: signs and wonders that were said to all be from God, boycotts and legislation efforts to turn our country into a “Christian”culture, songs that started leaving Jesus and the Cross out, and in many cases drums so loud, you wouldn’t be able to hear the words anyway, or songs about all the great things we could do if we would just unite together.
When Y2K came, it jolted us and reminded us that our time on this earth is very temporal, and the Bible talks about a time where people will become very deceived, not realizing the times in which we live. While we did not believe that the culmination of time would end at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999, we did believe God wanted to get our attention. We just weren’t sure what for at the time. 2000 rolled in rather uneventfully, and life continued. However, in 1998 a friend had told us about an author she knew in Salem who wrote about how the New Age was coming into the evangelical church. While we knew something about the New Age, it was a term that was never mentioned in the pulpit of any church we had ever been to, so the remark slipped quietly away for two years.
In the fall of 2000, our then sixteen-year-old daughter was a Young Life intern. Young Life is a national organization that reaches out to young people in public schools with a Christian message. One day in October, she brought home a list of required reading for the year. It contained books by twelve authors, most of whom we nor our daughter had ever heard of. Four of them would soon change our lives forever: Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning.