In 1992 I found myself huddled with my family in our dark, humid garage as a class 5 hurricane tore through our Kauai island home.
When the eye of the storm passed overhead we scurried out of our hiding place during those few minutes of calm to survey the damage.
Just up the block there was a home sitting atop of another. There was debris and wild destruction all around but mercifully no one was injured.
Except for a few scrapes, one home in the neighborhood seemed virtually untouched; it was the home made entirely of cinder block that even a monster hurricane couldn’t hope to move…and it became the refuge for many as the winds reappeared.
As a father, a veteran youth worker and a Pastor I often feel as if I am back in the swirling wind and banging sounds of a hurricane. Not a physical one that wants to tear apart a dwelling, but a cultural one that wants to tear apart the soul.
Those winds seem to blow the strongest against young men and women of college age who are still in the midst of constructing their lives and it seems as if the footings and materials which once would hold our young people firm in the faith have either collapsed or are in need of fortification.
Many of us sent our kids to Christian schools or colleges hoping that the foundation would be reinforced there. But to our dismay, we noticed even many of those places of influence are now being tattered as they try to hold fast to a Biblical worldview and more than a few have suffered fatal spiritual damage.
But this isn’t the first cultural hurricane that I’ve been through. I was in the fury of another cultural storm way back in the mid 1960s.
I came of age when the social fabric of those who had built successful lives after the second world war was being torn apart by their own children who now played around with drugs, free love and sang about world peace.
As Southern Californian surf kid I was in the epicenter of these changes and challenges but fortunately I became a Christian at the beginning of what is now christened as “the Jesus Movement” and while Woodstock was happening I somehow ended up at a one year Bible School (Capernwray) in the United Kingdom.
It was a pivotal moment for a young man still under construction.
There I rubbed shoulders with men and women who, unbeknownst to me, were among the brilliant lights and intellectual heavy hitters in the Christian world; F.F. Bruce, Dr. Alan Redpath, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Major Ian Thomas, Corrie Ten Boom and others who helped add support and structure to my rather immature faith.
Thinking long and hard about the present torrent pounding against the Christian faith which we hope has been imprinted on our children, it seems to me as if we (both in a church context and a family context) need not to rail against the wind but offer a stronger defense to it by way of deep, polite, thoughtful conversations which are geared not to tell our young people what to think but rather help them learn how to think. We ought not hide in our basements but ignite the light that offers illumination of well thought out Biblical teaching and sound reasoning. We should stop wagging our fingers and start telling better stories paired with more authentic Christian lives if we want to melt the cultural storm and reinforce the hearts and minds of our young adults.
Rather than moan and wring our hands about the madness around us, our little church community decided to try and do something about it.
We would create a one-year experience of intense, challenging and adventurous Bible exploration to help add to the spiritual cement of young people before they launch in a career or head off to college. Each week we would bring to our school one of a huge variety of devout, brilliant Christian teachers and thinkers to imprint sound Biblical truth and intellectual reasoning into our students.
We are calling it The Anchor House because it is meant to offer that which will hold fast during a storm.
The Anchor House opens in September of 2022 and will accommodate 40 students. For more information please go to http://www.anchorhousekauai.com