To say six years lapsed in a town our size without ever crossing Lyle’s path would be inaccurate. School events always put us in proximity. I am sure we chatted here and there.
Late in the summer of 2002 Lyle, Evette, and Nathan began visiting Snow Hill. Natalie had graduated and begun college – TU, if I remember correctly. Eventually she would transfer to Wheaton. I remember Lyle loving Wheaton, Illinois.
It was not long before we began having lunch from time to time. After all, a fireman’s schedule seemed at times to give a person as much free time as, well . . . a pastor. We both laughed about that myth that often floats around.
Lyle was also a home builder and of course, I was just a pastor who worked on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Or so the story goes.
In the summer of 1998 or 1999 I had been given a copy of The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. After reading Willard’s book, to borrow from his opening chapter, you could say you had been flying upside down. The vertigo created by the acculturation of the Gospel pressed Dallas to write about our life in God guiding the reader through the Sermon on the Mount. Me, Nathan, and Jason made sure Lyle had a copy.
And so begins the Divine Conspirator.