My days at L’Abri brought many surprises. Mealtimes were impressive with tables set with linens and fresh flowers, delicious food prepared with beauty and care, but most of all, conversations that lingered over lunch and dinner centering on the meaning of life and the topics raised in Francis Schaeffer’s books, Escape from Reason, Death in the City, and The God who Is There. One day I was assigned lunch at Les Mélèzes, the chalet where the Schaeffer’s lived. Halfway through the meal there was a great commotion and people rushed from their seats to look over the balcony at a car pulling into the driveway below. A young couple got out of the car, the woman obviously very pregnant. I was shocked to learn it was Franky Schaeffer and his new bride. This was 1970 and only the cusp of the sexual revolution. My parents would have thrown me out of the house and disowned me if I became pregnant outside marriage. I was amazed at the acceptance shown by these odd Christians.
A couple days after I arrived in Switzerland three scruffy American hippie hitchhikers stopped to take advantage of L’Abri’s free hospitality on their way to a gathering with an Indian guru on a nearby mountain. They recognized me as part of their “tribe” and let me know they had drugs to share. They invited me to join them a couple weeks later when they planned to hitchhike through Africa. I was tempted on both fronts, until I went to an evening talk by Francis Schaeffer, famous for his goatee and plus-fours, where he spoke about propositional truth and insisted that words have meaning. Instead of everything-is-true syncretism, Schaeffer claimed there was Truth that could be known, Truth revealed by a personal God. I started to discern the difference between the Christian worldview and that of the drug culture in which I was immersed. What he said became clear that evening when the ringleader of the three hippies stood up and read a poem he had written. He held up a piece of paper but I don’t know why because the whole poem was just a series of two obscenities: s**t and f**k. He was not only rude, but ludicrous. I was repulsed.