The Parent Trap

In the yard outside his dorm, Mr. Lohan, 47, explained how he viewed his current situation. “It’s like Corinthians 5:17, ‘When the Lord Jesus Christ comes into your life, the old is passed and the new is upon you,’” he said.

“It says therefore if any man is in Christ, he’s a new creation,” said Pastor Jimmy, who sat nearby. “‘All things pass away, behold, all things become new.’ That’s kind of like our theme scripture.”

Pastor Jimmy himself graduated from the Brooklyn Teen Challenge program more than 20 years ago, before founding Long Island Teen Challenge in 1989.

“It’s the same thing as in Luke 9:24,” said Mr. Lohan. “‘If you want to be saved—if a man wants to save his life, a man has to lose his life.’ And, basically, that’s what happened to me, I lost my life when I hit that pole, and I found a new life,” he said, referring to the car accident on Feb. 23, 2005, which led to his incarceration for driving under the influence, among other things.

The pastor clearly sees an able protégé in Mr. Lohan. The two, along with the actor Stephen Baldwin—a recovered addict turned Christian—are planning a Christian radio show. And in September, the three men are joining forces on a new Teen Challenge center in Southampton, which will be called the Sanctuary.

On the drive to Belmont Park, Mr. Lohan explained—to borrow the title of the biography he’s currently shopping—“How It All Went Down.”

He grew up in Cold Spring Harbor, the posh hamlet in Suffolk County where John Lennon spent much of his time from the mid-1970’s up to his death.

“My grandfather owned the largest spaghetti company in the world at one time,” said Mr. Lohan, referring to his maternal family’s involvement in Prince Spaghetti and DeBoles Macaroni. Nonetheless: “We worked at the age of 15. We got our due when we worked. I was raised in a Catholic household, they were very good people.” Mr. Lohan stipulated that his father was an alcoholic, but said no one else in his family drank. “Everyone in my family are pillars of the Cold Spring Harbor community,” he said, drawing a distinction between his pedigree and that of his wife, Dina.

“Her brother Paul, the middle one, is going to jail for 9/11 fraud,” he said. “For a million-dollar 9/11 fraud.”

Jesus,” I blurted and quickly apologized.

“No, that’s okay,” said Pastor Jimmy, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. “He needs Jesus.”

Mr. Lohan came around to how he first ran afoul of the law. At the age of 20, after chasing his dream to be an actor, he took a job on Wall Street.

“I was the youngest trader on the floor of the commodity exchange,” he said. “And by the time I was 25 I had four seats on the exchange.”

He owned a Ferrari 308 GTSI inspired by Magnum, P.I., which he said he drove off a 26-foot cliff in Massachusetts; he suffered only a concussion. And yes, he did some blow on weekends; it was the 80’s.

In December 1984, he met Dina, who was working as a salesperson at the Bloomingdale’s cosmetics department. On November 2, 1985, they married and started a family.

In 1990, when Lindsay was five years old, Mr. Lohan was investigated for insider trading and convicted of criminal contempt of court because, he said, he wouldn’t testify about the trading of other brokers. He was sentenced to three years in Nassau County jail. In 1993 he was released on five years probation. He cherished the time with the kids, he says.

The Parent Trap