A Strange Encounter of the Bearded Kind

bikerI was at a fireworks display for the 4th of July with my sister’s family, Tom and our kids. It was a beautiful evening, and a lot of fun was had by all. As we gathered up the blankets by the lake shore to head home after the grand finale, a bearded character rolled up on a bicycle on the sidewalk behind us, seemingly out of nowhere. Without saying hello, without introducing himself or any niceties of that nature, he looked directly at me in a fierce kind of way, and proceeded to praise a certain religious activist I used to be involved with in the old days. His exact words were, “He’s the greatest, most courageous man in the world right now with this terrible onslaught.” (I assumed he was referring to the culture wars, but who knows.)

I stared at the creepy and rude man in confusion. First off, who in the world was he, how had even known who I was in the darkness, sitting with my family? And what made him think I wanted to hear him laud the character traits of a man he didn’t even know except on radio?

The bearded messenger rolled off into the night without the courtesy of a good-bye. I have wondered about the encounter ever since. The biggest thing I took away from the conversation was that the man had shaped his entire judgment of the aforementioned hero based on a disembodied voice coming out of his radio or computer. I happened to know that the man in question is not a man of courage, he is a miserable coward, a misogynist, a bully and an opportunist of the highest (lowest) order. He is a flaming narcissist who has left a trail of victims in his wake. But I have a feeling that truth would not have been welcomed in the mind of the mysterious bicyclist. It would have conflicted with the “Great Man of God” idol he had erected in the vacuum of good leadership we have today.

Please, let me help readers with this. Having been there, it takes zero courage to get on the radio and say things. Sitting in the comfort of a padded studio with a decent income and a little fan base to cheer you on no matter what you do, it is hardly a sacrifice. The average person out there says, “Gee, that is great! Somebody is leading us. Let’s follow. Let’s carry banners and proclaim them to be a person of great moral courage.” I have one thing to say to that, and it’s found in the title of a song from Porgy and Bess: “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

As I have noted before, the world of “Christian” media is littered with human train wrecks. The nature of media attracts highly insecure, ego-driven people who find their personal affirmation in campaigning for this cause or that. They find they can assemble a group of (sometimes brain dead) followers who will cheer them on no matter what. It’s a chance at “celebrity”, a chance to be the voice that thunders truth. Ethics, meh. Not important. Relationships with other Christians? Are you kidding me? Only if they are useful to the cause. Otherwise they are just a part of the great unwashed rabble needing a kick to the head to straighten up. The thinking goes like this: If they object to my little kingdom, heck, they are probably mentally unstable to boot. In fact, they ARE mentally unstable to oppose me, and come to think of it, deserving of anything I dish out. I think I’ll send some anonymous hate mail to underscore their moral inferiority and human worthlessness. (And if I get caught, I’ll lie about it. Nobody will believe that I, the Great White Knight, am capable of such a thing! It’s that nutty dissenter off his/her meds again.)

If my tone sounds a bit harsh here, you are very perceptive. The blind idolatry of Christians is more apparent to me every day that goes by, and it has, for me, the effect vinegar has on milk. It curdles things. This kind of behavior and thinking does incalculable damage to those trying to hang onto their faith in the midst of these confusing times. If you don’t believe that, explain the countless websites published by victims of this mindset. It’s enough to make the angels weep. Our young son listened to the bearded bicyclist praise somebody he knew was corrupt. He looked at us as we walked to the car. “I don’t think that guy got the memo,” he said, shaking his head. No, apparently not. Memos like that are unacceptable. Go with the myth instead, go with the public image. That is, apparently, all that matters.

So, to any other odd bicyclists out there who intend to do a drive-by hallelujah session for their favorite Christian bully on the front lines, save your breath for the ride home. I don’t listen to the bully boys anymore, and I don’t listen to their followers. I don’t care about their flashy new websites, social media platforms where they can preach to each other, and I don’t want to read their dire warnings online. I’ve blocked anybody on Facebook who wants to link to them. Integrity matters, and I no longer have time for the borderlines, the sickos, the corrupt users, the morbidly obese egos draped in spirituality, and the Great Men of God who leave their own families in smoking ruins. You men and your fawning enablers are no longer welcome in our lives.

24 thoughts on “A Strange Encounter of the Bearded Kind

  1. Beverley says:

    Well stated Ingrid. Many are so naïve as to what goes on “behind the scenes” even in Christian media. I was very innocent to this until I quite innocently contacted certain ministries because I was confused about some “double standards”. Hmm, I was told to not believe “the gossip” and everything I heard or read on the internet and yet I was expected to trust “their opinions” … You stated, “The blind idolatry of Christians is more apparent to me every day that goes by, and it has, for me, the effect vinegar has on milk. It curdles things. This kind of behavior and thinking does incalculable damage to those trying to hang onto their faith in the midst of these confusing times. If you don’t believe that, explain the countless websites published by victims of this mindset. It’s enough to make the angels weep.” Weep indeed. Thank you, again, Ingrid, for a very, very thought provoking post … AND Thank you Lord for Your Word and for those who exhort and encourage us with THE PURE UNADULTERATED TRUTH.

  2. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Jim, truly, it was. Our backs were to a building with Fowler Lake right in front of us, and I still, honestly, do not know how he could have seen me in the dark. There was nobody behind us. He just rolled up, delievered his speech and cycled off.

  3. Jan says:

    God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. There apparently was no light coming from this bearded man doing his dark deeds that night! He was not anyone with the light of Christ, as the evil one has others do his work in darkness.
    It does appear that you may have been stalked. It is just very strange how it happened………. Creepy!
    God bless you Ingrid, and may the Lord keep you and your family safe.

  4. Jean Selden says:

    Ingrid,
    I thank God always for you, Ingrid. Your voice gives me strength to keep speaking louder to this dying group of blinded followers of deception. Blessed are you for your boldness in spite of persecution.

    My question is, was that a human that confronted you or a creature?

    Jean

  5. celmur says:

    Is it possible he was deliberately sent, Ingrid?
    Praying for you to stay strong in the Lord!

  6. Kris says:

    Well said as always Ing. In spite of this “person”,
    hope everyone had a good time. Keep doing
    what you’re doing.

  7. julie says:

    Those whose hope in this world have no hope for the next. Therefore they will do whatever they can to try and grope for the least pleasure they can manage in this life. Hardened hearts whose consciences are seared don’t see the pain they are inflicting. And, they hardly care for they are desperate to get whatever satisfaction they can get now for themselves. In this fallen world, sadly, this is as it should be. God is kind, even to the ungodly. He lets them have their time to enjoy themselves, even if it is an ungodly pursuit. For life is short, and eternity is a long, long time. Those who refuse to repent of their sin and bow the knee to Jesus in this life will spend eternity in hell. There they will remember the evil they have done and they will suffer for it for all eternity. The worst evil is not hate and unkindness toward humans, as bad as that is. The worst evil is hatred of God and His offer of forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who refuse this offer of love from God the Father can expect nothing but a fearful punishment for all eternity.

    On the other hand, those whose hope is in the Lord must learn to take this hatred from the world. We must remember their fearful fate. Their time is short. But the Christian has every hope, for their hope is not in this world. Their hope is not in this world’s pleasures, for ultimately it all falls short. The Christian’s hope is eternal for the Christian’s hope is in Christ. The Christian’s hope can never perish, spoil or fade for it is kept in heaven for them. The Christian’s hope is God Himself and what a gift He is to the heart that seeks Him! Soon all of this will be a dim memory. The Christian faces an eternity too, but it will be an eternity in the presence of the Most High God, who is holy , perfect, loving, and just. Don’t give up, Christian. You will have all of eternity to enjoy yourself. Don’t put your hope in this world – put your hope in the Lord.

  8. Bonnie says:

    Because I do not think there are any coincidences, I think this “bearded wonder” was sent especially to you with a specific message. I think the circumstances are too unusual to think this was a chance encounter. I pray for the safety of you and your family.

  9. Steve says:

    ” I don’t listen to the bully boys anymore, and I don’t listen to their followers. I don’t care about their flashy new websites, social media platforms where they can preach to each other, and I don’t want to read their dire warnings online. I’ve blocked anybody on Facebook who wants to link to them.” Good. We do not have “fellowship” via media “ministries” anyway. Our fellowship is at the altar, live and in Person. This is where we fit in.

  10. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Julie – the disturbing part is these people are not in the “world”, they are the “devout Christians” fighting all manner of evil in God’s name. This is the problem I have addressed on here several times. The attacks from those who hate Christians and reject biblical truth are not in the least surprising, nor do they carry much weight. The truth is that the “visible church” is run in a lot of cases by those who are labeled the “courageous Christians” while they exhibit the spiritual fruit on a personal, private level, of their true father, Beelzebub. These are the ones who crush those around them while “ministering” to the masses. Their ultimate cover is their fundamentalism which values image over substance, rhetorical riffs over personal integrity. The personal damage they do to little people around them is of no concern to anyone in these organizations, let alone the sycophants who surround these people in their private lives.

    Again, not the world, but the “church” is producing the worst kind of spiritual damage, ironically, done in the name of fighting “deception” and all manner of “evil.”

    I spoke recently with someone who has enabled and defended a perp who openly lied about me, tried to use our own son against me, slandered me online and spread malicious lies about me to others to cover his own shameful conduct. Their greatest grievance against me was that the situation, and I quote, “went public.” In the dark recesses of this individual’s mind, the evil treatment I received at the hands of this “Chrsitian” broadcaster was of little concern. The real issue was embarrassing the perp publicly by crying out when I was being injured. In the twisted psyche of these people, if “great good” is being done, the great evil done to a few should be covered up and the cries of the victims stifled. I abhor this kind of thinking. You don’t criticize a rape victim for making too much noise, because, after all, the rapist has a great ministry. Yet that is exactly what happens all too often, whether the rape is physical or metaphorical.

    The failure of Christians to have a real impact on our nation and the world, despite countless millions spent on media outlets and organizations, can be laid at the feet of those who thought that personal integrity and a faithful walk with God was optional if they were at the front end of the battle. The next generation cannot be blamed for looking at these frauds and asking the profound question: Who needs this?

  11. Carol says:

    Ingrid, the devil knows who we are and can see us even when it is dark out. Definitely sounds like one of his workers at work. The adversary keeps coming back, esp. when we least expect it, so keep your spiritual armor on (Ephesians 6) and stand firm, as you are. The shield of Faith, belt of Truth, and helmet of Salvation protect our heart and mind against all fiery darts aimed at us. As we know, you must be doing something right for you to be a target of the enemy. Praise the Lord for His hedge of Protection and Blood covering over you and your family! The war is not over yet, but we know how it all ends, thanks to Jesus!

  12. Steve says:

    “As we know, you must be doing something right for you to be a target of the enemy.” This is pretty close, Carol. Because our names are written in the book of life, Satan’s demons will torment us. He’s a poor loser.

  13. RK says:

    Ingrid: Your situation “went public” because you stated in an earlier post that it was only way to hold the individual accountable since that person does not belong to a congregation; therefore, he’s abandoned the assembly of believers. The individual considers the media to be his (false) church and that’s where he is being held accountable.

  14. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Exactly, Robert. If there were to be a flow chart of disasters like these, the public exposure of things usually comes after every effort to privately resolve something has failed. The local church is the place for this to be handled. In that no local church has authority over the party(ies) involved (media cowboys don’t need pastors or church membership – they operate by their own set of rules), nothing could be done. The spillover into a public forum is the sad and unavoidable consequence of failing to deal with it biblically, and you see this all over the news sites which I read every day for my job for a syndicated talk radio show out of Dallas. The toxic church, pastor, ministry stories are everywhere and getting worse. It’s another form of the lawlessness that reigns everywhere now in our perilous times.

  15. Cindy says:

    Ingrid,
    I can’t believe you still have to suffer like this! I want you to know that you are the reason I am now more aware of how much emphasis (worship in some cases) is placed on people and not the Lord. You have eloquently reminded us of where to place our thoughts and our focus through this blog and your sharing. I also have been sharing with my son (who attended a mega “church”) the importance of where our focus should be. A few weeks ago he left the “church,” because he realized that yes, indeed the worship was more about people and feeling good than the Lord. I am so happy he is aware of this, it has been my concern for some time. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24. Not hope in people! Thank you for opening our eyes.

  16. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Thanks so much, Cindy. Tom said to me that he has tried to figure out what happened, and concurs that the entire thing was a bizarre hit and run for spiritual purposes of discouragement. The goal? Bring up hurt and pain with the purposes of having me turn on God and spew bitterness. That’s the purpose behind sending someone like that who literally rides up out of nowhere, drops the message and leaves while we were having a happy time as a family, far away from the problems. The enemy is only convincing me further of the reality of God and the spiritual war we are in as believers in Jesus Christ. The purpose is to destroy faith. We have to identify these incoming attacks and resist in God’s strength. If God was a myth, the enemy wouldn’t try so hard to damage faith, would he? The attacks are really virulent now on those who take their Christian faith seriously. I like these lines from Pilgrim’s Progress:

    He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
    Let him in constancy follow the Master.
    There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
    His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

    Who so beset him round with dismal stories
    Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
    No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
    He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

    Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
    We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
    Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
    I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

  17. Carol says:

    Steve, That’s what I meant. Thanks for clarifying for everyone. It was a phrase that I heard years ago. Ingrid has taken a stand for Truth and has taken many hits, but God is greater than he who is in the world, PTL!

  18. Teeky says:

    Good Morning dearest Ingrid! I am sorry to repost again, BUT this morning I was reading the book of Nehemiah chapter 6. In my bible the sub-heading is “The enemies plot”.

    The context: Nehemiah begins rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem which had been broken down and breached. When Nehemiah’s enemies learn of this, they send a “HIRED SERVANT” to speak against him in the hope that it will discourage and frighten him, thus causing him to sin, “so that they might have an evil report” against him!

    Please read this Ingrid, as I do believe (and trust) that God will both encourage and strengthen you by it!

    THE LORD is with you sis!

  19. Paul says:

    “I happened to know that the man in question is not a man of courage, he is a miserable coward, a misogynist, a bully and an opportunist of the highest (lowest) order. He is a flaming narcissist who has left a trail of victims in his wake.”

    A question: Why (don’t/ have you never) exposed the such person? People like this are doing incredible damage to the Church and the people it’s supposed to protect. If it were a theological liberal, you’d have exposed him by name, given details of his heresy. Yet this is someone probably doing far worse damage than a theological liberal. What if this person you describe attacks a Christian who isn’t perhaps anywhere near as mature and well-grounded as you are, and the victim falls away from the Church?

  20. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Paul, there’s a line from a song decades ago that says, “no use in talkin’ cause there’s nobody listening…” Warnings are only helpful where people have ears to hear. Few such ears exist among believers today.

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