Rev. Todd deserves backlash for his controversial visual aid.
It is no secret that megachurch pastors in the United States always seem to be the object of controversy and criticism for a wide range of reasons.From the classics such as Rev. Oral Roberts declaring God told him he’d die if he didn’t raise $8 million or Pastor Peter Popoff using earpieces to receive “clairvoyant” messages about members of his congregation, once again a minister has made the headlines, but this time for rubbing his own spit in another man’s eyes.
Tulsa pastor Rev. Michael Todd of Transformation Church went viral last week for a video in which he—in a gross display to his congregation—spat in his own hands and then rubbed it on a church member’s face. The man was later confirmed to be Pastor Todd’s brother, Brentom, but that does not make the action of rubbing one’s saliva on another human being any less shocking and plain disgusting.
The Bible passage that was discussed in Todd’s service was Mark 8:22-25, where Jesus heals a blind man in Beth-sa′ida by rubbing spit in the man’s eyes. Pastor Todd’s parishioners gasped at the shocking display when he turned to his brother and rubbed his spit on him, saying, “Receiving vision from God might get nasty.” I don’t know that anyone at his church that day got a vision from God, but he is right that something was nasty.
This action seems very contradictory to his previous ministry of assisting in a day of prayer across the state of Oklahoma for the people who have suffered from COVID-19. A community leader so openly concerned about the current state of the public’s health ought to consider such a display to be in bad taste and ill-timed, at the very least.
It is not uncommon for Christian ministers to use visual aids that may help illustrate their message to people at their service, and the pastor makes an excellent point that people often react the way the crowd does when good works are performed. People are often too quick to turn away in shock when they are just on the verge of a miracle. However, to echo one of the comments on the viral sermon, “I found your demonstration demeaning and gross. Your message was loud and clear without rubbing your spit all over a brother’s face.”
Whether or not Pastor Todd is a good man, Transformation Church performs many different community outreach programs, including children’s sports leagues, environmental work with Up With Trees and a good Samaritan non-profit health service. Under Todd’s leadership, his church is doing much to try to make Tulsa a better place for everyone.
However, these good works do not excuse rubbing spit in your brother’s face. Rev. Todd has since apologized for the action, deeming it disgusting and distracting from the message that he was trying to get across, which it indeed was. As a community, Tulsans need to have high standards for the behavior expected of each other, especially from the public figures we look up to, and there is no place for actions that are in any way demeaning to another human being.