Michael Todd, a 34-year-old pastor at Tulsa’s Transformation Church, is being criticized for delivering a sermon on Sunday in which he rubbed his saliva onto a parishioner’s face.

TMZ writes the churchgoer on the receiving end of Todd’s spit was reportedly his younger brother. Even so, the incident left many people from his congregation grossed out, and for good reason: a global pandemic is roughly the least ideal time to rub saliva onto another individual’s face. 

The controversial moment came while Todd delivered a message about how a “vision from God might get nasty.”

“God is saying, ‘Can you physically, spiritually, and emotionally be able to stand?’” Todd asked the crowd. “This is where most people would not face Jesus anymore. What most people would do is turn away.”

After coughing and spitting into his hand, Todd rubbed his hands together and smeared his saliva into his brother’s eyes.

“And do you hear and see the responses of the people?” Todd continued, as many people in the crowd shrieked in horror. “What I’m telling you: how you just reacted is how the people in your life will react when God is doing what it takes for the miracle.”

Todd later shared a video acknowledgment of the backlash, saying that in doing “extreme things to help people get it,” he “crossed the line.” He also noted that “when Jesus, uh, spit on that man, he was blind and then he could see.”

“I watched it back and, um, it was disgusting. Like that was gross, I wanna validate everybody’s feelings,” he said. “That was a distraction to what I really was trying to do. I was really trying to make the word come alive and for people to see the story. But yesterday it got too live.”

Michael Todd and his wife Natalie were appointed as the leaders of the Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2015. Todd has published a few books and even dropped a handful of R&B-infused gospel songs. The Independent writes that Todd “previously worked with Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt to hold a state-wide day of prayer to protect the state against the COVID-19 pandemic.”