The amount of respect I had for him in that moment was inversely proportional to the amount of pressure he was applying to my head. I placed my feet further apart and pushed back. He applied counterpressure but there was no way I was falling, especially not in front of Jim, his mother and his brother.
I asked myself why this should be THE altar call, the one I had been long waiting for, the one that I had vowed to go up to the front for. Sure, he had called for anyone with "oppression, depression and any kind of pression" which was a little on the broad side and also, I recalled, he was well versed with my medical history.
He stood there in what was later described to me as a $3000 suit, waiting for me to fall, and water burst forth from the blister that had been forming for some time, and all that was left was the empty skin shell.
Later my coworker Jim and I discussed in length his tendency for mini-sermons on prosperity right before the offering, and his long-winded prayers afterwards invoking God to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing. We agreed it was manipulative, although the promises in the Bible were there in black ink.
From this moment I gradually extricated myself from his camp, and when his empire later fell due his infidelity to the mother of his children and his adultery revealed in plain sight, dropping his charisma points to near bankruptcy, I was only slightly more disillusioned and in my youthful cynicism not very surprised.