I’m not a very religious person. I was raised in the Baptist church and I’ve read the Bible, even memorized parts of it. As an adult I have waivered between belief and nonbelief for some time. I say that to say this. Years ago I spent months going to a weekly Bible study with a Pentacostal friend of mine. It was held in the home a family from his church. In the end I agreed to go to church with him. I resisted the urge to sit in the very back. I sat in the middle to try and blend in. It wasn’t my first visit to a Pentacostal church. The difference this time was that now most of the people from the church knew me, and they knew I wasn’t one of them.
I have always enjoyed the music in the Pentacostal churches. I was even okay with all the people speaking in tongues. Who am I to judge, right? But at the end of the service they always have a prolonged alter call, where throngs of people go up to the alter and cry and sing and speak in tongues. Well, this time, the alter came to me. I never left my seat in the middle of the church, but I was suddenly surrounded by people touching me and praying for me to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
I have never been more uncomfortable in my life. I couldn’t get past the touching. I am not comfortable with people touching me. I am not even very comfortable with people being really close to me. I started praying like I’d never prayed before, “Lord, I’m not a praying man, but if you get me out of this, I promise I will never come back here again.” So while they were praying for me to get saved, I was praying to get safely back to my car. I weighed the option of just throwing them all off, Hulk style, and hauling ass, but Pentacostals would consider that a challenge. I’d have ended up being exorcised in the parking lot.
I did eventually escape, saved by not getting saved. And true to my pledge, I never went back.