A dirty Nashville dive bar. The kind of place where men go to forget their problems. Also, a place where women go to forget their problems. It was a good place to forget problems, this bar.
A lone man on a stool, bent over the bar. Silent. Nunchucks sticking out of his pocket. He really liked the ninja turtles.
Larry the Cucumber was dead, killed in the Battle of Alcatraz. Alan Noble was gone, too, just a spirit floating aimlessly through the ether and grumbling about various things.
James Dobson had taken the others back in time to stop Ken Ham from rebuilding the Tower of Babel. They had left Russell Moore in 2017, and now he was all alone.
The barkeep walked past. The broken theologian held up a finger.
“Juice,” he whispered hoarsely. “Apple juice.”
The barkeep nodded and reached under the counter. He pulled up a plastic jug. Off-brand. The weak stuff.
Russell Moore glowered at the man.
“Not that. Gimme the real thing.”
The barkeep nodded again and produced a jug of Welch’s apple juice. He filled a shot glass and slid it over to Moore’s slumped figure. Moore straightened up long enough to tap the bar with his finger.
“Leave the bottle,” he growled.
The bartender set an old-timey turn dial phone in front of Moore and placed the receiver on the bar top.
“It’s for you,” he said. Also, the bartender was Chris Tomlin.
Moore downed his shot of apple juice and picked up the phone.
“What do you want?” he blurted out gruffly.
Glowing Gospel dulcet tones soaked into his ears and washed the stress lines off his face. The corners of his mouth pulled back into a knowing smile. Justin Bieber was on the phone, saying he needed help on a mission. Ninja turtle-style help.
Russell Moore picked his headband off the bar and tied it around his face.
“Cowabunga,” he whispered, alive once again.
Then Russell Moore went outside and a DeLorean pulled up right next to him. The doors opened and yep, in the driver’s seat was Justin Bieber.
PASTOR Justin Bieber.
Then Pastor Justin Bieber was all like “be blessed, yo” and Jen Hatmaker was all like “hook em Horns” but she was sad when she said it because Texas football hadn’t been very good for like infinity years. Also, Jen Hatmaker was in the DeLorean, too. She was on Pastor Justin Bieber’s team. Also Bob the Tomato and Lecrae were in the DeLorean, too. It was supes crowded in there.
Then Russell Moore twirled his nunchucks super fast and super cool and he even did the thing where he stopped the twirling by catching the wooden part under his armpit and it stung super bad but he didn’t even say anything.
“What’s the plan?” asked Russell.
“We’re going back in time…” said Pastor Justin Bieber, “…to find Charles Darwin.”
And everybody was like WHOA because Charles Darwin invented evolution, which was like creationism but for Democrats.
Then Bob the Tomato was all like “are we going to kill him?”
“Nahh, boo….” Pastor Justin Bieber whispered as he popped a Hillsong United cassette into the DeLorean’s player.
“…we gonna evangelize him.”
Charles Darwin sat in a clearing, scribbling in his notebooks. He was all like “maybe we used to be monkeys or whatever, crap, I have no idea” and he started to write the word EVOLUTION in his notebook.
Just then, Pastor Justin Bieber rode into the clearing on a skateboard. Like, real fast. His hair was blowing in the wind and he looked hella cool–you guys don’t even know. He ramped off a tortoise and did a sick grind across a log and then right as Charles Darwin was about to invent the word EVOLUTION, Bieber dove off the skateboard, snatched the notebook away, and did a super cool dance move and Charles Darwin was like WHAT and Pastor Bieber was like “no but for real, we saved by grace, not twerks” so he stopped dancing and put his arm around Darwin so he could bro up and talk salvation.
Then Charles Darwin started laughing and did a loud whistle and suddenly a bunch of bad guys came into the clearing and yep, it was Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and also Rita from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. IT WAS A TRAP. The bad guys surrounded Justin Bieber and they all started cracking their knuckles like bad guys do when they mean business.
“These bad guys were sent to protect me from Christians like you,” Darwin said. “Now they’re gonna hurt you real bad.”
But Pastor Justin Bieber wasn’t worried because just then, Jen Hatmaker, Russell Moore, Lecrae, and Bob the Tomato ran up behind him to even the score.
Then time-traveling Joseph Stalin was like “at last, we can end Christianity.”
Then Lecrae stepped up and did a woke theological freestyle against Stalin:
Just a sinner saved by grace, ain’t allowed to hate ya
Without His grace I’d be just another dictator
You killing millions with your Great Purges
I can’t even kill my flesh’s urges
You spend your whole day worryin bout the bourgeoisie
Got a booger in your stache you can’t even see
And Stalin got super embarrassed and started checking his mustache for boogers and while he was distracted, Lecrae punched that mean old man right in his belly, because there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3) and sometimes you have to fight dictators to save Justin Bieber. Stalin was super mad about being punched but he just waddled out of the clearing all red-faced and whatnot, without even fighting back, he was actually kind of a wuss.
Then time-traveling Adolf Hitler was like INE INE RINE SHLINE and he went to stomp on Bob the Tomato and Bob was like “you can’t kill me, you can only turn me to ketchup” and Hitler was like WHOA and just then Russell Moore came up with his nunchucks spinning and was like I’M BOUT TO ENGAGE THE CULTURE and he did a cool somersault and he hit Hitler right in the funny bone–like crazy hard, too–and the Fuhrer grabbed his elbow and started flexing his arm back and forth because that’s really all you can do until the tingling goes away. Anyway, that probably didn’t prevent World War 2 or anything, but it saved Bob the Tomato from getting squished.
Then Rita from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers started shooting bolts of lightning from her sorcerer’s staff and she was like OH BY THE WAY, I CANCELED THE BELONG TOUR and everybody was like “whoa,” even the other bad guys, because that was totes over the line, now wasn’t it. Then Jen Hatmaker did an Instagram video where she was like YOU JUST POKED MAMA BEAR WITH A BIG OL’ STICK and she ran up to Rita and gave her a slap right across the face, like not even a Nice Girl slap but a Nasty Girl slap. Then Rita flew backwards so fast she got sucked into a portal and a bunch of sparks flew everywhere and Lecrae looked at Jen Hatmaker and was like DANG, GIRL because he was super impressed.
Then Charles Darwin pulled out a crossbow and pointed it at Pastor Justin Bieber. He was all like “FREEZE, Christians, or Imma make this dude a MARTYR.” So all the Christians froze and it looked like the battle was lost but Justin Bieber was like “shhhh….guys, I got this.”
Then Justin Bieber was like “let’s make a new convert” and he tripped Charles Darwin into the stream behind them. Also, there was a stream in the clearing. It was right behind them. Then Pastor Bieber dove into the stream, grabbed Charles Darwin, and dunked him under the water to baptize him. But instead of making him a Christian, the baptism made Charles Darwin smoke and spark and yep, Charles Darwin was actually a robot.
Pastor Justin Bieber climbed out of the stream and flipped his wet hair, real dramatic-like.
“Where is the real Charles Darwin?” he whispered.
Just then the tortoise shell popped up and PLOT TWIST, it wasn’t actually a real tortoise: Chris Tomlin had been hiding under the shell this whole time, holding a remote control to control Robot Charles Darwin. He tossed the remote down and was all like “wouldn’t you like to know!” and he stole Pastor Justin Bieber’s skateboard and rode out of the clearing. But he wasn’t a good skater and he only got a little ways before he just got off the board and carried it while he walked.
Then Russell Moore started to run after Tomlin but Justin Bieber was like “let him go. We’ll get some smoothies first. My treat.” and Russell Moore was like “ok, cool.”
So all the good guys got together and took a group selfie. Then they got back in the DeLorean and went to get smoothies and while they were drinking their smoothies, Pastor Bieber gave everyone a fun nickname: Jen Hatmaker was Jenny Hats, Lecrae was Cray (this means “crazy,” in case you are old), Bob the Tomato was BT, and Russell Moore was Russell the Love Muscle, and “love muscle” wasn’t something lewd–it meant the heart. Pastor Bieber was always saying the heart was the strongest muscle of all, and if you think about it, isn’t he right?
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