–The Exegeticals have been on the move for weeks. They have tracked the mysterious figure The Shepherd and his cabal of theo-terrorists from California to Tennessee. They have uncovered a wide-ranging conspiracy, implicating various high-profile Christian figures in the process. Now The Exegeticals have tracked the group’s movements to South America, where The Shepherd intends to taint the world’s coffee supply and halt every American church service at once.
MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL
A remote staging area for the coffee bean conglomerates. A huge warehouse filled with rows and rows of open freight cars of freshly picked beans. The warehouse is deserted, save for a group of people standing on a platform overlooking the beans.
JOHN PIPER: (motioning wildly with hands) Do you see this? Do you see the bounty of God’s creation? What marvelous provision from our Father that we might humbly use to fulfill our plan!
JAN CROUCH: (steps forward, immediately begins to weep) OH PIPEE WHEN I SEE THESE KARFEE BEENS I THINK OF THE CHEELDREN AND I CRY THESE HURVNLY TEARS FOR THE CHEELDREN BECAUSE THEY HAVE TEENY LERL EARS AND TEENY LERL NOSES AND…
JAN CROUCH’S AFGHAN HOUND WIG: ARF
DAVE RAMSEY: (steps forward, holding stack of envelopes containing budgeted cash) The finances are in order. Let’s begin.
Piper brings out a vial of fluorescent green liquid clearly marked with a label that reads NON-LETHAL POISON. Suddenly, the tail ends of three rappelling cords hit the platform. The Exegeticals! Mark Driscoll, Joel Osteen, and Franklin Graham swoop down from the rafters, where they have been hiding!
MARK DRISCOLL: (pointing at Piper) We’ve got you at last, Shepherd! Hand over the poison!
JOHN PIPER: (goes into state of reflection; prolongued silence)
MARK DRISCOLL: Umm….hello?
DAVE RAMSEY: He’s okay–he gets like this sometimes.
In the intermission, Graham looks around for the fourth member of The Exegeticals: Matthew Vines is nowhere to be found.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM: (to Osteen) I mean, good grief, can this kid not follow directions? We ALWAYS RAPPELL on stealth insertions.
JOHN PIPER: (comes to with shudder) Ah…you think I’m The Shepherd?
The Exegeticals fall silent. Something is not right. A shadow moves across the platform; a figure emerges from behind some boxes.
JAMES DOBSON: I am The Shepherd.
Dobson walks over to Piper, who hands him the vial of green poison. Dobson holds the vial aloft as his cohorts line up behind him.
JAMES DOBSON: The church has grown soft.
JOHN PIPER: People come for the coffee.
JAMES DOBSON: People come for entertainment.
JOHN PIPER: It’s a social club.
DAVE RAMSEY: But if you take just one block out of the structure…
JAN CROUCH: (weeping, indecipherable)
JAMES DOBSON: …the entire building collapses.
JOHN PIPER: Hence, the coffee.
JAMES DOBSON: The church as we know it is weak. It can not survive without coffee. Without it, the perfumed hordes of millenials with their Apple machines will not come. The yuppie parents will fall asleep without their precious Starbuckers. Even the babies in the nursery fiend for the espresso strained through their mother’s bosoms! We take away the coffee…
JOHN PIPER: …it’s like a brush fire, clearing away old dead limbs so that marvelous new growth can occur!
DAVE RAMSEY: (nods, strokes envelopes)
JOHN PIPER: We’re not destroying church…
JAMES DOBSON: …we’re purifying it.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM: Dadgum I only understood about a third of all that. But we’re about to stop you–right boys?
MARK DRISCOLL: (walks over and stands beside Dobson) Nah, brah. The church is weak. It’s time to separate the sheep from the goats. The MMA from the yoga. Taint the flippin’ coffee, Dobsy.
FRANKLIN GRAHAM: (cracks knuckles, turns to Osteen) Well, what about you, Captain Fantastic?
JOEL OSTEEN: Well, glory! I’d just like to take this time to affirm both sides of this issue. The passion that this discourse has brought to the surface is a vibrant reminder of the wholeness that our Savior has promised–
EVERYONE: PICK A SIDE
JOEL OSTEEN: (walks over and stands beside Dobson)
Now Graham is alone.
JOHN PIPER: (voice trembling, moved to tears for no apparent reason) Well…what do you say for yourself now?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM: Y’ALL AIN’T IN CHARGE OF THE CHURCH–MY DADDY IS!
With that, Graham charges across the platform. He rams his shoulder into Driscoll, who goes tumbling over the edge, clipping Matthew Vines, who had been climbing the platform for the past ten minutes and had just now reached the top. Both Vines and Driscoll land safely in open storage containers of coffee beans.
Next, Graham pulls out a dog biscuit and waves it in the air. The Afghan hound atop Crouch’s head pulls its scent. Graham tosses the biscuit into one of the containers and the dog leaps down after it, pulling Crouch down off the platform in an instant. Only a thin cloud of Aqua Net remains where she stood.
Graham turns his attention to Osteen, who simply leaps off the platform to avoid fighting.
JOEL OSTEEN: (falling into coffee beans) BLESSSSSSINGS!
Dave Ramsey steps up to stop Graham, but Graham slaps the envelopes from his hands and into the air.
DAVE RAMSEY: (attempts to grab fluttering envelopes, tumbles off platform) MY BUDGEEEEET
JOHN PIPER: (rolls up sleeves) Dear Franklin, it’s time to give you a lesson in Christian Hedonism.
(Another figure appears on the platform)
RICK WARREN: (charging toward Piper) PURPOSE DRIVEN PASTORRRR!
Warren levels Piper and they begin to wrestle on the platform.
RICK WARREN: (in a Piper headlock, shouting to Graham) I’ve had a change of heart, Frankie! Stop Dobson before he breaks that vial!
Graham reaches Dobson just as he raises the glass above his head. The two men tussle for a few moments. Graham is able to knock Dobson to the ground, but the elder man keeps the poison just out of reach: Dobson opens his palm and allows the vial to roll across the platform. The glass container teeters for a moment and then disappears over the edge toward the coffee below.
Graham does not hesitate: he throws himself headfirst over the platform’s edge, stretching out to reach the falling vial before it shatters and contaminates the coffee supply.
And then everything goes dark.
Graham wakes with a jump. He looks around: he had been asleep, reclined on the couch inside The Exegeticals’ secret headquarters. In the next room, Driscoll and Vines are arguing at the ping pong table over an errant shot. Osteen wanders past the couch, carrying a New Living Translation Bible and an Afghan hound calendar.
JOEL OSTEEN: Blessings, Frank! Did you have a refreshing nap?
Graham’s head is spinning. Was it all a dream? He looks back into the rec room, where Driscoll and Vines are shouting at each other and referencing Dead Sea Scrolls over the disputed point.
It was all a dream. Right?
A figure casts a long shadow over the couch. Graham looks up and his heart skips a beat. It is Dobson, and he is holding something in his hands.
JAMES DOBSON: (smiling; extends steaming cup to Graham) Welcome back, young man. Would you like some coffee?