UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, MD—In a dimly lit basement beneath the offices of one of America’s oldest churches, senior leaders representing denominations from all over the spectrum of Christian faith, in conjunction with the CIA, are making the final preparations before they send a highly-skilled time-traveling operative back to the year 1983 in an attempt to change the course of Chris Tomlin’s life, and the state of modern hymn singing forever.
Tomlin, the contemporary Christian music artist known for taking old hymns, putting them to modern musical stylings and adding sentimental, high-pitched bridges and choruses to them, was born in 1972, and received his first guitar when he was 11, according to a CIA investigation attempting to pinpoint the optimal moment to interfere with Tomlin’s life and change the course of history.
“Our goal is to send our operative to that moment in Tomlin’s life to tail him and make sure, at all costs, that his dad does not get him that guitar,” said one of the elders in the secret meeting. “If we can stop this event from happening, we believe we can reset the course of history so that some of the greatest hymns ever written will never have been Tomlinized.”
According to the group’s detailed plans, the hired operative will tail young Tomlin for several months. Then, when Tomlin’s dad buys the guitar, the operative will intercept the package and smash it with a giant sledgehammer. The operative will then replace the guitar with a toy cash register in hopes that Tomlin will go into a lucrative career in retail instead.
The group of parishioners, pastors, elders, deacons and hymn enthusiasts came together back in 2006 after the release of See the Morning, an album in which Tomlin rewrites the classic hymn Amazing Grace. “He had messed with other hymns before that, but Amazing Grace was the last straw,” said another member of the clandestine group. Members grew frustrated that every time they would request a hymn be sung on Sunday, the young, naive worship leader would always default to playing a Chris Tomlin version.
After first commiserating in secret online chat rooms, leaders from the group began to meet regularly in a secret location to discuss real-world solutions to the ongoing issue of hymn-Tomlinization. As Tomlin relentlessly released more rehashed hymns, it became apparent that the group had to do something drastic. “That is when time-travel came into the picture. We had a guy who knew about a secret government project that had dabbled in transchronodynamics, and we found out that if we could gather the funds, just maybe we could do something about Chris Tomlin.”
After receiving CIA support and funding earlier this year, the plan was set in motion.
Though the group had considered other present-day alternatives like knocking Tomlin out and removing his vocal cords, those options only stopped the tidal wave of future hymnal destruction, and would do nothing to fix the hymns already altered. “The damage has been done. The only real solution is to go back and undo the damage—cut it off at the root. If Tomlin disappeared today, all those Tomlinized hymns would still be here. We want to get rid of those, not him. He’s probably a nice guy,” one of the secret group’s leaders remarked.
As the meeting reaches the anticipated moment, a prayer is said and the operative is sent off. As the light dims, a new hope begins to glow in the hearts of those present. A hope that old songs will be sung again, without a repetitive chorus stuck in place of the third verse.