So where did you get that book idea?
The author's dreaded question. Where did the inspiration come from for the book? Usually I have a hard time pinpointing it, but not Den. For some reason, I recall the exact moment the idea for the book came to me.
It came to me in a Gen Ed class.
Yes, seriously. It was an Old Testament studies class where you literally read through the Old Testament in 15 weeks. 39 books. Psalms (a book that has literally 150 chapters) had to be plowed through in one day.
It was a killer class.
But one of the units covered the Book of Daniel. Yeah, the dude tossed into a pit full of lions because he prayed in public. Sound a bit like social media or even some public institutions.
But here's the catch, the first three chapters of Daniel are super interesting also. The lion's den thing doesn't even happen until chapter six (which will happen in the sequel of Den).
This guy is a POW in the world's largest empire (think the Rome of the times). He's a teenager.
Let that sink in. He's 15 (approx.).
This is one of the most impressionable periods of his life. He's ripped from his home, torn from his Jewish religion, watching the Babylonians set fire to his home and kill his loved ones, and thrust into a completely different culture.
Now he's forced to learn subjects that were no-nos to the Jews of the time (astrology, Babylonian pagan religion). On top of that, he has to master a new language. King Nebuchadnezzer even changes Daniel's name to completely erase his identity.
So how does he hold onto to any part of the life he left behind?
As we continue to read, he still manages to cling to elements of his Jewish culture and still thrives in Babylon. In fact, he's climbing up the social ladder and calling big-shots. How the heck does he manage to balance the two? As a teenager?
Then I think, "Holy crap. That's just like high school."
(Or college, for that matter)
Teenagers, not just Christian teenagers, are forced to change their identity. Especially when they enter a public school environment, it's mold or die. So how does one stand up for what they believe in an environment that threatens to obliterate either their identity or the person themselves? How do they get involved in activities and clubs and thrive when thriving means becoming faceless and nameless?
Yes, I put the first three chapters of Daniel into the modern times.
Yes, Daniel gets changed to Danny and instead of being a POW in Babylon, he's a sophomore in high school whose forced to transfer to his rival school King's Academy.
Yes, Babylon is now rural Pennsylvania (weird, right?).
But there's so much more behind the story.
There's horrible hazing rituals, and roommates who leave socks on doors, and administrations who don't give a (public school word) about the kids. There's bullying, dealing with anxiety attacks, and desensitization to pain and suffering.
It's America. It's the world. It's what teens face every day when going through doors marked by security alarms into schools.
Yes, even Christian schools.
It's that our schools have become dens. For teachers and students alike. And standing up for what you believe becomes far more dangerous when sitting means surviving.
So how did Daniel do it? How does Danny survive the Den?
I'll let you know on June 3rd 2019.