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Daniel 4

09.03.2010

Let’s check in with our friend Daniel, shall we?

 
Me:  Hey, Dizzle, what’s the haps?*
Daniel:  Big stuff going down in B-town, man.  Ned had another whack dream, and he asked me to interpret it.
 
Me:  That had to boost the old ego, yeah?
 
Daniel:  Totally.  You know, people are saying all the time that we glorify God in our work.  Sho’nuff, I try to be good at what I do, and I find myself in situations to do His work.
 
Me:  True dat.  It’s always funny when Christians start hating on Christian musicians that go ‘crossover.’  You’d think we’d want to support a Christian in any field trying to be a the top of their game.  Instead, believers got to be all tribal ‘n’ that.  Shame.
 
Daniel:  No joke.
 
Me:  So how’d it go down?
 
Daniel:  Crazy, man.  I tell him that God’s not down with his arrogance and that he’s going to lose his mind for a while.  He didn’t listen, and it happened.  Ned totally wigs out and hits bottom.  Takes seven years** to put his junk back together.  But he gets it.  He sends out a note to the whole empire, giving God His props.
 
Me:  Gnarly, man.  Just goes to show:  planting seeds…planting seeds.  He didn’t have to believe you right away; you still kept it real and he came around.
 
Daniel:  Yeah, it’s like the Man says:  ‘He who exaults himself will be humbled, but he who is humbled will be exaulted.’  Ned knows both sides of that now.
 
Me:  Cool, man, cool.  What you got going on now?
 
Daniel:  I gotta bounce, yo.  I hear Ned’s starting a zoo in town, and there’s a lion exhibit that’s supposed to be off the hook.  I’ll let you know how it is.
 
Me:  Uh, yeah.  About that…
He’ll figure that out on his own.  I embarassed myself by crafting that ridiculos conversation to address a point about this story in particular, but that ultimately applies to all scripture.  Talking with a buddy last night, we got into the post-modern trend in literature where authors like to play games with narration and storytelling, getting you to doubt whether the information being presented in the book is true and/or complete.
In previous ages, most fiction was authoritative.  The author told you what happened, and by the end of the book you have a good idea of all the details and all the motives of everyone involved.  These days, you’re left wondering whether you’ve been lied to by a character/narrator or whether the characters/narrator are reliable.  Although it’s a movie, Memento gives a good idea of what I’m talking about.
Daniel 4 is written entirely in flashback mode.  Ned writes a note to the empire praising God’s greatness, and then flashes back to tell the story of how he ignored Daniel’s interpretation of his dream, went nuts, and was restored, all as a process to coming to faith in God.  Because it’s scripture, do we assume that the account is authoritative/complete/honest?  Might Ned have a motivation to tweak the details?
Like I said, it’s not an issue intrinsic to this story.  The flashback and first-person account just made for a nice connection between today’s reading and last night’s conversation.

One last question I have concerns the historicity of this account.  Do we have independent evidence that something like this happened?  That Ned (who we do have extra-Biblical knowledge of) went through an episode like this?  I suppose I could investigate and post it here.  Eh, we’ll see…

————
*This is how all prophets talk (mixed, incoherent slang, apparently).  Just play it cool.
**So says the ESV Study Bible, since ‘seven periods of time’ remains vague.
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