This week’s assignment was to retell a Bible story in a modern setting. You can probably guess which story I did. 😉 Though I’m warning you, it got to be a bit long…
Hidden in a backroom, three seniors at Chaldean Academy conversed in hushed tones. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all,” Regan said, impatiently drumming her perfectly manicured nails. “Class president, StuCo president, now valedictorian? This has to stop.”
“Totally agree,” Al said, popping open a soda can. “I’ve hated that guy ever since he convinced Principal Nezzar only to allow healthy food in the cafeteria. Seriously, that stuff is gross.”
“What makes it worse is he’s one of the orphan kids that got shipped here a few years ago,” Regan ranted. “We were the ones attending Chaldean first, the ones with respectable family backgrounds. If anything, we should be outdoing him in everything. It’s mortifying.”
“Yes,” Edmund agreed ruefully, not moving from his perch at the window. “Yet how can we rid ourselves of a problem like Dan?” He stared at the mountainside with hawk-like intensity, yellow-green eyes searching the mountainside as if he would find the answer to his question etched in its rocky slopes.
“Simple.” Al tossed a potato chip in his mouth. “We knock him down from one of his positions.”
“Knock him from one of his positions?” Regan rolled her sharp blue eyes. “Easier said than done. Our new principal is practically in love with the dude.”
“Put him on academic probation?”
Regan slapped the backside of Al’s head. “Ow!” he complained.
“You idiot. He has the highest GPA in our class. If this goes on he’ll be valedictorian, and we can’t have that.”
“Okay, you’re right.” Al scrunched his features together in thought. “We can get him in trouble for the time when he… when he…”
Regan sighed dramatically. “That’s just it, Al. Dan has a record more spotless than Principal Mede’s new car.”
“So he does,” Edmond agreed, twisting his head around to reveal a crooked smile. “But there is one thing we can use against him.”
There was a sharp knock on Principal Darius Mede’s door. “Come in,” he called. The deep brown door swung open to reveal three familiar faces. “Regan. Albany. Edmund. What brings you here?”
“Do you have a moment?” Regan asked. She gave him a smile like an iced over lake.
“Why yes. I’m always pleased to speak with three of Chaldean’s finest students. Is there a concern you wish to discuss?” Principal Mede replied, shuffling some papers and straightening his spectacles.
“As a matter of fact sir, there is,” Edmund replied, sauntering forward. “You see, we were under the impression Chaldean Academy offers only the finest education. That it stands as an intellectual haven.”
“Erm, well yes,” the principal stammered. Under Edmund’s stare, he suddenly felt reduced to the size of a mouse. Did the students of his school think him incompetent? He couldn’t have that; as principal, he wanted—needed—to be respected. “Has something caused you to feel otherwise?”
“Actually yes.” Regan stepped forward, placing her hands on the enormous oak desk. “It has come to our attention some students believe in God—an old-fashioned, childish fantasy virtually disproven by science. No modern, intellectual school would ever support such an idea.”
“Thus in order to protect the serious students, those desiring a true education, we propose a rule be made to ban any recognition of God,” Edmund added. “Moreover, you’ll be renowned as the most progressive principal Chaldean has seen yet.”
“And how will it be enforced?” Principal Mede asked, leaning forward in his office chair.
“Any kid caught praying or reading a Bible will be kicked out pronto,” Al answered, jerking his thumb at the door. “Because really, no serious student would believe that mumbo jumbo anyway.”
Principal Mede reached for his pen to write down the new rule. “I quite agree, Albany. But given the fact we’re a boarding school positioned in the middle of nowhere, what do you propose we do with expelled students?”
Edmund let out a laugh that sounded more like a screech. “Send them out to the mountain lions for all I care. See what their God can do for them then.”
Dan pushed through the crowd to see what the great fuss was about. Nearly the entire student body of Chaldean Academy was gathered around a paper posted to the wall. A few of the kids threw strange glances at him, whispering behind his back. Being Chaldean’s top student, he was used to getting attention, but somehow it felt different today. “Hey Dan! Hear about the new rule?” his friend Tom greeted him.
“New rule? Is that what all this commotion is about?” Dan asked lifting his head in hopes of getting a look at the paper.
“Yeah. Anyone who shows any sign of believing in God is kicked out.”
Dan dropped the notebook in his hand. “What?!”
“You heard me.”
“But… that’s absurd!”
Tom shrugged. “Well, Principal Mede is real serious about it. No one’s been kicked out yet, but he swears he’ll do it.”
“No. I won’t stand for it,” Dan said with enough force to cause a few heads to turn. He started pushing his way back through the crowd.
“Listen, Dan,” Tom started, following his friend. “I know you’re serious about your religion and all, but just drop it. It’s not worth it.”
“Not worth it! Tom, following God is anything but not worth it!”
“Look. You graduate in a few months. After that you can do all the God stuff you want, but for now just put up an act. Remember, you came from the orphanage. If you get kicked out of this place, you’ve got nowhere to go.”
Dan took in a deep breath. “I know. But God’s more important to me than a place to live. If I get expelled, I get expelled. Then I’ll trust Him to provide for me from there.”
Principal Mede’s door swung open, revealing a trio wearing triumphant expressions. “Please knock before you… oh, it’s you three again. What brings you back to my office?” the principal asked.
“We caught some one breaking your rule today,” Al said with a smug grin.
“Oh? And who might that be?” Principal Mede asked, fidgeting with his pen.
“Dan,” Regan replied.
“Dan, surely he didn’t…”
“Oh but he did,” she interrupted. “He prayed before every meal today, just like always.”
The principal put his face in his hands. “Chaldean Academy hardly has a better student than Dan. Perhaps we could make an exception.”
“Are you sure, principal?” Edmund challenged. “A move like that would put your authority into question.”
Principal Mede shifted uncomfortably. “But… Dan came from an orphanage. Where would he go? These parts aren’t very safe, with the mountain lions…”
“That’s none of our concern. A rule is a rule and you must enforce it,” Edmund insisted, staring deeply into the principal’s eyes.
“Very well,” the principal consented after a long moment. “Dan will be expelled.”
After the three students left his room, the principal slumped in despair. How could he do this to his favorite student? But Edmund was right; his authority could not be compromised. He would send Dan out for one night, just to show the school he meant business. Then, if Dan was unharmed, he could return to Chaldean in the morning. One night out in the open couldn’t hurt. The mountain lions wouldn’t really come, would they? “Please stay safe,” he muttered, suddenly wishing for a God to pray to.
The moment the first ray of dawn struck the morning sky, Principal Mede ran out the door, most of Chaldean Academy following behind. He hadn’t slept a wink the entire night. Each mountain lion cry he heard chilled him to the bone, and there were more last night than he’d ever heard. A garbage can lay on one side, its contents spilled on the ground. So they were hungry, too. Of course. He collapsed in despair. There was no way Dan was still safe.
After some time—he wasn’t sure how long—there was a hand tapping his shoulder. “Umm… Principal Mede. I heard you were looking for me.”
The principal jumped up to find Dan standing before him, dark hair ruffled and school uniform wrinkled from his night outside but otherwise unharmed. “Dan how are you… how are you..?”
“Alive?” he laughed. “Well, I saw quite a few mountain lions last night, so I can only think of one explanation. God protected me.”
“Yes… yes, He must have.” Principal Mede stood up, facing the students who had gathered around the scene. “Students, I would like to announce that from now on, Chaldean Academy will teach the truth. Dan’s God is the true God. Anyone who disagrees with this being taught can see me. And you, Edmund, Albany and Regan,” he said, turning to face the three flabbergasted students. “Are expelled. Pack your bags and be gone by lunch. I don’t want to see or hear from you again.”
So justice came to the plotters and Dan prospered for the remainder of his high school career, but most importantly, Chaldean Academy became a place where the truth was taught: Dan’s God was real and alive.