The Good Life and Lena Dunham

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 5.04.27 PMRichard Mouw* makes an interesting comment in his book on common grace: perhaps the only way to really know how well a moral theology does is to see it worked out in a group:

We can fully understand the claims of a theological perspective only if we attempt to see what it would look like if those claims were fleshed out in the life of a community. (74)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, in other words. Are Christian lives happier than secular lives? Of course, a utilitarian metric like gross community happiness can’t constitute a full apologetic for the Christian worldview. God actually promises trials and even chastisement to his children, and the definition of “happiness” isn’t neutral—it’s defined by your worldview. For example, what kind of time scale can we apply to the definition of happiness? The materialist limits that scale to fourscore and ten, the Christian includes eternity.

But given those caveats, you gotta read Ross Douthat’s little piece on the it-girl of the moment, Lena Dunham, and her hit HBO show Girls. Never seen it. Never even seen a clip. But Douthat’s words ring true from what I’ve read about it.

Here’s a snippet:

The thing that makes Dunham’s show so interesting, the reason it inspired a certain unsettlement among some of its early fans, is that it often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it: as a collision of narcissists educated mostly in self-love, a sexual landscape distinguished by serial humiliations — a realm at once manic and medicated, privileged and bereft of higher purpose.

*Pronounced like Chairman Mao, and one of those theologians I firmly disagree with sometimes and yet can’t help learning from.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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