To that question, many of my readers will respond, “Who is Lena Dunham?” If you have never heard of this “actress/entertainer,” you should be rewarded forthwith. The star of HBO’s Girls, she has been foisted upon an unsuspecting public by media elites in New York and Hollywood. Now, the public who has actually heard of Ms. Dunham, much less watched anything that she has appeared on — including this past weekend’s low-rated Saturday Night Live — is rather small, but you would not know that by the amount of coverage that she has received in the Mainstream Media. For all their herculean efforts, including appearances by Dunham on NBC’s The Today Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers, she managed to bring SNL its second lowest rated episode of the season.
Apart from the few fan-boys and fan-girls of Dunham’s (some of whom are employed at television networks that are supposed to care about ratings), it should shock no reasonably objective person that Dunham’s mocking of Christianity and other crude skits on Saturday Night Live was not only NOT funny, but was NOT a hit with the public-at-large. While it is a sad commentary on our culture, the open mocking and ridicule of Christian beliefs in popular media is really not surprising. Of course, what would be truly surprising and truly edgy would be for Dunham and the “gifted” writers at SNL to do a skit involving Mohammed in a cave. I won’t hold my breath!
So, how should Christians respond to the Lena Dunham’s of the world, those who insult not just our beliefs, but us personally? First, we need to remember that Jesus told us that we would be “blessed when (not if) they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12) Granted, it’s hard to “be glad and rejoice” when you are insulted and ridiculed. But, what is the alternative? That’s right. It’s to get defensive, angry, and bitter, so much so that we lash out at our “enemies.” Instead of being known by our love (which, I think Jesus said includes turning the other cheek), many Christians are ready to direct our righteous indignation on those who, quite frankly, are only doing what their human nature impels them to do.
I do not know Lena Dunham. I can honestly say that I have never watched a minute of Girls nor do I intend to. But, should I have the opportunity to meet Lena Dunham in person, I would try to — in my attitude, actions, and words — build a relational bridge which includes love, grace, and truth. Would it be easy? Probably not, but one cannot say with certainty until confronted with a specific situation. Far too many Christians, if and when confronted with those situations in our own backyard, fail to take advantage of the opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who seem to not know Him.
It would be convenient to ignore Lena Dunham and others like her. It would even be easy to “hate” (i.e., “strongly dislike” because Christians aren’t supposed to hate) people like Lena Dunham. However, for Christians, I don’t believe either option is Biblically viable. While we may not have to watch her on Saturday Night Live or Girls, we can pray that God would bring across Lena’s path believers — like those she has ridiculed, mocked, and insulted — who would do what is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit — love her unconditionally. When Christians are known more for our loving than for our judging, we will start to see God’s love do the truly miraculous and marvelous!