What's wrong about saying what's wrong about something

What were you expecting?

At the cinema and on YouTube this week you can watch two controversial films: Darren Aronofsky's Noah, and David Cameron's Easter message. As presentations of Christianity I consider both to be incomplete: as I said earlier, I think Aronosky depicted human depravity effectively but was weak on how God communicates with us. As for the Prime Minister, whilst speaking well of Christians (a rare enough event in the UK), he also talked about visiting the places "where Jesus lived and died" - which of course is less than half the story of what Jesus did, especially at Easter!

Luckily for us all there are plenty of people ready and willing to explain what should have been said and done in these situations. I probably agree with some of their criticisms, and I have spoken with people this week about what and how to think about Noah in particular, but I feel a bit of contrarian concern with this way of responding to moments like these. I'd like to take this to the next level by critiquing the critiques.

For one thing, even those of us who wish to give full and complete treatments of everything we speak about don't succeed. I preached at my church this morning on Luke 7:1-10 and didn't even come close to saying all that could be said about it. I did, I hope, say something, and have to be content with that. If that's true for someone who is spending his life trying to help people know, understand and love God, how much more so for anyone with different aims?

Far more often than not in situations like these, Christians are going to have incomplete fragments to work with. A politician trying to saying something about Christianity, a filmmaker taking a story from the Bible and making it serve his preference, we could throw in a footballer thanking God for his ability to kick a ball around too, and even pagan poetry (Acts 17:28): these are not and never could be complete explanations of the Christian hope. Let's not that put that expectation on them and then complain when they fail us. Perhaps instead we should just go straight for the positive and show how these fragments can fit into a great picture?

After all, one of the wonderful things about God is His ability to use that which is less-than-perfect for His perfect means. That's exactly what He did at Easter, using sin and death themselves to defeat sin and death, and thereby bring glory to His Son. A film or YouTube video, well-intentioned or otherwise, should be pieces of cake.