Stay Connected; Don't Compromise
It's pretty easy to stay connected with culture if you compromise your beliefs, values and morals. Water everything down. Explain hard things in the Bible away as culturally biased. Avoid delicate matters and focus only on core issues. Preach tolerance and never draw any lines -- let people figure out those things for themselves. There are lots of churches that do this. But they're not really telling people the truth.
On the other hand, it's pretty easy to take a stand and throw rocks at a culture from which you've completely disconnected. Rattle your sabre and rail against the sins of the world "out there" -- preach against anything and everything from gay marriage to rock-and-roll music. Tell of the evils of social drinking and R-rated movies. Bring the load and tell the world off!
We like either/or -- it's easy. Compromise. Or disconnect. Pick one or the other and you have an uncomplicated way of going about things.
Jesus doesn't really allow us to choose like that. Jesus says (and demonstrated how to do this in his own life) that it's possible to maintain clear moral standards while also communicating mercy, grace and compassion.
Jesus sat and ate with lawyers and hookers and people who probably used terrible language and drank light beer. Those people loved Jesus -- even though they were nothing like him. These same people don't much care for his followers anymore.
The world "out there" deserves straight talk from Christians. Don't avoid or dodge what the Bible says. But maybe we should spend more energy raising the bar for those inside the church and demonstrating patience and tolerance toward those outside the church. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will just those outside." (1 Corinthians 5:12-13a)
Here's what our position in this world ought to look like: Stay connected; don't compromise.
Oh, and I might add one more: Calm down a little. God's in control. He doesn't need your help with keeping the world rotating. He's got a plan, and he's not worried about a thing.
Calm. Connected. No compromise. Just like Jesus.