Just posting this comment I made under Nathan's post on my blog here so I don't lose it...
P.S. I stole the graphic above from Nathan's blog. Hope he doesn't mind.
I think real integrity requires being clear about what we think and believe, speaking for that, but then compromising because we know that is how the world works, and we expect others to compromise for us.
I agree with the first half of that sentence, but the second half gives me pause. Maybe I haven’t read what you’ve said carefully enough (only got so much time in the day!), but what you are saying reads to me like this:
“I think real integrity requires saying we believe one thing, then doing another.”
“I think real integrity requires being clear about what we think and believe, speaking for that, but then compromising because the compromise necessary for our society to work is more important than what we think and believe.”
You have said elsewhere that we should not make religious freedom an idol, and yet we should provide religious freedom for others by compromising?
Nathan, there is a huge difference between being gracious in the face of societal demands for ungodliness and voting for ungodliness so that they will perhaps let us live righteously. Or, more to your point, so they will listen to us when we speak about the gospel.
I agree with you that a Christian guy who unlovingly bangs on about the plebiscite and desperately tries to stop the legal creation of same-sex marriage will push people away from Christ rather than reach them for Christ. However…
I disagree with you that a Christian guy who compromises in order to partake in the way our society runs will draw people to Christ. It may draw people to him for a time, but that’s because they get the message that the freedom for people to be who they are and do what they want is more important to Christians than Christian beliefs.
How about a third alternative?
A Christian guy lovingly speaks of what he believes, with understanding and maybe even tears, for the sake of the other without compromising. He loves through action and words, accepts any rejection and suffering, turns the other cheek, returns good for evil, and so demonstrates that the gospel of the kingdom of God and his righteousness is not just belief that can be divided up into bartering chips, but truth worth suffering for.
Some non-believers may be angry or turned off, but if they see Christians speaking the truth with tears, the message will not be that of a Pharisee or a compromiser – it will be a message of love.
Our problem is that we don’t see these issues or the people we disagree with as worth weeping over.