Every grammar and every narrative is an imposition; every source of inequality in power is a source of intimidation and force; even love has force—for it draws and compels people in ways that they may not desire in themselves. Thus, as long as the church is constituted by human beings and is a human institution, it will participate in the structures of power at work in the world and will exercise a power that is spiritually and ethically ambiguous at best.
…Christian witness is fated to exist in the tension between the historical and the transcendent; between the social realities that press on human existence and the spiritual and ethical requirements of the gospel; between the morality of the society in which Christian believers live and the will of God. These oppositions are a fact of existence for the church and each Christian believer and they pull in conflicting directions—one toward the necessities of survival and the other toward the perfect will of God. There is no place of equilibrium between these oppositions and no satisfying resolutions. In this word, the church can never be in repose. The tension is not lessened by the fact that there are unavoidable ambiguities that inhere in the application of biblical promises, values, and ideals to everyday life. Nor is it lessened by the fact that the love required of the Christian is unlivable, except in flawed approximation.
To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter, pages 182 to 183.