The book The Nobility of Failure by Ivan Morris was one of the best books on Japanese History I have ever read. It deals with a series of "failed heroes" - people who tried to accomplish a goal, but failed, and then became heroes in Japanese Culture.
Why? How could they become heroes? Because their devotion to their cause, even when it was clearly lost, showed their "Makoto" - their sincerity, their purity of heart. Japanese History has a long history of creative changing of sides - the fact that these people don't jump ship shows how much they support their position, and thus garners and earns respect. (If you have seen the movie "The Last Samurai", it is based loosely on the life of Saigo Takamori, who led the Satsuma Rebellion. He is one of the heroes that Morris profiles)
What is fascinating about this, and what we might learn from this, is that with these heroes the focus isn't on winning or survival - but remaining true to their principles. And in fact, in many cases because they remain true, because they don't sell out, those principles are then extolled and have more influence. Of course, this all ties into the Bushido - the Way of the Warrior. Do you know what the Way of the Warrior is? The Way of the Warrior is to die.
Now for something that isn't really syncretistic. . .
Let us compare this approach to what our approach to this life as Christians are to be. Are we called to be faithful, or to do whatever we need to do to be on the winning, popular side? Are we to love our life in this world, or do we lose our life in this world? When all the tides of the world say "do this", do we capitulate or do we resist and say, "As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord."
Or to put it another way - the way of the Christian is to die. . . to die to sin, to die to self, and to live to and with Christ.
And sometimes, when we are in that moment of dying to self, when we are holding our ground as the world runs off around us. . . on whatever issue it is where the world is pressuring us - abortion, homosexuality, women's ordination, retaining the liturgy - our old foe loves to come to us and say, "Your cause is pointless -- all you are going to do is drive yourself into the mud and drag your family and your congregation down with you. Give in, go with the flow, it's just the times."
We are called to resist - to bear witness to the truth - even at expense to ourselves. And this is not merely for our own benefit (for remaining faithful even unto the crown of life everlasting IS for our benefit), but also for the witness and encouragement and hope it provides for others of the faith.
This is something we see throughout history.
Then the early LCMS rejected revivalistic theology and insisted on doctrine - many in the US viewed it as a drastic failure. It was a wonderful thing, and ought to shape us today.
When Luther was declared an outlaw - again, he bore faithful witness.
When the various saints and martyrs were sent to their death, it was a failure (except in terms of entertainment value) in the eyes of the world - but again, hope and inspiration for generations of the faithful. I'm particularly favorable to Ignatius of Antioch in particular ("I have no delight in corruptible food, nor in the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.")
And of course, the highest example would be Christ Himself - the world saw the cross as scorn and shame and foolishness - when in reality it was the Wisdom of God for our salvation.
Stick to your guns, Christians! Don't think like a win at all cost American - rather, be faithful above all things.