For me, there was a chasm between deep faith, and the pursuit of excellence. Understanding unconditional grace meant that there was no work to be done, and having incredible work ethic equated to a lack of faith. Those were the simple explanations, but both were untrue.
The truth was, faith and excellence were intricately intertwined. One could have deep-rooted faith, and yet, maintain great work ethic.
In the same way, one can be pro-life, AND respect the sacredness of a woman's body.
One can support gun ownership, AND demand stricter regulation.
One can follow a diet/workout regime, AND still be overweight.
What connects the two extremes? Honestly, sometimes it's so difficult to understand, that it really is easier to say the two just can't work together. But we'd have to make too many assumptions (probably false) to do so.
In the end, it's undeniable. Explainable or not, two extremes CAN be connected, even by the slightest of invisible threads.