I've been reading this essay recently. Really, really good. Tim Keller recommended it at the DG conference last week.
Soft Difference, by Mirslav Volf
A juicy teaser paragraph:
The stress on Christian difference notwithstanding, the "world" does not seem a monolithic place in 1 Peter. We encounter evil people who persecute Christians and who will continue to do the same, blaspheming what is most holy to Christians (4:4,12). We come across ignorant and foolish people who will be silenced by Christian good behavior (2:15). We meet people who know what is wrong and what is right and are ready to relate to Christians accordingly (2:14). Finally, we encounter people who see, appreciate, and are finally won over to the Christian faith (2:12; 3:1).48 Thus, the picture is more complex than just the two extreme and contrary reactions. This testifies to a sensitivity in 1 Peter for the complexity of the social environment.
Read the whole thing.