Yes - it is a mouthful. [It is a play on a famous article entitled 'the unbearable lightness of being postmodern']. I am trying to express an alarm over something which restricts the reach of God's mission in the world through us. What is it?
It is the hold which disjunctive thinking can have over us. What do I mean? Disjunctive thinking is the tendency to live according to an "either this or that" pattern. It is kinda like putting "vs" between two words when an "and" is what is needed. Let's try some examples...
(a) The recent post on Truth and Love is one example.
(b) A more ancient post (11 March 2006) raised the merits of church with External focus and church with Internal focus. Is church just about mission - or is it also about maturity? It is both. Mission by a people who are not Maturing is likely to be a Mess!
(c) Church vs Kingdom is another. How is it possible to be enthusiastic about one and not the other? Just read Ephesians 1-3 alongside the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and see if such a disjunction is possible. It isn't! So many other disjunctions gather here: gathered church vs scattered church; incarnational vs attractional models of mission (why not both, for God's sake!?)...
There are many, many more disjunctions...
Head vs Heart; Word vs Spirit; Work vs Worship; Grace vs Truth; Secular vs Sacred; Fences vs Wells; Theory vs Practice; Being vs Doing; Academic vs Devotional; Monday vs Sunday; Quality vs Quantity; Salt vs Light; Contemporary vs Ancient - on and on it goes. Can you think of some others?
If mission is to be robust then we must repent of this unbearable lightness of being disjunctive. It is shallow. It creates a weighty burden out of a superficial lightness. It is short-sighted.
I offer two comments to tease your further reflection:
(a) Embrace a space idea. Disjunction tends to create two circles in which there is no overlap. We function in one or the other. I wonder if the ellipse with two internal poles is a better spatial image. What do you think? Advantages? Disadvantages?
(b) Embrace a time idea. Disjunction is usually resolved with a simple "both:and" and therefore an affirmation of both sides. I wonder if this is subtle enough. I wonder whether it is wiser to be sensitive to the need for a sequence - "first this: then that". What do you think?