The Common Good
July-August 2002

Live by the Black Hawk…

by Mark J. Molldrem | July-August 2002

In response to the Commentary "Black Hawk Move Over" (by Rose Marie Berger), I would ask that you not be too quick to move the Black Hawks over too far.

In response to the Commentary "Black Hawk Move Over" (by Rose Marie Berger, March-April 2002), I would ask that you not be too quick to move the Black Hawks over too far. We live in a messy world that requires more than one way to skin the cat. As Martin Luther reminds us, God rules the world through law and government, which are licensed to exact his judgment upon evil, which is not always ready to sit down, dialog, and listen to reason. There are times it must be constrained by the very forces it seeks to use to dismantle God's order in the world. Thus the Black Hawk, or in more ancient times, "the sword."

There is a dialectic in the Christian witness that the world does not readily understand because it looks for simplistic answers, and it delights in finding apparent inconsistencies in the church's witness. But this must not daunt the church. There is room in the arsenal of Christian witness to include both the sword and the olive branch. The unnerving experience is to discern which one is required to accomplish God's purposes at a given time in history. Those who brandish the sword are subject to the same temptation as those who lift up the olive branch: zealous self-righteousness. Both voices need to be heard—most often in the same public square, even if not on the same side of the street.

Mark J. Molldrem
Saginaw, Michigan

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