Scorched Earth

I have been hearing the phrase “scorched earth” since 1991 when the Iraqi forces set fire to the oil wells in Kuwaiti.  Black smoke filled the skies leaving an apocalyptic feel to the observer.

According to, this phrase is defined as:

“A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy while it is advancing through or withdrawing from a location. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, for example food sources, water supplies, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the locale’s people themselves.”

While I had only heard of the phrase in 1991, this article says it’s been practiced though out history in man’s military conflict with other men/nations.  But at some point in our history, this ideology started raising it’s head in our political world.  It was no longer tolerated to have a difference of opinion, one had to destroy the other opinion and all things associated with that person and his opinion.

noun: tol-er-ance – the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.  “the tolerance of corruption”  synonyms: acceptance, toleration

It is not very surprising that this intellectual warfare has moved from Washington D.C to our state capitols, to our city governments, to our school systems, to our churches, to our families , to our friends.  We have to demonize someone with a different opinion, lifestyle, or belief.  They must be destroyed.  We must be elevated as the supreme judge/thinker.

Does anyone else see a danger to our society by following this path?  Does anyone else see the danger of not being able or willing to talk to someone face to face, to see the nuances of their facial expressions, to see if they are being serious or sarcastic?

It’s important to see someone, but it’s equally important to listen to someone.  I think we have or are losing the ability to listen to what someone is trying to tell us.  What many call listening is actually  just impatiently waiting to interject their next talking point.

Recently in my state, our public school teachers staged a walk out for additional funding.  Our state has kicked the can, on education and many other things, down the road with out giving the proper attention to these issues for too long.  My point here is not to take sides on the issue (I see real concerns on both sides of the discussion), but as an observer of mankind.

From my viewpoint, the ‘elephant’ was so big, they could not eat it in one bite (as the old saying goes).  It seemed to me, it would take commitment and time to reverse the course we have been on to create a new atmosphere and direction of excellence in education  for our state.  I think everyone wants quality education in our public schools, but how do we get there?  As I said, it’s a very complex and difficult situation.

So as I was observing, the state teachers came in with a list of demands.  The state legislators looked at the demands and made some changes, but not all of changes demanded.  To make those changes taxes would have to be raised.  There is a balance of being able to raise taxes and losing your tax base.  That’s simple economics.  At some point, the tax base, if they feel they are overtaxed, will pack up and leave.

This was an important first step.  Other steps need to be taken.  Other areas to be examined for additional help.

The two groups came to an impasse after the first week.  BOTH SIDES started make ugly/hateful statements concerning the other side.  Scorched earth reared it’s head in my state.  I didn’t want to think of it happening here, but it did.

If we destroy one another, how will we survive?  We need one another.  We have to learn, again, how to have a difference of opinion and live together.

I want our families, our churches, our communities, our state)s), our nation to work together to build up one another and be blessed.  How does that happen?

May I suggest 135 words to guide us:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3: 12-17 ESV


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