When my kids were younger, shifting seasons carried a certain excitement. It meant new routines, an altered landscape, or digging through hand-me-downs in storage bins, with fall’s cooler air holding the greatest promise of change. Crisp skies, glowing leaves and the sounds of a football game—all seemed to charge my home with uncommon zest.
For the past couple of years, though, I’ve struggled to feel that old excitement. Our world isn’t changing, except for the worse, it seems. Its news obscures the blooming visuals of nature’s happier alterations, even as the weather teases us with spring’s warmth and impending arrival.
The drab realities of a city can hang like a tarp over spring’s dogwoods and blue skies; during more than 25 years in Atlanta, I’ve watched its Democrat-sanctioned decline. The Buckhead community—a piggy-bank of sorts—recently battled to form a less gangster-esque kind of city; but some turncoat Republicans joined the feckless mayor to scuttle that hopeful plan.
Fish rots from the head down, and our city is a case in point. A past Atlanta mayor, in an act of public safety heroism, installed rainbow-striped LGBTQ crosswalks with a declaration that “light defeats the darkness”. Another mayor closed the city jail to repurpose it as a “center for equity.” Our current mayor once voted to withhold police funding until the city “reimagined” public safety.
At least they can now claim some success—public safety lives only in our re-imagination, and criminals race across rainbows on their way to the next carjacking.
Atlanta is no different than most of the left’s other urban trophies. Its homeless build encampments of tarps, furniture, and bikes; it views zoning laws as weapons for equity through density; and its failing schools are largely reflective of the same progressive ideas that ravage the rest of America.
Each of these complex problems requires a separate essay, but the principle uniting them all is very simple; where egalitarian fantasy and leftism reign, so do incompetency, crime, and decay. Failure isn’t limited to the political left, but enshrining it in policy is, it seems.
What does this have to do with changing seasons? Everything, since our world spins under the harmony of immutable laws. The nations rage, the wicked scheme, and people suffer and die. Yet, somehow the earth continues its orbit, the sun still rises, and tides continue on schedule—all without assistance from the earthly powers that be.
Nature’s beautiful order may seem cold comfort in a world beset by evil. The depraved and corrupt are our culture’s stars, not Orion or Ursa Major; human death feels like permanence, not just winter dormancy. Seasonal patterns don’t seem to soften the city’s crime, suffering and blight.
Yet, here is where nature points us to our hope. Its patterns are the revelation of something larger, the invisible hand of mercy behind it all. The God who suspended the earth with his physics and uncanny artistry has also imprinted his laws of nature on us.
These laws shape protective cultural norms in countries around the world but are most famously infused in the founding of our own. The “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” stem abuses from human nature; they protect us from schemes that, if not for his mercy, would eventually consume us all.
Although natural laws don’t cure the disease at the root of our mortal flaw, their correctives point to our need for a redemptive solution. The chaos we experience in what Augustine called the City of Man finds its cure in the diametrically opposite City of God.
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