Good-bye, San Francisco.

An old easy-listening standard was “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and it was easy to identify with that sentiment. I had occasion to visit The City by the Bay three times over the course of twenty years, and always was captivated by its charm.

While two of the three occasions were business-related, there always was time to ride the cable cars, stroll through Chinatown, visit Ghirardelli Square, and even take the boat ride to Alcatraz.

The hill-top Fairmont Hotel and Nob Hill were known for sophisticated, but friendly, hospitality and good food. I had my very first espresso on Fisherman’s Wharf, and can still taste the sourdough bread from corner bakeries. There’s nothing quite like it. Mmmm.

Today, in several places, tents of the homeless have replaced the food carts, and drug addicts lie on the streets where mimes and musicians performed. Open drug trafficking, prostitution, and property crime have flooded the culturally diverse downtown neighborhoods.

COVID-19 and a new wave of easily obtainable drugs have only made a bad situation intolerable. Whatever your politics, it’s clear that whoever has been leading that city is on the wrong track, only the latest indicator of how our culture has departed from the Judaeo-Christian ethic and even common sense.

Our other major cities are seeing similar problems, which are stoked by calls to “defund the police,” as well as those who tell you which lives matter. Jesus said that “Wisdom is justified by her children,” and it’s all too clear that the same can be said of folly.

While this saddens believers, it should not surprise us. The same patterns of turning away from God and good are what landed Israel in Babylon for all of seventy years. Jeremiah 25:1-11

The difference is that in Israel, people were exiled by a foreign army, but in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Baltimore, people are being displaced by the living conditions. How ironic that such places proudly call themselves “Sanctuary Cities.”

All this didn’t just happen. We are merely watching the law of sowing and reaping. Rather than giving up, we should redouble our prayers for our culture to wake up, and for sane leadership to replace the failed, decades-long policies which have driven the demise of our cities.

The alternative will be people leaving San Francisco, hearts and all.

“Father, we pray for our cities, and ask that you save us from ourselves and our rebellion. We ask for wisdom to displace the folly as light displaces darkness, and that you empower us to do all we can to right the wrongs, including supporting responsible leadership.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

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