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Crystal Cathederal – Garden Grove

In Temples of LA on August 17, 2010 at 12:52 am

When you see Robert Schuller preaching from the pulpit on his “Hour of Power” TV program, he is standing inside the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.  In the early seventies, Schuller had a vision of a church built entirely of glass and then, we were told by the docent who gave us our tour, he met “entirely by accident” the most prominent architect working with glass, the great Philip Johnson.

Divine intervention or not, the place is amazing.  This description of the particulars of the building might blow your mind.   I imagine attending a service there would be inspiring — the light inside the cathedral is just breathtaking.

I know someone else who had a vision to build a special place.  That was Hubert Eaton, founder of Forest Lawn.  His cemetery in Glendale was built upon his firm belief in a “Christ who smiles and loves you and me.”  He chiseled this message into the giant marble  “Builder’s Creed” which stands outside the mausoleum containing the mortal remains of W.C. Fields, Carol Lombard and Michael Jackson.

Eaton spent the rest of his life searching for art that would confirm this conviction.  He didn’t have much luck.  The archives at Forest Lawn are crowded with sketches, paintings and statuary that didn’t catch that magic smile.

Dr. Schuller also preaches a singularly Californian theology.  Eaton created a graveyard “devoid of misshapen monuments and other customary signs of earthly death”;  Schuller’s crystal Christianity isn’t muddied by untoward contemplation of  sin.

And Schuller seems to have had a lot more luck with the whole grinning Jesus thing.

Everyone is cracking a smile in Garden Grove.  Jesus, Terminator 2: Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph.   Everyone but Briar…

This is a Definite – you must visit.  Just be sure to you get a nap in earlier, drink plenty of milk and wear fresh diapers.

More Temples of L.A.

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