Saturday, February 14, 2015

Looking for church at California Adventure Park

California is really a pretty churchy place, as any fourth grader who had to construct a model of a mission could tell you. It may currently have a reputation as a pretty secular place, but I'm not buying it. Sure, in parts of the state, the percentage of people who attend church is pretty low. But Mindy and I have visited a good deal of the state over the last couple months, and everywhere we've gone, there are plenty of churches to be found.

So when we visited Disney's miniature of the state, California Adventure, we assumed the church -- or at least spiritual things -- would surely be part of the park. We just would need to keep our eyes open. It was tougher than we expected.

Obviously the missions, an essential part California history, were the churches we were most likely to see. There are  21 standing missions build by Catholic missionaries before California was a state. How could Disney possibly ignore them?

It didn't initially. Mission Tortilla Factory used to provide yummy fresh tortillas and remind guests of the history of the Franciscans who had built the missions. But it's closed now. (It's been replaced by the Boudin Bakery Tour which does hand out yummy sourdough bread. The closest thing it comes to churches and their part in the history of California is mentioning the city named after St. Francis.)

So we continued to look for a church. We did find this stained glass, but I don't think this is a saint or a story from Scripture.

We thought we saw what looked like a church. It had a spire and everything.

But it was a theater, a replica of the theater that debuted "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". 

If we couldn't find a church, we thought perhaps we could find some representation of Biblical or spiritual ideas. There is a degree of moral judgment to be found in the place. As in much of the Western world, smokers are sent into exile. I wish they had found a more fun, park appropriate name for the smokers place. Pete's Dragon's Smoking Land, perhaps, or Cruella de Vil Zone. 

Surely the spiritual could be found at The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror. The Twilight Zone TV show was an anthology with stories variously from the genres of horror and science fiction and fantasy. There were episodes that featured angels and even episodes that featured Satan himself. Even the episodes with ghosts presented a world that was more than material. But in the "story" of the ride, lightning hit a Hollywood hotel causing five passengers in an elevator to became non-corporal beings. They're never called ghosts, so it's never clear whether this is a science fiction story or a horror story; whether the cause of the event is supernatural or, say, an unexplained result of a quantum physics anomaly. So, cool ride, but nothing spiritual here.

The park isn't really concerned about the eternal, but rather temporary pleasure. 

Still, you can't help coming across something along the road if you really look for it.

I did finally find something that made me think of the God of Scripture. I saw a picture of a Lion and a Lamb. Many people misremember the picture of God's Kingdom from Isaiah 11. They think it talks of the lion lying down with the lamb. Actually in that passage the wolf is with the lamb and the lion is with the calf and the yearling. But Revelation 5 presents Jesus as both the Lion and the Lamb.

So these signs made me think of Jesus in Revelation 5, even though they're an ad for toilet paper.

-- Dean