Monday, December 1, 2014

Yet Another Problem With Sierra Madre's Nativity Scene?

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Yesterday I received the following pictures from a concerned resident. She had read Saturday's article (link) about the continuing travails of the pink cow in the Kersting Court creche (or Nativity Scene), and thought I needed to see what she had discovered there as well. Her photos were taken in 2013. A devoted believer, the witness who sent these in found what she saw there to be disturbing. It is the first time the photos have been shared.

The source of these pictures was very specific about her wish to keep her name out of this. As is our practice, we are more than happy to comply. We honor such requests.


In the above photo the Angel Gabriel (who delivered to the Virgin Mary the message that she will give birth to the Son of God), had been placed in a manger where, when the moment arrives, the infant Jesus will rest. The thing you need to notice in this first picture is that a coin has been placed over the visible eye of Gabriel.

The Angel Gabriel depicted as dead?
The picture to the left shows that coins have been placed over both eyes of the Angel Gabriel. Angels, as I am sure you learned long ago, serve God eternally in Heaven. Whereas placing coins over the eyes of anyone in the manner shown here is typical of a centuries old tradition used to communicate the news of someone's death.

My assumption is that whoever put the Angel Gabriel in that manger, and then placed large coins over his eyes, meant to convey the impression that at least one key eternal figure in the central mystery of the Christian religious experience has died. The intended message being that the power of those who rule in Heaven has now gone, and with it all hopes of eternal salvation as well.

That is, needless to say, a very dark message to be sending the believers of Sierra Madre. Particularly from Kersting Court at Christmas time. You have to wonder why someone would do this. Or thought that nobody would notice so troubling a deed.

On the website Answers.com the practice of putting coins on the eyes of the dead is explained this way (link):

Why did they put coins in dead person's eyes? In Greek mythology, the coins were so the souls could pay the cost for Charon to ferry them across the River Styx. 

Different cultures have different reasons for doing this. It is a custom in some cultures to place coins on the eyelids of the dead to keep their eyes closed. 

The custom is thought to have begun for cosmetic reasons. When a person dies, in a short time their eyes sink far back into their head as they dehydrate, causing the face to present an appearance that many people find disturbing. Placing coins over the eye sockets covered the eyes and made the visage less unpleasant for the bereaved. Nowadays morticians slip plastic fillers behind the eyelids to eliminate this effect.


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A variation on this theme called "Charon's obol" is described by Wikipedia (link):

Charon's obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth[1] of a dead person before burial. Greek and Latin literary sources specify the coin as an obol, and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Archaeological examples of these coins, of various denominations in practice, have been called "the most famous grave goods from antiquity."[2]

The custom is primarily associated with the ancient Greeks and Romans, though it is also found in the ancient Near East. In Western Europe, a similar usage of coins in burials occurs in regions inhabited by Celts of the Gallo-Roman, Hispano-Roman and Romano-British cultures, and among the Germanic peoples of late antiquity and the early Christian era, with sporadic examples into the early 20th century.

Although archaeology shows that the myth reflects an actual custom, the placement of coins with the dead was neither pervasive nor confined to a single coin in the deceased's mouth.[3] In many burials, inscribed metal-leaf tablets or exonumia take the place of the coin, or gold-foil crosses in the early Christian era. The presence of coins or a coin-hoard in Germanic ship-burials suggests an analogous concept.[4]

The phrase "Charon’s obol" as used by archaeologists sometimes can be understood as referring to a particular religious rite, but often serves as a kind of shorthand for coinage as grave goods presumed to further the deceased's passage into the afterlife.[5] In Latin, Charon's obol sometimes is called a viaticum, or "sustenance for the journey"; the placement of the coin on the mouth has been explained also as a seal to protect the deceased's soul or to prevent it from returning.

Whoever is taking care of Sierra Madre's Nativity Scene really ought to start making a little better effort to protect this community trust. It seems to be attracting a troubled element. Or worse.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

50 comments:

  1. All of the disrespect for the Crèche makes sense when you know that it is the Chamber of Commerce that is in charge of it.

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    1. Things and people only get disrespected when you allow it to happen. If the local churches allow it, then we'll see what provacative statement will be in store for us next year. The fact that an individual or individuals or organizations are brazen enough to do this, is also interesting and shows the weakness of the church in our community.

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  2. I think a better system would be for each of our community churches to take a turn at caring for and setting up the creche at Christmas time. Each of the churches could have a fun competition to see who can make our Nativity Scene look the best and brightest each year. Now it is chipped, frayed and apparently abused.

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    1. Great idea 6:50 but if the Churches in the community don't care about the nativity scene enough to protest about a pink cow and coins over the eyes of the Angel Gabriel, then I'm not sure they would do any better job than the Chamber of Commerce is no doing. In today's society, you have to be sensitive to every group except Christians and that's because Christians don't stand up for themselves and that's also why Christianity is going down the same road as what is seen in Europe where Chistianity has become irrelevant.

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  3. I'm thinking the name of the game is to keep it out of the public's hands. Before you know it there will be some Commission in charge of it and when the chosen time comes, the Creche will be considered offensive. Then the Commission will vote and decide that it must no longer be displayed.

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  4. Does anyone know what is written on the angel' s banner?

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    1. Maybe the coins mean death to whatever is written on the Angel' s banner.

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  5. I want to get back to the pink cow for a moment. Whatever other meanings it may have from the person or persons who did that, its also meant to take people's attention away from the central focus of the nativity scene to people asking about a pink cow. Why can't people just leave things alone.

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  6. Where are the local churches in all this. They should be the ones asking that the nativity scene not be blasphemed in any way. As usual, they seem to be silent and that's why organized religion in America will do the same as in much of Europe. Churches will eventually close down and be turned into museums or gyms or thiing like what you see in Europe. Its the same reason the folks at Mater Dolorosa have thrown in their towel and are selling a large part of their property that previous priests have managed to keep intact since 1924. The problem may not be with the people but with the Church. Whether pink cows are tolerated in manager scenes or pedophile priests are tolerated and moved around to other parishes to continue their depedations, its really all part of the same thing. No one in the church has the courage of their convictions any more.

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    1. I agree 7:58. If the local churches don't care about how the nativity scene is being disrespected than why should anyone care. Their silence in all this is deafening. And because they don't say anything, then its going to be open season on doing whatever you want with that nativity scene. Wait until next year. I'd like to see somebody do something really provocative with it and sacreligious just to see how much the scene can be humiliated to detract from its meaning. It would be a nice experiment just to give pushing the envelope to see if there is any limit to what the Churches in the community will allow before they finally say something. I suspect that limit will never be reached.

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  7. If the Chamber of Commerce is in charge of the creche, lets get a statement from the current president of the Chamber se we can be told what's going on here. Who is the current president of the Chamber anyway?

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    1. I agree with 8:00 am. Who was the president when these photos were taken and who is the current president?

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    2. he's riding on the back of a garbage truck selling something

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    3. Good idea 8:00.

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  8. This is all part of the "change you can believe in" and the "transformation of America". I'll put Mc Mansions in that category too.

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  9. It all seems kind of Satanist. Why would anyone do this to a Christmas creche?

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  10. the angel was placed in manger because the bolt that holds her up was not there when all the figuerines came out of the bank vault. there was no where else to place her, there was a new bolt put in friday and she is now over the manger, why people put coins on her eyes i dont know,,,,,why every one wanted to plug the tree in before santa did it officially saturday at 6pm, i don't know. and for the record before more conspiracy stories begin, Baby Jesus does not go into our manger UNTIL the Sunday before Christmas (always Sunday before) ..the churches put that on and Joseph and Mary carry the Baby Jesus down the hill. Baby Jesus always stays at the same business in kersting court until that time...

    why the pink cow, i always thought for breast cancer and all cancers, but now she is visited every day by all kinds of little and big kids....i didn't paint her, done before my time, i do believe we have more to worry about in our little town than a pink cow...

    while my coffee is kicking in, one carter needs to be 3000 sq foot homes no 4 car garages, all solar all water recyling, all green. my family survived living in a 700 sq foot home with one bath.. i fought all that mess for last 12 years....

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    1. Maybe there was a new bolt put in Friday, but the pictures shown were taken in 2013, not this year.

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    2. What does this bolt have to do with anything? Was it in the 4th of July parade as well? Was it pink?

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  11. gotta be a skateboarder

    our crack team of elite SM detectives will have this solved by sundown

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    1. They put out some potato salad as bait, but ended up catching an SMPD officer.

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    2. That was their mistake. It should have been a vitamin drink.

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  12. every year there is one bolt at the tip of the manger roof, i don't know why it isn't put on in the beginning, it would save me alot of time ,,,,,plus explaining this to people....until
    l the bolt is in and secure the angel will not fly over head, simple, no conspiracy....i think since all are concerned to please help out in january when this manger scene gets dismanteled, and then next december you can help put this up

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    1. I don't think this is really about the bolt. Do you?

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  13. sierra madre city college puts up the sunday before thanksgiving, i am sure they could use all your help also. please consult with the sierra madre city college building department conveniently located in the bottle shop....they also store it in secure locked down location on montecito.

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  14. If one believes the explanation provided by 8:46 am and 9:16 am (and I see no reason not to), then today's post is much ado about nothing. To put this silliness to rest, would someone run down to Kersting Court and take a photo and the manager scene? I'd do it but I'm out of town...

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  15. How about we get rid of the Creche in Kersting Court altogether and practice our religious belief system privately? That way the Luciferians in town will have one less opportunity for mischief.

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    1. I think if you put that on a ballot and the residents were able to vote on your suggestion about 80% would oppose it.

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    2. Thanks for the irrelevant and unqualified opinion. With intellects like you around, it's no wonder Sierra Madre is in so much trouble.

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  16. Maybe a different kind of Christmas display is in order now. Something less ecumenical. San Marino's Chamber of Commerce has turned the bus stop in the center of town into a little snow-covered church since forever, with lights in the trees surrounding it. A bit cheesy but well-loved tradition. Especially when it's 90 degrees out with people in T-shirts and flip-flops. Pasadena City Hall has that giant tree with a ceremony for its lighting early in December. So does the White House. A custom tree that can be rolled out every year without a lot of work and lit up with a ceremony would get away from all the folderol around these religious symbols.

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    1. Besides being a radical break with tradition, isn't that giving in to the ocultists?

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    2. What would the Candlelight Walk walk to then? A Festivus display?

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    3. When the candle lights all get to a tree, perhaps a big star on top lights up. That preserves the essence of the ceremony's meaning without the concretism in a manger scene.

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    4. Duh. No, double duh.

      Christmas is a celebration of the Birth of Christ Jesus.

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    5. They come to see the baby Jesus in the manger. Not a Texaco gas station.

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    6. Let's just leave this tradition alone. No pink cows or coins on the eyelids. No disrespect for religious symbols for goodness sake. Just leave it alone and continue with a nice tradition. For those who don't believe, just avert your eyes. No big deal.

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    7. Back in the day, people use to have their own nativity scenes at home, typically under the Christmas tree.

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    8. Sierra Madre has always been a place where all religions are free to display what they want at Kersting Court. It isn't just Christmas. Why let a few bad actors ruin that?

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  17. The mishandling of this shows why we can't have Nice Things.

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  18. Disrespect for religion, even if you don't like that religion, is contemptible.

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  19. I looked at the crèche this afternoon.. It really needs to be painted correctly. It is bubbling and chipped in many places. Whoever takes it down and puts it up should take more care. I saw city workers putting it up last week. Does the Chamber pay them? The churches should take more pride in the crèche. What an embarrassment and a shame.

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    1. Perhaps someone like you could volunteer to form a team to renovate the crèche instead of criticizing whoever, do something yourself. That is what made Sierra Madre great and could be again if we had more volunteers. Don't tell me to do it, my plate is full with Sierra Madre volunteer hours, with meetings every day this week.

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    2. Ah yes, the old "why don't you volunteer" cop out. How many times have we heard that one?

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    3. As I recall, Dee worked his heart out on gathering volunteers but the City chose not to use many of them.

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  20. I thought someone from the Arts Council repainted the creche and it's figures a few years ago. The big deal was that she was "qualified" to do the painting. How often does it need to be refreshed?

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    1. Apparently she was not qualified as the paint started to bubble and peel by the following year's Christmas display. (I have photos). I did notice that painting repairs have been done since last years display, but some statues are still in need of a touch-up. Question is how much did she get paid for a shoddy job?....and who paid for it?...the Art Tax?

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  21. I was downtown today and made a quick stop at the manger.....wanted to see the cow for myself after reading the Tattler. Up walks this four year old boy. He inspects the Creche, then turns to his Mother and said, " What's a PINK cow doing in there? Cows aren't PINK!
    Having read the Tattler this morning, I really chuckled to myself. A four year old figured that one out and didn't even need to read the Tattler. lol I think he could be a future candidate for the Friends of the Arts board. He's a sharp one alright.

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  22. Maybe Noah Green should make the restoration of the crech his Chamber project.
    After all, in the past he has shown a certain affinity for sculpted figures.

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    1. I heard Noah resigned from the Chamber when Nancy did.

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  23. Here is something related and more troubling:
    Artist Nobuho Nagasawa has been hired to create a series of pieces in Union Station, and the Metro platforms in LA county. You will find the name Gabriel on one of the pieces. The problem is most of the names on the pieces of art are the names of the demons, or fallen angels that can be found in the Lesser Key of Solomon, and the Book of Enoch, and The Book of The Law. These demons are summoned by practitioners of black magic, the Church of Satan, and the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis), among others. Some of the modern off shoots of witchcraft stem from 1003 Orange Grove Pasadena 1966, Where Jack Parsons, L Ron Hubbard, and Anton LaVey conducted blood sex magic acts to sire moon and sun children, and began their religions: Scientology, and the Church of Satan, following some of the practices of the Abbey of Thelema with a new skin.
    http://www.metro.net/about/art/locations/union-station/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQlyFSnKcZw
    http://www.artnet.com/awc/nobuho-nagasawa.html
    Happy Holidays
    Neuroblast Films

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