Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Excerpt

Most recently, I have been reading a book called Beyond Culture Wars written by a professor from Westminster Theological Seminary. This book deals with the intersection of politics and Christianity. There is a paragraph that I found to be particularly telling.

Michael Horton writes, "...the problem in our day is that we are not...[the] counterculture the New Testament describes. We are extentions of the cultural, social, economic, and racial divisions already present in the City of Man. The statistics demonstrate that evangelicals are about as materialistic, self-oriented, and hedonistic as the unbelievers (cites George Barna and William McKay). It is an irony that at a time when evangelicals are the most worldly themselves they would be at such a judgmental and even self-righteous pitch. If we are living no differently from the world, what is wrong with these very things we are complaining about? If the children of believers are watching more MTV than the children of unbelievers, as one poll attests (cites Barna), should we not begin in our own homes before we poke our noses into the homes of those who are not even Christians? If we want to end abortion, why don't we start by explaining the doctrine of creation to our own congregations, since evangelicals account for one in six abortions in this country? If we want the state to enforce public prayers, we would do well to ask ourselves whether we prayed with our kids this morning. And if we expect the schools to teach morality and then get upset when it is not our particular moral beliefs that are taught, we should ask ourselves, Am I teaching my own children about God, sin and redemption, the person and work of Christ, and other great and indispensable truths of the Christian faith?" 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

english club

It was never my intention to take a month-long hiatus from blogging... unfortunately, my work schedule and various other commitments left me little time for much else! No worries, though... beginning this week, my teaching hours will drop significantly as summer program has come to an end, and regular school begins tomorrow. I am greatly looking forward to a bit of a slower-paced schedule!

Despite the busyness of this month, we have still enjoyed hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, and exploring new parts of Taipei, both within the city and outside of it. For the last 5 weeks, Ben and I have been privileged to help out with an English Club for high schoolers at Truth Church. Each week, our team of foreigners taught an English lesson, played games with the students, and shared briefly about spiritual topics, which they then discussed in small groups led by Taiwanese coworkers. We feel blessed to have been able to help out, and thoroughly enjoyed it!





English Club at Truth

Hope the rest of your summer is shaping up well!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hungry Ghost Festival

Ingrained in Chinese people is the religious tradition of the Ghost Month, which has just recently gotten underway. We have been told by local missionaries that this is a time of exceptional spiritual darkness. During this month, it is said, dead ancestors will visit their living relatives. It is also a time of fear, people attempt to ease the suffering of their deceased loved ones through a variety of rituals. The country of Taiwan is predominantly Buddhist and Taoist but with sprinklings of numerous other religious traditions as well.
On Saturday, Beth and I took the opportunity to travel outside the city for a day at the beach. The trip, in and of itself, was an adventure but I'll leave that for another post. We walked around a small coastal town and eventually wandered into a local temple. It was ornate, to say the least. As we walked through the temple, I began to think of what I have recently been reading in the Word. Over the past months, I have been working my way through the Old Testament and, most recently, I Kings. It is amazing how time and time again God reveals/blesses/speaks to His people and how they eventually always turn from Him to the Baals and Asherahs. So often we in the West mock the people of Israel (and those from other cultures) for worshipping "hunks of wood and rock." As I walked through the temple, it finally clicked for me... they weren't worshipping rock and wood. They were worshipping a very real spiritual presence which is behind that rock and wood. It is no different today for these people we are now living alongside. They are caught in darkness... they are not worshipping nothing, but rather they are worshipping servants of darkness.


This is something that is foreign to me and, I dare say, for many who have spent their lives in the West. We get squirmy when the supernatural is mentioned. But is our worship not just as easily given to idols? A.W. Tozer says in his short book, The Knowledge of the Holy, "Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place."


In light of this, we ask that you might remember the people of Taiwan in your prayers. They area a people in bondage to sin and idol worship with no hope for the future.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mountain Teahouses

A popular spot for tourists and locals alike are the teahouses which sit on the side of a nearby mountain range. We were told that these teahouses are great places to go and play cards, read, and just enjoy hours worth of tea.
The preferred method of travel to the teahouses.

A view of the ride.

A view of the city, particularly Taipei 101. This is the second tallest building in the world.

Another view...

Drinking tea and playing scrabble.

Due to being stupid foreigners, we ended up in a nice restaurant rather than a teahouse. We figured this out from the weird looks that were cast our direction when all we ordered was tea and a dish of fried rice. Needless to say, I don't think they appreciated us playing scrabble when we should have been ordering a nice (and very expensive) meal. Ahhh well, you win some, you lose some.

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