Thursday, August 28, 2008

I USED To Love Flying

I remember when I was 18 or 20 years old and I would take trips across country by air. I loved it, I looked forward to every trip. My love of flying started with a trip to Hawaii when I was 5. It was magical. I found every excuse I could from then on to travel by air. A trip to India for college at 21 made my love full. No, really! The feelings and sensation of flight energized me... And they still do. But that love of flying, though still strong, is now hurt and nearly broken by the fooliishness and irrationality that is the air transportation industry. The safety and security culture of the modern airport is nothing more than a C.Y.A. measure that demoralizes passengers, stresses everyone, and delays the entire traveling process. A determined hijacker would laugh at what goes on. The entire prosses is like the patter of a magician on stage trying to distract you: the hijacker has so much to hide behind now that EVERYONE is distracted by the stress and ritual of the security screening. And still we are no safer. And now we are more cowed and afraid. And now we are more exhausted by travel. The goal of terrorism is to disrupt and cause fear as energy is wasted on useless and costly security measures that force a government to control is own citizens as potential criminals... So... The terrorists have won!

Posted with LifeCast

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taiwan Tea Time Podcast Update

This is a very busy time and I am not getting good feedback on the podcast... I also want to take it in a new direction. So it MAY be a while for the next podcast. We will travel to the USA for August and then have house guests for a bit... But I think I can sqeeze in a newfangled Tea Time podcast in there. Keep watch.

Posted with LifeCast

New Blog Tool

I am a Macintosh enthusiest... And now I have a cool new blogging tool from Apple! The iPod Touch and iPhone are now full PDAs and there are blogging tools. I am writing this post from my iTouch now and I can do that anywhere... If I will just write!!!

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Last English Class in YenZhou

I have been teaching the Bible in English at a church in YenZho. Its a little village next to the fishing town of Donggang. It is famous as the poorest village in all of Taiwan. The church there is great and the Pastor, Abraham, is a joy to work with. This year I am ending my classes there after two years teaching. I need to focus on my master's degree and there is a new missionary actually living in that area who will take over the class for me. This year's party at the end of class was extra special because one of the students owned a bakery!

I will miss this gang.  But I am sure I will see them.  Pastor Abraham is one of Sandy's students at college and I promised that I would come visit sometimes next term.
-The Haggard

Taiwan Tea Time Podcast News

Well... not getting too much feedback on the podcast... and as my big trip to the USA is coming - I MAY change the format of the podcast ALL TOGETHER. It may become more about me teaching theological idea that are relevant to Taiwan Evangelism and only occasionally have conversations from Taiwan people. We shall see. The next podcast in the original format IS coming soon.

The Haggard

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Solution is the Problem

"These people were just disrupting society. ... The government will solve their problems."
-Zao Ming, official from The People's Republic of China
Commenting on police removal of grieving parents forcibly
removed from public land for protesting the government's
use of substandard construction materials in schools,
discovered after the death of their children in the 2008

Exactly, how will the government solve the problem of a child dying because of government corruption?
$144 per year per child to each family who lost a child in the earthquake. Parents who lost children have first dips on adoption and may apply with the government to wave the one child per family law on this occasion.

Death toll to date: 69,107

source for above quote, figures, and news -

Monday, May 26, 2008

Podcast #2 Posted

Taiwan Tea Time number 2 has posted. Go here for the feed to download or subscribe:

This episode of the Tea Time is all about Taiwanese feelings about the Taiwan Government sending aid to China in the wake of the devastating earthquakes.

UPDATE: If you are downloading the file directly rather than subscribing to it, you may find that it came as an MP3... and that will not work! Rename the end to M4A and it will work. -M

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Podcast Posted

Taiwan Tea Time Podcast #1 is finished and posted! Not the most gripping conversations but some interesting tidbits of some teachers talking about Obama and the American Elections, some kids talking about school, and some college students talking about laziness.

Listen to or Subscribe to this podcast at feed://

The PodCast is in ACC audio, so iTunes and most media players will play it... if you have trouble, try a PodCast program (search for podcast at for Windows or at for Mac)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Taiwan Tea Time Podcast

I am starting a new podcast that can be found here:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Ugly Truth of Forgiveness

Forgiveness COSTS. It costs big. It is quite expensive and, in fact, few can afford it. Truly, there is no such thing as forgiveness without cost.
For a perfect God who must keep all his own laws and promises, there is only atonement, then forgiveness. The atonement is paying the price, then the issue is forgotten and expunged from the record... you have paid your debt, done your time.

With man, this is also true. When the benificent uncle who loaned you $50 or $50,000 says “your debt is forgiven,” you may think that there is an example of absolute free forgiveness. Your uncle paid. He paid big. The criminal thief may be forgiven his crime by the victim but the victim pays... even with the return of goods stolen! There is loss of time, effort, security, and trust. Over time the loss can be cumulative if it happens often and cynicism creates scar tissue of the soul. He indeed pays for the criminal’s sin.

My sin is forgiven only due to the death of Jesus on the cross. He is the example of forgiveness. No greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for another.

If I am to forgive others... I must pay... and the perfect payment is death.

I died to sin so sin no longer has its hold on me. We often think in self-centered ways about that verse. That I, myself, will not be tempted to sin... or that sin’s payment is not applied to me (forgetting all the while that Jesus’ death did that, not my own “work” at dying). But there is also a social aspect to that verse. The sins of others have no affect on a dead man. If I am to forgive as Christ forgives, then I have to be willing to pay the price for other’s sins in a local, social, temporal sense. If someone sins against me, the only way to forgive is when I die to myself in atonement for their sin against me. Indeed, I cannot die FOR him as Christ does. But I can die for his benefit, and mine, in a social and corporate sense. Without this ugly truth, that I must die to ALL sin, even another’s, there is no forgiveness. AS you forgive, so you shall be forgiven. AS you die to sin, so sin shall die to you.

Without the self-death and the personal resurrection of Jesus within us, not only is there little ability to forgive others, but there is little ability to live under a “go forth and sin no more” lifestyle as Jesus instructs. Surely I am not literally dead and truly I am not in a literal “sin no more” life... these states of being are from Grace as I live under the obedience to Christ. His death is sufficient to assure my death. His resurrection is powerful enough for me to be assured of my resurrection. His forgiveness is complete enough to cover my inability to forgive. I am not perfect. But I am being perfected in Him, I move in that direction as it were. If I am to be under grace then I give my failures to him... and again, it costs me (in submission to Him) and I must die to the self.

There is no forgiveness without personal cost.

Go forth and sin no more, dead man.

-The Haggard

My "Life Cannon"

Aaron Stoller had a great idea on his blog: list off ten texts that make up your personal canon at the moment.  Go here to see the rules and then post your own and tell me, or Aaron... or Tripp Fuller at (where I first saw this idea).
“each one of us operates with our own canon. In other words, acknowledged or not, each of us operates with a set of guiding texts (or pieces within texts) which influence our paradigm and our lives moment-to-moment. And of course these text change as we pass through periods of our lives”

So here is my own Life Cannon, according to the rules:
1 - The Boxed Set DVDs of FIREFLY
2 - The Special Edition DVD of SERENITY
3 - The novel DUNE
4 - The Movie “Stop Making Sense” by The Talking Heads
5 - “The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer” (in one book)
6 - The Homebrewed Christianity Podcast
7 - The original Japanese TV seres “Mobile Suit Gundam”
8 - The Japanese TV seres “Gundam Seed” and “Gundam Seed Destiny”
9 - “Christian Apologetics” by Cornelius Van Til (because it hurts my brain)
10 - “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis (because it soothes my brain)

So, what’s in your cannon?
The Haggard

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Interesting Music at the Vegi Buffet

Today I heard Jesus being declared in a Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant. I eat there because the food is good, the price is great, and I get to be a Jesus Guy around a group of non-hostile non-believers. Who knows where that relationship will lead? I was amazed at the music; “He Carried Me” and “He was my Sacrifice” and “Everlasting Arms” and “People need the Lord” and “I Need Thee Every Hour” sang through the store. I asked the waitress if I could see the CD case for the music... she popped out the disk from the player and it was a home made DVD of MP3s. I was there two hours studying and never heard a song repeated and I never heard a song that was not instantly recognizable as Christian. I saw Buddhist monks tapping their toe to “Jesus is the Only Way” and patrons hearing about “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” Alas, it was ALL in English and most people there had no idea what they were hearing. I asked the waitress if she knew what kind of music this was. She didn’t. Nor did her co-workers. I told them it was Christian Music. They looked a little frightened and I thought I may have poisoned the well, that they would remove the songs. They looked at me with soulful eyes and asked “Doe Ke Yi?” (is that okay with you?) I smiled and said YES! So they popped the DVD back in the player and continued. I asked if they were Christians and they said no. They just like the sound of the music. I have come across that a great deal in Taiwan. People who will not become Jesus people for whatever reason, still seem to appreciate the Jesus Music. There is nothing like it here. There are NO songs in praise to Buddha or Matzu or to the Tao. The shear joy and peace that some hear in singing to Jesus, live or on tape, draws them. It is so cool. Yet, how can they believe unless someone goes to them?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Vacation Photos

Here are a few more vacation photos. (Really, I am trying out some new Blogging software) View the entire photo by saving the image to your own computer. -M

Here is a Marble Canyon at Toroko

And here is a Pavilion and covered bridge at Toroko

And here is my new friend from Heualien’s Ocean Park... for a few more dollars I could have swam with him, but it was too cold... You KNOW I am going back!

The Holidays are Over

We had a grand time during Lunar New year. The nation takes a week off, the schools take two weeks off, the colleges take 4 weeks off. Sandy and I used the opportunity to drive around the entire coastline of the island. Here we are at Toroko Canyon. But now it is back to work... and there is so much going on. Watch here for more!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Where are the Answers?

I present this article without comment. I think it speaks volumes on the current state of spiritualism in the world, Christianity as well. Read, take what you can. -The Haggard

Buddhist priests hit the bars to reach out to skeptical youth
By Justin McCurry
Monday, Jan 14, 2008, Page 9

Dressed in dark cotton robes, a bracelet of prayer beads hanging from his wrist, Gugan Taguchi certainly looks the part. But as he kneels to chant a sutra before an altar in the corner of the room, the people around him continue to chat, and his rhythmic prayers can only just be heard above a Blue Note jazz track.

Minutes later Taguchi is back in his seat, glass in hand. A bottle of rum sits on the bar in front of him, next to a half-filled ashtray as his tobacco smoke mingles with the aroma of incense. Some of his peers may disapprove of his methods, but amid a dramatic decline in interest in Buddhism among young Japanese, Taguchi is prepared to go almost anywhere to reach out to the skeptics, including the Bozu ("monks") bar in Tokyo.

"I can understand why younger people aren't attracted to Buddhism," says Taguchi, 46, a former office worker from Hokkaido, who turned to the priesthood after his sight became impaired in his late 20s. "Most priests are getting on, and I'm not sure young people want their advice. I'm happy to come here and listen to people talk about anything they like. It's up to them if they decide whether to heed my advice."

In the days ahead, millions of Japanese will visit Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to mark the arrival of the Year of the Rat. For many, this will be the only contact they have with their spiritual roots for the entire year. More than 1,200 years after its arrival in Japan from mainland Asia, Buddhism is in crisis. About 75 percent of Japan's 127 million people describe themselves as Buddhists, but new year apart, many see the inside of a temple only when a local head priest is asked to arrange a traditional (and expensive) funeral for a dead relative.

As a result, public donations are drying up and many of the country's 75,000 temples are in financial trouble. Applications to Buddhist universities have fallen so dramatically that several schools have dropped the religious association from their titles.

Bozu's owner, Yoshinobu Fujioka, a Buddhist priest who can also mix a decent cocktail for those in search of a quicker path to nirvana, says that Japan's mainstream sects must shed their conservative image to broaden their appeal.

"There was a time when people would go to their local temple for advice on all sorts of problems, not just spiritual matters," said Fujioka, 31, who belongs to the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) sect. "This bar is just the same, a place where people can come and talk freely about their problems."

Being served sake by a priest is just one of the novel ways in which sceptical Japanese are being encouraged to get in touch with their spiritual roots. Baijozan Komyoji temple in Tokyo has opened an outdoor cafe in front of its main hall and, in Kyoto, Zendoji temple operates a beauty salon. At Club Chippie, a jazz lounge in Tokyo, the saxophone makes way for Sanskrit once a month as three shaven-headed monks wearing robes chant sutras and encourage bemused customers to join in.

And recently, dozens of Buddhist monks and nuns took to the catwalk in colorful silk robes as part of a public relations exercise at Tsukiji Honganji temple in Tokyo.

The event, called Tokyo Bouz Collection, opened with the recital of a Buddhist prayer to a hip-hop beat and ended in a blur of confetti shaped like lotus petals.

"Many priests share the sense of crisis and the need to do something to reach out to people," said Kosuke Kikkawa, a 37-year-old priest who helped organize the event.

"We won't change Buddha's teachings, but perhaps we need to present things differently so that they touch the feelings of people today," Kikkawa said.

Taguchi believes that the pressures of modern life mean Buddhism's message is as relevant as it ever was.

"These days there is constant pressure to appear happy, and to keep fulfilling your desires to stay that way," he said.

"You could easily get the impression that people don't need advice from priests, but that's not the case. Everyone experiences times when they're not at their best, when things don't go according to plan," Taguchi said.