Well it is Ghost Month here in Taiwan. Actually, this is an extra "special" one because of something to do with the lunar calendar. There is an even longer period for the ghosts to be released! What we have found out is that this is the time when people pay homage to their ancestors. You will see tables of food all down the main street which people have put out as an offering to their ancestors (they eat it later, once the ghosts have had their fill). Also, they purchase and burn fake money as an offering too. There are little stoves all down the streets to burn the money in. They won't have surgery during this time or go in the ocean, because they fear that the evil spirits will harm them.
Our pastor at church today did an excellent job of contrasting this type of worship with our worship of the one true God. He then had a women share, who was once a devout Budhist and had a miraculous conversion experience. She is quite an intellectual and it was really interesting to hear her share about how hard it was to replace her old belief system with her new identity and belief in Christ. Our church is full of Taiwanese people who also struggle between their long-held cultural beliefs and faith in Christ. It is a real stronghold in their lives that needs to be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit - a real spiritual battle.
We took the kids to the Lotus Pond after church. It is a beautiful area of Kaohsiung where you can walk around a lake and stop at many budhist temples along the way. People were burning incense and making offerings - trying to appease the gods. It is such a contrast to their high-tech, high-fashion lifestyle. So many contrasts in this country!