Do you ever get confused by Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism? You aren’t alone! It just so happens that today’s Key City: Sakado gives us a great excuse to deal with some of these confusing terms.
Sakado City is home to the largest Taoist temple in all of Japan. It’s really huge, it’s incredibly detailed, and it’s beautiful. The temple’s yellow tiled roof is unique to religious sites, so it stands out and nobody has any doubt about what it means. Inside the building are several stone columns almost 20 feet tall. Each is carved from a single block, and the craftmanship doesn’t end there. The main hall, a cavernous room, has a ceiling made of hand-broken glass, over one thousand pieces in all. The structure of the hall itself is built to interlock without the use of any type of nails or screws.
It’s a very cool building, but what’s interesting about it to me is that Taoism isn’t a Japanese religion. It’s Chinese. Confucianism? Also Chinese. Buddhism? That’s Indian!
Japan does have it’s own religion, Shinto, but most people follow it in name only. They pay respect to it and occasionally pray, but few follow any of these religions very “religiously.” And who can blame them? None of these offer any real hope. None offer salvation or forgiveness.
In fact there is a famous Taoist saying, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.” It basically means, “I can’t explain Tao, and you can’t understand it.” There are over 100,000 people in Sakado with a beautiful temple and a religion with no answers. They have plenty of temples and plenty of religions.
What they need is Truth. Will you help me give them the truth of Jesus Christ?
This past week started off in Savannah with the folks of Heaven Bound Baptist. Pastor Alderman let me teach in Sunday School and preach in the morning service. The Lord did a work during the invitation as the altars filled with these precious people. Afterwards Pastor Alderman recommended that we be taken on for support. The vote passed unanimously! Thank you Pastor Alderman and Heaven Bound Baptist for partnering with us in reaching Japan with the Gospel!
On our way back home we went to Grace Baptist in Eatonton, GA. Pastor Chris Webb has been a friend of ours since we met back in 2005. He was an assistant Pastor at our home church till the Lord brought him here as pastor. We had a great time being with them, and Pastor Webb invited us back for their missions conference in 2013.
Wednesday took us to Calvary Baptist in Tunnel Hill, GA with Pastor Hyatt. Through their printing ministry, they help us get our prayer letters out each month.
It was a joy to be able to present our ministry to the people that already do so much in helping us get to the field. Bro. Bill Goins, the head of the printing ministry, showed us their different printers and equipment they use to print thousands of tracts and John & Romans. Bro. Goins is currently raising support so he can be full time in the printing ministry. Would you consider supporting this global impacting ministry? Find out more on their website at www.calvarybaptisttunnelhill.org
I’ve got a confession to make: I love samurai! Those of you who know me won’t find that very surprising, and it just so happens that one of my favorite samurai was born in today’s Key City: Isehara.
Japan loves its festivals and celebrating its traditions, and each October this city is home to one of the most popular, Dokan Festival. Thousands gather from all over the country every weekend during the month to honor Ota Dokan.
Dokan was a famous samurai warrior and poet who became even better known for his military strategy, architecture and engineering. At just 25 years old, he had already built an honorable reputation and was tasked with building a castle for one of the most powerful rulers of that time. That castle would eventually become known as The Imperial Palace.
With all the success he experienced and the strict honor he lived by, it’s sad to know that he was betrayed by those he trusted most and had served for nearly his entire life. His lord, Uesugi Sadamasa, had him executed after falsely accusing him of disloyalty.
Dokan wrote these words just before his death:
Had I not known
that I was dead
I would have mourned
the loss of my life.
There are over 100,000 people living in Isehara City that don’t realize that they are dead already. I mourn the loss of these lives, but that’s not enough.