Marblehead - Okay, root premises. Please let me know if this helps, or if you would like elaboration or clarification at any point.
Tin Yat is a conceptually modern Taoist lineage. While we respect historical Taoism, one of the problems we perceive is that it has been too often blended or taken entirely off course by Buddhist, Christian, Bon Po, and other influences. As I mentioned above, we believe that the path requires purity of intention to be effective and that's why we don't support the other religions. We don't have any particular problem with them, but we don't generally think they're on the right track.
Our magical system reflects this idea. We are purifiers - we exorcise, we destroy spirits and negative energy, and we protect ourselves from those and from negative magic. We don't have offensive magics to use against people, but we can and do reflect ill-intended attacks back to their sources.
Part of the modern concept of Tin Yat Taoism is that we do not restrict our cultivation and use of magical tools to the traditional swords, fu, etc. Airguns and flashlights are among the more common modern tools we use, and I respectfully submit that, if there had been access to our technology 2000+ years ago, the original Taoists would have happily included such things in their arsenal.
In our lineage, the altar is perceived as a workspace, more like a mainframe terminal than a place of worship. Deities are perceived as influential beings that exist in another space or dimension, who are willing to assist us when asked politely. Sacrifices and worship are not required, just positive intention and respect. Like any other lineage, a person has to be a registered believer or member to have access to such things.
Mak Jo Si and Lau Jo Si have also taken an approach that is a reverse of the common model of a Taoist temple: If you have a desire to learn and train in our magical system, a ton of information is free and available through the website, and they are happy to answer sincere, respectful questions and help the learning process. If you want them to provide you with their magical services, they charge for the fu. It seems reasonable to me, but I know there are people that disagree.
I hope this was the sort of information you were looking for, feel free to ask if there's anything you'd like me to add or clarify!