Tuesday, 17 May 2011


On Sunday I was coordinating the service at our church (Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church) and I offered a couple of thoughts on worship, in particular, singing.

One bad habit it's easy to fall into is to sing along with everyone else without thinking about the words. If we're going to be honest with God, ourselves, and each other, we need to mean what we sing and sing what we mean. If the words say something we don't agree with, we shouldn't sing them. If I have an atheist friend at church and they don't sing anything, I respect that.

On the other hand, some Christians don't sing because they just don't feel like it --- perhaps they're having a bad day, or a bad year. But worship is not supposed to depend on how we feel; it's something we're commanded to do no matter how we feel. If a song is true then there's no harm and some benefit to singing it. (Of course singing is not the only form of worship, and if someone has taken a vow of silence, I respect that too :-).)

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Pinnacles

Over the weekend I took my kids to the Pinnacles in the Coromandel Ranges. It was my first time going there and the first time in my adult life I've done proper overnight tramping, i.e. carrying all my gear, staying out overnight (in a DOC hut in this case), and carrying it all out again. To make it more challenging I was carrying most of the kids' gear too!

The weather forecast was pretty bad --- rain both days --- but we went anyway, and as it turned out, the weather was fantastic. We drove to the end of the Kauaeranga Valley road, walked up the Webb Creek track for about two and a half hours and got to the hut just after 5pm. The Pinnacles hut is huge, and it was completely full on Saturday night --- not bad considering the weather forecast --- with 80 people. Despite what I wrote on my blog earlier about social interactions with strangers, I enjoyed talking to people at the hut; it helped that I got talking to people due to my kids being younger and cuter than everyone else at the hut! But there also seems to be good camaraderie at tramping huts in general.

There were a number of large groups, in particular about 20 teenagers plus minders on a school trip, and a group of university students who seemed to spend all their time cooking the most amazing food.

Today we got up at 6am to go up the actual Pinnacles, the core of an old volcano whose flanks have eroded away. After that we had breakfast and took the Billy Goat track back down. This took over four hours, partly because the track was very wet and muddy. At the end we had to cross the Kauaeranga stream by wading it, which was quite exciting with the kids! So we were rather wet and muddy, but we all had a fantastic time. We'll do more :-).