If you’re looking for a tabloid-style exposé of life in the Piper household (and you really shouldn’t be), you’re not going to find it in Barnabas Piper’s book, The Pastor’s Kid. It’s more of a personal reflection on life as a PK intermingled with advice to PKs on how to navigate growing up in a “fishbowl”, to pastors on how to raise their children, and to churches on how to treat pastors and their families.
I was never a PK, but having grown up in a family that was very active in church, I found that a lot of what he had to say fit within my own experience as a “church kid”—one of those kids whose parents were really involved in ministry. To some extent, there’s something here that everyone can identify with; every kid has to deal with the challenges of growing up; good parenting advice for pastors is still good parenting advice. Period.
Piper’s book does fall short in one particular area. Most of the book was undergirded by a strong negative vibe. If John Piper has to attempt to excuse it in the foreword, you know the book is going to be a little harsh:
“You will ask, ‘Was it painful for me to read this book?’ The answer is yes. For at least three reasons. First, it exposes sins and weaknesses and imperfections in me. Second, it is not always clear which of its criticisms attach to me and the church I love. Third, this is my son, and he is writing out of his own sorrows…”
Few of us make it through childhood without some wounds and trauma. Had Piper decided to coauthor the book with his father rather than print it and get his father’s endorsement, I’m sure the negativity would have been tempered through their own interaction, tears, and forgiveness. It appears that Barnabas Piper wrote his book without consulting with his father, and as such, the book does not benefit from the father-son perspective that could have made it great.
I received this audiobook from christianaudio for the purpose of providing a review.