Barnabas Piper on Life in the Fishbowl

By Daniel Darling

There are a lot of pastor’s kids out there, but few who grew up like my friend Barnabas Piper, the son of popular pastor and author, John Piper. That’s why I’m excited about Barnabas’ new book, The Pastor’s KidWhat is refreshing about this book, unlike so many other books in this genre, is that its not another angst-ridden, ex-evangelical memoir that hates on the Church. Barnabas writes this book from an honest, but honoring position. He loves the Church and wants to help pastors kids work through their unique struggles. I have a feeling this book will help a lot of pastor’s kids.

I had the chance to interview Barnabas for Leadership Journal. Here is one of the questions I asked:

We’ve seen more than a few angst-ridden memoirs by pastor’s kids and others who have grown up in evangelicalism. You’ve chosen not to do this, but still present an honest, realistic portrait of growing up in a pastor’s home. Why?

Angst offers little that is constructive or productive, no matter how justified it is. In fact, it usually isn’t all that justified. Not when you take the profound power of God’s grace into account. I have plenty of things about the church at large and about being a PK that annoy and anger me, but holding on to that eats me up and only makes me resent the very entity God gave us to represent him. I love the church. I need the church. Sometimes I want to choke the church. But I believe the church is God’s institution, so my responsibility is to figure out how to serve and help it.

On the personal side, I love my parents. They were good parents with flaws. Sometimes they fell into the traps so many pastors and their spouses do, but they loved my siblings and me and provided a godly, stable, generally happy upbringing. I wrote The Pastor’s Kid with the phrase “honor your father and mother” echoing in my mind. No, I didn’t pander to them, but neither did I want to disrespect or hurt them. That would be sinful and stupid.