Life Ministry

One Reason John Piper Writes

Piper wrote a blog about his 2010 writing leave. I thought his last reason for why he writes was particularly cool — and down to earth.

Finally, there is an inner impulse that I cannot explain that drives me to write. I would write if there were no possibility of publication. I have hundreds of pages that no one has ever seen but me, and it would not matter ultimately if they were destroyed. I wrote them not to be published but because there is an impulse from within.


Walking on Tracks in December

Crispy crack the leaves crunch
under foot
as I walk along the tracks
while the brisk breeze breaks
my chapped red cheeks
at one o’clock on Friday.

The tracks start to rumble
as the train whistle
sounds around
the corner.

The fading sun finds
its way
through tight timber fingers
at the top of
this man made cliff
just beyond
these (rumbling) cold iron tracks.

I pick up a dusty rusted
railroad spike and
place its point against
my wrist.

Not one or two or
even three
really pierced his skin
that day
but perhaps as many as
I left behind
on the tracks
at one o’clock on Friday.



Dad and I sit and sway ‘til mother wants
me home. She scolds my dad if we are late,
whining “You are gonna get that boy sick!”
“Oh, Woman,” he says mumbling away.
Each day after work we walk to the park and
watch the purple and orange velvet clouds fade
into night and wait for each street light to start
their graveyard shift; watch the squirrels scramble
to gather last minute groceries for the holidays.
Every so often a black bird lands in front
of me, fearfully scouting the area while my feet
zoom by its hollow head, barely nicking its beak.
A cool breeze reddens my cheeks and my breath
swims in the brisk air. The rusty bolts
hold my weight and softly creak as I kick
the pokey wood chips into the air, tracking each
flip and spin, landing helplessly amidst their
friends. Some nights Dad never says a word.
Gazing at the cars thumping over the cobblestone,
a tear tumbles off his cheek. I pretend not to notice
as he turns his head and wipes his nose.
“We better get you home, before your mother worries.”
I hop off, land hands and knees in the tack-like chips.
I squeeze his fingers as we walk down my street.
Already dark and the coldest night of the year,
mother is pacing in the kitchen, fiddling her thumbs,
but she doesn’t say a word. “Good night, Dad!”
I yell, blowing him a kiss. “Same time tomorrow?”
“Same time,” he says walking away. “Same time.”


One Way You Shouldn’t be Like Jesus

Jesus never wrote anything. He hung out, and talked, and healed. But if his followers had only done that, we wouldn’t know even that about him. Both-And, not Either-Or. And some people more one than the other.

– John Piper