I have been writing a bit about the “worst things” about being a pastor’s kid, and I thought to myself, well, there are plenty of good things as well and I should write them down as well to help keep me thankful and appreciative for how God has been blessing my life. So I am going to balance it by writing about the “best things” about being a pastor’s kid.
One of the best things about being a pastor’s kid is the access to many good Christian books for free. No, pastor’s kid don’t get a freebie card to get free books at Christian bookstore, no, I am talking about the private Christian library at home.
Like many college students and postgraduate students, seminary students buy a lot of books during their studies. The difference I believe is that many people sell their books after the course, but for seminary students, they keep the books because they think they will need it in their future work and ministry. And as they get older and more advance in their career, they buy even more books. From what I know, pastors usually have a lot of books at home. I actually never seen a pastor with less than 4 bookshelves full of Christian books, that’s my observation anyway. Usually the older they are, the more books they have.
As a pastor’s kid, I grew up with easy access to many good Christian books. It comes in really handy when I have to lead a Bible study or find out something about a topic, let’s say, how to lead a small group.
For example, I had to lead a Bible study on Ephesians the other day and after reading the chapter on my own, I went to my father’s bookshelves to find a commentary on Ephesians to further understand the background, context and different scholars take on the text. There are at least four commentaries on Ephesians (there might be more, I could find four). I picked the Pulpit commentaries and another one done by leading Bible preachers and pastors of today.
I have access to great books that most Christians don’t have access to (this might be changing with the Internet with many free commentaries online now).
The greatest thing is actually knowing that these books are theologically sound. They are selected by my father, a trained pastors with a master degree. I don’t have to worry about reading something that is wrong. And if I don’t understand something I can easily ask my father.
So at a young age, I was introduced to many different Christian authors by picking books off the shelves. My father would recommend books for me whenever I have a question or a problem. It’s like having a personal Christian librarian. I can ask my father about different scholars and he would tell me.
This might not be a big deal for American Christian family, but as I observed, most Chinese family do not have a large collection of Christian books at home. Many of them are first generation Christians with non-Christian parents, especially in Hong Kong.
Having a good Christian library at home really help keep me theologically sound and well-informed with different Christian issues. It’s like having many good teachers teaching me.
As I got older I realized that most of my peers, especially in Hong Kong, do not have this access to Christian books. Come to think of it, many of my peers at church don’t read that much Christian books because of many different reasons, which I find kind strange because in the U.S and Australia, there is a good number of people at the churches I went to who were reader, they would be reading a Christian book as part of their lifestyle. It’s different in Hong Kong. At least at my church.