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John Piper, a prolific evangelical Christian author and founder of Desiring God Ministries, is taking an 8-month leave of absence from public life, including his role as pastor at Bethlethem Baptist Church in Minnesota.piper_hands.jpg

It’s not an April Fools’ Day joke — Piper, 64, announced his decision earlier this week, in a letter to his congregation. His leave will start May 1.

Religion News Service notes that Piper (whose books include “Spectacular Sins” and “Don’t Waste Your Life“) says he wants to focus on his 41-year marriage to his wife Noël, including unspecified “sins” that have “taken a toll” on their relationship, yet he states that there has not been any infidelity. An excerpt:

I see several species of pride in my soul that, even though they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. Noël and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is not always an emotionally satisfying metaphor, especially to a woman. A rock is not the best image of a woman’s tender companion.

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