The Rev. Kevin Hart, Sr., pastor of Christian Tabernacle Church of God, released the book “Homeless in My Own Backyard: Living Beneath my Privileges as a Child of God,” as a source of inspiration in a time of despair. (Courtesy Photo)
By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
The Rev. Kevin Hart Sr. pastor of Christian Tabernacle Church of God in Northwest, D.C., may seem like the picture perfect man- with a beautiful family and accomplishments such as being a published author and well-educated church leader. However, in his new book, “Homeless in My Own Backyard: Living Beneath my Privileges as a Child of God,” Hart reveals personal struggles that looked far different from the man he is today. Further, with the challenges of the nation, world and COVID-19 pandemic facing many, the pastor and author said this new book will provide hope in times of despair.
“Well as I look back over my life and as I see the conditions of our cities, our communities, our nation, our world. How so many have slipped into a place of despair, how depression is on the rise, how many have found themselves hopeless… The more they do to get out of the hole, the more the dirt is in the hole,” Hart told the AFRO in an exclusive interview.
“I felt that it was necessary for me to share my story of how even my life is a life that depicts someone who has missed the mark so many times, someone who did not dot every ‘i’, someone who didn’t cross every ‘t’, as someone who was raised in a quality home, but didn’t take advantage of that and found myself living in a place beneath my privilege as a son,” Hart explained. “So that’s why the book is titled, ‘Homeless in My Own Backyard: Living Beneath My Privileges as a Child of God.’ And I believe that everyone can use a little encouragement.”
Pastor Kevin Hart Sr. released “Homeless in My Own Backyard: Living Beneath my Privileges as a Child of God,” to inspire others who have experienced challenges. (Courtesy Photo)
Hart’s inspirational message comes from a place of having walked in the shoes of someone who knows dark times. As a Faith leader, Hart makes it known that he is not offering encouragement from a place of judgment, but rather from a place of having experienced and overcome trials of his own.
“I believe that in this day and era that we are in, so many people have frowned upon or even shunned rhetoric from people who have not necessarily walked in their shoes, who have lived through what they live through and have kind of, not given credibility to those who are advising them from what they read, and not from what they survived,” he said. “I have literally survived being homeless, literally survived being shot multiple times, literally survived incarceration, literally survived drug addictions and near drug overdoses, literally surviving so many things. I felt that me surviving could possibly be the very thing that somebody who’s at a point of suicide, at a point of giving up, maybe if they can see someone else who is not telling you what they read, but they are telling you what they survived and what they lived through, maybe this can encourage somebody to just hold on just a little bit longer. Maybe this can encourage somebody to not give up, not throw in the towel. Maybe this can also encourage somebody to not scale back on what they believe, on their vision, because even now, after spending 18 years of homelessness, living beneath my privilege, sleeping behind a liquor store, God has found a way to bless me, but it required me to participate in my comeback…. So others could use an infusion of hope.”
Though he experienced many trials, he admittedly came from a strong, supportive family even before he turned his life around. Hart’s late father, Bishop William F. Hart Jr., was pastor at Christian Tabernacle Church of God before his son took on the role as interim in 2010 and was installed as pastor in May 2011. With “Homeless in My Own Backyard,” Hart compares his journey to that of the Biblical prodigal son. However, Hart is not just talking about being a prodigal son in his family, but a prodigal child of God.
“It parallels my life with that of the prodigal son in the Bible. The prodigal son story was a metaphor that Jesus used, to describe to God’s relationship with His children,” Hart said. “As He told this metaphor, what He was saying to us was that the Father in this story was God… the son in this story is us, His children. So as I began to read that story with that in mind, I began to put myself in the shoes of the son… and I began to understand the power of the relationship,” Hart explained.
“This prodigal son, this son who is strained away, this son who has literally said to the father, you are dead to me, give me my inheritance, he goes to a far off country and now he’s homeless, now he’s broke, now he’s in wanting,” Hart said. “And now the only person that he could turn to was the person he walked away from. The only person that he could turn to was the person that he said was dead to me…. And he says to himself, ‘I will go home, back to my father,’ and this is the love that God has, because even after all of that… when the son came to himself, it says that while he was still a far way off, the father saw his son and he turned to his servant and said, ‘My son, the who was lost, is returning….Prepare him a robe, prepare him a ring and prepare him a roast.’
As the father in the prodigal son metaphor welcomed his son back with loving arms, God will do the same, no matter the wrongdoing. “ One of the descriptions of love is that ‘Love keeps no record of wrong,’ in 1 Corinthians 13,” Hart told the AFRO. “And for those of us trying to grasp this understanding of God’s love for us, it’s almost mind blowing to believe that someone does not keep record of your last wrong.”
Pastor Hart, however, is a living testimony to God’s love, which is why he is sharing his new book with the world, in a time of great tribulation for many.
In order to purchase “Homeless in My Own Backyard: Living Beneath My Privileges as a Child of God,” visit Amazon.com and search the title or click this link.