Like all of us, Thomas Keinath felt the need to spend some time away from the office. In Keinath’s case, the “office” is Calvary Temple in Wayne, New Jersey, a “mega-church” with a 2,000-plus seat sanctuary in an affluent suburb.
So when Keinath spent a week away from the office in January, you might have expected him to go someplace warm and attend a conference or play golf.
Instead, Keinath spent that week living with the homeless in nearby Paterson, New Jersey. By “with,” I mean on the streets. During the day, he wandered through the streets, indistinguishable from the homeless.
At night, he joined the homeless as they built fires to keep warm as temperatures dropped into the teens and slept surrounded by discarded hypodermic needles under an interstate overpass. He wrote “mini-biographies” of the people he met so as to remember them and their life stories.
Why? In his words, “I needed to understand what they were experiencing, and I needed to feel their pain; how could I bring help or healing to the streets if I did not know what their needs are?”
Brother’s keeper, indeed.