Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Welcome Home, Millard Fuller

Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, is dead.

I got really involved in Habitat at college because the justice work of other organizations on campus was so abstract, indirect. They were doing good work, but I wanted the immediate return that came with helping a house go up. Habitat's success, I think, has a lot to do with its tangibility; you meet the homeowners as you help them come into their home.

Fuller was a Christian ecumenist, defining the "theology of the hammer" as something we can all agree on as true in the truest sense: that a God by any name would want people to live in safety from the elements, that anyone who claimed to follow God owed concern to his or her neighbors. I remember reading Theology of the Hammer and thinking that Fuller was not a very good writer, but I remember reading the book even years later.

I remember being very angry at some communities for their reluctance to allow Habitat projects into particular neighborhoods. I suppose, on the far side of (a) thirty and (b) homeownership, I understand the concern for property values and whatnot. But it's still not cool, and I still get angry when I occasionally hear that some neighborhoods stand in the way of decent housing for earnest would-be neighbors.

Anyway, good on ya, Millard Fuller. You'll be missed.

1 comment:

Bob/Sir Pent said...

I remember all those Habitat For Humanity projects we worked on back in the IWU days.

I remember enjoying the campus faction and working on the projects.

I also remember NOT enjoying the Bloomington-Normal faction...as they used to kind of treat us like crap, very condescending and frequently giving us "busy" work when it was clear that some of us had more "construction" experience than they did.

I showed them. I stopped participating...