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.