The theology of the hammer

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Affordable housing is an issue that continues to challenge the Barry County community. There are also many families forced to live in substandard housing because housing costs are on the rise and their housing choices are very limited. In response to this great need, there is one organization in particular that has stepped up and taken on this cause.

Since Habitat of Humanity of South Barry County was formed several years ago, we have published news articles about the group's efforts and successes. One home has been completed and funds are being raised for additional projects through donations and revenue generated from a ReStore that opened in May on Cassville's Main Street.

This week, we want to praise the local organization for its hard work and dedication to providing homes to hardworking families. Habitat is an international organization that has been in existence since 1976. To date, Habitat has built more than 200,000 homes worldwide.

Habitat is also a great example of a nondenominational Christian charity that really works by involving people from all backgrounds, all socioeconomic classes and all church backgrounds in one great cause. The organization is also successful, because it is self-supporting and founded on principles of hardwork and Christian values. Homes are not just given to a family, instead that family must provide "sweat equity" by working side by side with area volunteers to construct or rehab houses. The home is then sold to the family at no profit at a very affordable price through a no interest loan. The average price of a Barry County project is $45,000 per home.

Habitat for Humanity of South Barry County must rely on a strong volunteer base to be successful. According to David Samuel, president of the local Habitat affiliate, new volunteers are always needed to help with building projects and to staff the ReStore during business hours. In explaining the importance of volunteers in connection with Habitat's mission, Samuel had this to say: "Habitat's ministry is based on the conviction that to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ we must reflect Christ's love in our own lives by loving and caring for one another. Our love must not be words only; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Habitat provides an opportunity for people to put their faith and love into action, bringing diverse groups of people together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone."

We also love the words expressed by Habitat's founder, Millard Fuller, who believes in the "theology of the hammer," which means everyone can use a hammer as an instrument to demonstrate God's love. Fuller explains his theory this way: "The Bible teaches that God is the god of the whole crowd. God's love leaves nobody out, and my love should not either. This understanding drives the theology of the hammer around the world, steadily building more and more houses in more and more countries."

What an awesome vision and an incredible mission purpose that truly brings God's love to life. If you are inspired to get involved and put words into action, there are two brand new Habitat initiatives just getting started. A "Women's Build" is planned in Cassville and a "Rural Build" is slated for the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano area. Organizational meetings will be held over the next two weeks (see article on front page for specifics) for both these projects. If time is tight right now, Habitat could use a monetary donation to support future home construction projects. Donations can be mailed to: Habitat for Humanity, 101 E. Seventh St., Cassville M0 65625.

We strongly support the mission of Habitat of Humanity of South Barry County and endorse its effectiveness in meeting local needs. We applaud the dedicated service of local Habitat volunteers and hope more will come forward after reading this editorial. Get involved and get ready to be blessed.