Why Habitat for Humanity’s theology of the hammer offers hope in polarized times

by | May 9, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Habitat for Humanity was built on a pair of simple yet profound ideas.Everyone deserves a decent place to live.
Anyone who wants to help make that happen is welcome to pick up a hammer and get to work.
For nearly five decades, those ideas — which Habitat’s founder referred to as the “theology of the hammer” — have helped Habitat grow from its humble beginnings at a Christian commune in Georgia into a worldwide housing nonprofit that’s helped more than 46 million people around the world find a place to call home.
Among those homes are 30 “Unity Build” houses in Nashville, Tennessee, built by an interfaith coalition of congregations over the past three decades. Those congregations believe very different things about God, said Kevin Roberts, a former pastor and director of faith relations and mission integration for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville. But they share a common conviction about helping their neighbors.
That makes a Habitat build site a rare place where people who disagree can work together in polarized times. All they need is a willing pair of hands.
“When you step onto the Habitat build site and someone puts a paintbrush or a hammer or a saw in your hand, no one asks, ‘Who did you vote for?’” said Roberts …

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