About this blog
“Haver” British usage: “to hem and haw.” Scottish: “to maunder, to talk foolishly, to chatter, talk nonsense, to babble.” Jewish: “a friend, chum, mate” – specifically a fellow student or disciple willing to tussle with you over words and life and truth.
“Haver” has at least two layers of meaning depending on whether we’re talking about English or Hebrew – but both meanings are, I think, curiously related. The best theologian on his best day is still only hemming and hawing when compared with the vastness of God. At best, we fingerpaint when we delve into the things of God. It’s when we become impressed with our own supposed profundity that we become the most dangerous and doltish. But when we see ourselves invited to fingerpaint, to get our hands messy with the things of God, we can end up creating some striking – not to mention fun – portraits.
Who would have thought that theology could be fun. If only there weren’t so many of us who in doing it end up sucking the life out of others…and ourselves.
So in this, my personal blog, I commit myself to hem and haw, to babble and maunder, mostly about the things of God. Friends can do that with friends; God invites us to haver with him. It was reading Ann Spangler, in her book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, discuss the Jewish word haver (plural haverim) as the word for “friends” or fellow students in a Jewish school (a Yeshiva) that I first encountered haver. She says a haver in ordinary usage can simply mean a companion or a close friend, but in the context of seminary or school life, it is “someone who is willing to partner with you in grappling with Scripture and with the rabbinic texts.” She contrasts university libraries (or any libraries) in America with a Yeshiva library filled with havers. Our libraries are, of course, quiet. Students sit in separate cubicles or study silently at shared tables. In a Yeshiva, you are met with loud voices and gesticulations as havers argue and debate and, well, haver. I don’t think we know how to haver like that, at least not without our havering becoming hateful. I would suggest that to a large degree that’s because we forget we are all in the final analysis hemming and hawing and maundering with each other. It’s what Job realized about all his words when he finally encountered God – and God said he had spoken well. It was his pompous friends with all the sure answers that received the divine censure. And then Job maundered some prayers for them.
So it is in this spirit that I would deign to finger paint in a blog some of my own theological musings.
And if I haver, yeah I know I’m gonna be / I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you…