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…


10 responses to “About this blog

  1. janiswriting

    July 12, 2012 at 1:21 am

    i have just begun blogging and you are an inspiration! Plus your writing is beautiful. thank you.

  2. wordhaver

    July 12, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Thank you, Janis! And bless you in your blogging ventures. An interesting journey, this blogging business… 🙂

  3. Nancy Ringkamp

    August 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I have just started blogging today at the request of a friend. I posted something about it on my Facebook. I seen this on my page and came to check it out. You have always been gifted with words. I love it as usual..

  4. Nancy Ringkamp

    August 13, 2013 at 6:52 am

    and I love your pictures that go with your blog…awesome…(Benny and Joon one of my favs)..I am still trying to learn even how to put pics on or if its legal. Your writing always gives one to think about the deeper meaning. Thank you

  5. wordhaver

    August 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks Nancy! And be blessed in your blogging! 🙂

  6. wordhaver

    August 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Still learning the ropes of all this and trying to let kindness and respect lead me. I don’t post pictures that have “copyright” on them, and I’ll give credit in the caption if I can see to whom to give it, sometimes with a website when I do. And if someone asks you to remove it, you do! 🙂

  7. Patrick

    August 30, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I enjoy your blog and I have recommended it to others. I read widely and have always been impressed by the messages, prose, and poetry in wordhavering. You have touched me with your choices.

    I was born and raised as a Christian and have been baptized twice: once, as an infant, by sprinkling, and later (by conscious choice), as a teenager, by full immersion. Since then—I am now 69—my beliefs have evolved. I am no longer convinced of the divinity of God and Jesus; I don’t dismiss it out of hand, but I, like many, have trouble with the idea of faith and faith alone.

    I do remain convinced that the words of Jesus contain the greatest and best guidance for humanity. I do not, however, ignore the positive messages of other belief systems. There is wisdom to be found across time and in all cultures.

    Are you familiar with Tagore? Not many Americans seem to know much about him. I ask because many of your words remind me of his works. I don’t mean that your beliefs are the same, but I would say that you seem to share, at least in part, a spiritual kinship. I would like to recommend him to you.

    Here is a sampling:

    Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature, music, art, and education. In 1913, he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Unfortunately, he remains largely unknown outside India.

    Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.
    Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
    I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.
    He who is too busy doing good finds no time to be good.


    Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

    The sleep that flits on baby’s eyes-does anybody know from where
    it comes? Yes, there is a rumor that it has its dwelling where,
    in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
    glow-worms, there hang two shy buds of enchantment. From there it
    comes to kiss baby’s eyes.

    The smile that flickers on baby’s lips when he sleeps-does
    anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumor that a young
    pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn
    cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew-washed morning,
    the smile that flickers on baby’s lips when he sleeps.

    The sweet, soft freshness hat blooms on baby’s limbs-does
    anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother was
    a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent
    mystery of love-the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on
    baby’s limbs.

    All the best to you,

    Patrick Gray

  8. wordhaver

    September 1, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Thanks so much, Patrick! Glad what I write so often finds traction within. Thanks for the heads up on Tagore and for the sampling. LIKE. Blessings to you in your journey!

  9. happygojulie

    March 18, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I’m a chaplain and few things sum up what I do better than your poem “what do you say to someone who is dying?” Thank you for all that you give the give the world. You name the unnamable.

  10. wordhaver

    March 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you! I’m glad it speaks! Much grace to and through you in your care for others. :o)


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