Plain on Tablets

Most authors wants to be understood, to convey a message without ambiguity. At the same time, we are wordsmiths who like to sharpen our skills and stretch our vocabularies. An imaginative turn of a phrase—or a seldom used, but elegant—idiom is often too tempting to pass over. The question stands: is the temptation rooted in vanity or in a passion to impart something important? A blog, of course, can be the ultimate vanity project. Alternatively, it can be a sound journalistic tool for reporting facts; a platform for artistic expression; a pulpit from which to preach righteousness and cry alarums; or simply a public diary to release pent-up emotions.

Plain on Tablets is a re-boot of a blog that, for the longest time, could not decide its own role. The title is taken from Habakkuk 2:2 in the Old Testament:

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”

The prophet Habakkuk received this answer during the Babylonian exile (597-538 BC), when Judah was enduring the chastisement of God for rebellion and idolatry. Up until this verse, Habakkuk was doing all the talking, i.e. complaining. No, not about the exile, which he knew was justly deserved and a vehicle for ultimate restoration. It just struck Habakkuk that the instruments of God’s justice, the Babylonians, were so much more corrupt and dishonorable than the Jews had ever been. When were these oppressors to receive their comeuppance?

Rest assured, God told him. When the time is right, they’ll get theirs.

They did (539 BC).

God wanted his assurance to be clear, simple and unambiguous; so plain and legible that it could be digested on the run. That is the aim of this re-tooled blog: to make things plain with regard to politics and culture. To de-scramble the political, historical, philosophical and, yes, spiritual components of the issues, laying them side by side—clearly recognizable and understood. We will impart substance without snark or snivel. In the present state of online opinion, that is a niche that needs filling.

And a tablet that needs writing.