Saturday, June 9, 2007


I'm looking forward to finding out about my local lodges. I am hopeful that I will have a chance to meet several members from each, to try and get a feel for the groups as a whole.

It is not unlike preparing for a job interview; it is as important for me to ask questions and make sure I feel good about a lodge as it is for that lodge to feel good about me.

Meaning is something that is important to me. I don't know yet what the membership situation is at either lodge, but I know that membership in Freemasonry is generally down across the country. I know this has led to lax standards and/or the adoption of one day classes at some loedges. Declining membership must be a tough problem to solve and a frightening one to face, but from my current perspective I don't quite see how lowering standards or simplifying the initiation process could be a good thing in the long run. Personally, I'm not all that interested in becoming a Master Mason if all I have to do is show up for a day and hand somebody a check.


I just spent about fifteen minutes trying to write a few sentences describing what I think "meaning" is, and failed miserably.

Easier perhaps to describe what I think it is not:
  • In junior high school my English class has a program called "Great Books", wherein we would have to read a short story and then spend a week writing an essay about what it "meant." After that, the whole class would reconvene to discuss the story. The thing was, there was a prescribed list of meanings for each story, and you would score poorly on your essay or the discussion if you couldn't guess what it was you were supposed to be reading into everything. It was a fruitless and frustrating exercise, because there was really nothing to be inferred; it was all predetermined, so instead of reading a story and finding your own meaning in its words, you spent all of your energy trying to guess what the teacher wanted to hear.
  • It is not a form of ostentation such as buying a Hummer or a big ugly pinky ring. All that means to anybody is that you have a lot of money, and apparently nothing meaningful to spend it on.
  • It is not arguing over the replacement of a galvanized pipe coat rack.
That last link speaks again to my previous consternation over taking the bad with the good. Here's the interesting thing, though: If the sentiments of all the younger Masons writing weblogs and podcasting are representative of younger Masons as a whole, then that kind of inertia may be a relatively short-term problem as younger members continue to focus on "the educated, studied, and philsophical side of Freemasonry."

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