Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Masonic E-mail List Etiquette

If you want proof of how corrosive religion and politics can be to lodge interactions, you probably don't have to look much further than your inbox. I wound up on the mass e-mail list of a Brother for whom I have a lot of respect, and with each toxic right-wing viral email he forwards to me that respect diminishes just a little bit.

It's not because I don't happen to agree with most of the bile being spewed in these screeds. People are entitled to their beliefs, and however different your views may be from mine I respect your right to those beliefs and opinions. What really bothers me is that invariably the tone of these messages assumes my complicity in the hate, disrespect, distortions, and intolerance that they preach.

They're sent with the assumption that of course I agree that this is a Christian nation that should have legally mandated and legally protected Christian prayers in school, and display the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and that Barack Obama is arrogant, and evil, and elitist, and probably not even a real citizen, and turning Amurrca into a socialist country, and I-wonder-how-those-pinko-liberals-like-their-change-NOW. They're so strongly worded that I don't dare respond with a polite "Please don't send me any more political e-mails" message for fear I'll get dragged into an argument I want no part of, which can't be won in the face of such anger and bitterness, and that has the potential to taint more relationships in my predominantly conservative lodge.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wondering Aloud

What was the last major appendant body to come into existence? Has anyone tried to get one going lately?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Official - The Lost Symbol is about the Freemasons

I'm probably the last person to be blogging about the fact that the covers for both the US and UK versions of The Lost Symbol feature both Washington D.C. and Masonic Symbols prominently.

Which means that I will probably begrudgingly buy and read it, because about a month after its release, Massachusetts will be holding another state-wide open house, and I need to know how Dan Brown has represented (or misrepresented) our order. Talk about your free publicity, though!

If we can set people straight while still leaving them with a little hint of mystery, we could see a lot of new petitions, and I don't see people petitioning lodges because of this book as necessarily a bad thing. Having people clamoring at the west gate is a good problem to have, as long as you're willing to investe a little deeper than "Do you believe in a Supreme Being? Any questions? No? Ok, sign here and you'll hear from us in a couple of months."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gate City Lodge #2 hits the NY Times

And thankfully, the article is not written in a ZOMG THE MASONS ARE ALL RACISTS tone. Rather, Sheila Dewan and Robbie Brown seem to be shaking their heads in along with the rest of us who live in the 21st century:


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bangor Masons have a New Home

Yeah! Bangor's beautiful 1868 Masonic Temple burned down in 2004, and instead of retreating to a bland new structure in the suburbs, the area's Masonic bodies have purchased some wonderful old buildings on the grounds of the former Bangor Theological Seminary. The closing was Monday. Congratulations and good luck, Brothers!



Speaking of Improving Masonry

I remarked not long ago that I'd rather hear about things people have actually *done* to improve Masonry than listen to people bitch about what the rest of us should or shouldn't be doing to improve it.

Regarding the situation in Georgia (which I assure you, my Brethren in other parts of the country, seems as backwards and alienating to all of the Masons I've talked to here in the Northeast as it must to non-Masons reading the articles starting to trickle out in the news), I've e-mailed my DDGM to 1) Bring the matter to his attention and 2) Ask him what my Grand Lodge can do about it.

I'm not mentioning this to pat myself on the back for sending an e-mail... just to remind folks that if enough of us take the small steps like getting the word out through our respective Masonic grapevines, stuff might actually start to happen.

Or you could just keep complaining to anonymous people on the internet, that might work too.