Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Crack Reporting about the Masons

I mean, really, why did they even bother?


Can we please stop giving quotes about how we don't have any secrets to the press? At this point they have clearly taken the "Masons are trying to shed their mystique and seem more mundane" ball and run with it. They don't need our help anymore.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Importance of Traveling

If you become a Mason, chances are good that a Brother will stand up after one (or all) of your degrees, congratulate you, and then proceed to exhort you to get out and visit other lodges, in and beyond their district. Sometimes they'll go so far as to say, "Visiting other lodges is what it's all about!"

Because many of these Brothers are old-timers, they get tuned out by the other members of the lodge who have heard the same spiel dozens of times before. You, who still barely know the names of anyone in your own lodge, will think to yourself "First things first! I don't even understand what just happened to me. I don't want to go to some other lodge full of guys I don't know."

But here's the thing: if you join your local lodge and find that it's not a good fit for you (membership too old, membership too young, personality conflicts, whatever) how are you ever going to know if there's a lodge in the next town over that's everything you're looking for if you never go and visit them?

If you've joined and are getting everything you need from your mother lodge and see no reason you should ever visit another, that's great... but if you've joined and feel let down, or puzzled at what the big deal is, get out and travel! It's one of your rights and privileges as a Master Mason. Don't be hesitant about setting foot in a room full of total, or near-total strangers; they're your Brothers, and you may meet among them Masons who embody whatever particular aspect of Freemasonry attracted you to the fraternity in the first place.

The problem is that it can take a while to determine whether a lodge is merely suffering from typical generation gap issues ("We've always done it that way!" "$8 is too much for dinner as it is!") or if there's a deeper dysfunction at work, and because new candidates look to the rest of the lodge to show them the ropes, they may assume that the microcosm of their lodge is "just the way Freemasonry is," wonder what the attraction is supposed to be, and stop showing up.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Question for my Massachusetts Scottish Rite Brethren

If a Brother wanted to join the Scottish Rite in Massachusetts and go sequentially from 4º to 32º, is that even something that can be done anymore? Just join a Lodge of Perfection and work from 4º through 14º, move on to Princes of Jerusalem, and so on? I've looked at a few different Valleys over the last 2 1/2 years and get the impression that there are some degrees that get performed rarely, if ever... and not sequentially, either.

A corollary question: If you joined the Scottish Rite by way of a one-day class, did you find the degrees themselves fulfilling, or is your enjoyment of Scottish Rite drawn from your participation in one or more of the bodies that make up your Valley? I live prohibitively far from any of the Massachusetts Valleys to get anywhere near as involved as I have in my Blue Lodge, so my main interest in the Scottish Rite (at least, right now) would be in experiencing the degrees themselves. I know the degrees don't need to be taken sequentially, but I'm not in a rush.

Under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions

“A universe simple enough to be understood is too simple to produce a mind capable of understanding it.” — Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow

(Via Futility Closet)