Addressing the Issues

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    What issues would you like your Grand Lodge to address? If you could make a significant change on how things are done, what would it be? What advice would you give a new Grand Master? As Masons, what should be our top priority?
     
  2. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    I believe our first priority should be quality of Masons not quantity. We see too many pushes for numbers and that isn't going to fix anything.
     
  3. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    So mote it be!
     
  4. Txmason

    Txmason Registered User

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    To be able to wear Masonic aprons and regalia in parades etc. provided the brothers dress appropriately (such as collard shirt and slacks). The ability to do more fundraising and advertise such as have an ad in the local football program saying we support our local high school football team.
     
  5. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    Clarification regarding membership in Masonic Organizations that are not appendent bodies. Lack of clarification of the membership availability of these groups make some believe they are all off limits, clarification on these organizations as they are established will help with these understandings.

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  6. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    How about a good, hard look at the GLoT operating budget?
     
  7. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    +1

    I'd like for us to have the ability to sponsor little league teams.
     
  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Exploring ways to help our blue Lodges instead of Grand Lodge.
     
  9. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    I think if we don't get the GLoT budget in order, the pain will continue to be felt by the blue lodges through per capita increases - weaknesses in the GLoT budget are putting extreme financial pressure on many of our lodges.
     
  10. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    I picked up a copy of the Budget at GL last year. I have it in my files somewhere; I'll see if I can find it, and then see if there's anything glaringly obvious.

    To their credit, they did stop publishing the Teas Masons magazine, and opted for electronic only. So, I think they're trying. I then saw some grumbling on the GL FB page and through other communications channels because some Brothers without access to the Internet missed getting the magazine, and subsequently felt out of the loop. I'm sure that makes them (GL) feel like they can't win for losing. I would imagine that the Trustees are actively looking for other things too? I guess we need to collectively bring up some other ideas once we have a handle on the distribution of funds.

    It may not be as simple as cutting X, as their might be indirect benefits to some expenditures. I've heard travel mentioned, but I'm on the fence with that. GL officers draw a crowd, and I think those types of visits provide a service, and build esprit de corps.
     
  11. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Totally agree with you Bro. Brad. There will be no across the board "cuts". But if there are five or six areas that can be reduced or streamlined, or automated, or something, then maybe the sum of the savings can help. One area I'd recommend looking at is travel expenses for the officers. Agree that some level of travel is required for some(?) of the officers, what are we paying in re-imbursements for travel by all officers?

    Completely agree that there is no, single budget line item that will "fix" things, but a thorough analysis of the budget against an analysis of the critical budget items might help us prioritize our spending and maybe suspend some for a couple years until the economy improves.

    Another, and highly emotional issue is the Endowed Membership program. I personally have endowed in several organizations, but I also kick in at least my per capita to those organizations to make up the shortfall that is still owed to GL. I like the idea of an Endowed program, but maybe its the right time to start over with a new program. I would always advocate some type of endowment program, but it will take some "big heads" to figure out what it should look like in a new form that doesn't lose money.

    These are just some thoughts off the top of my head. When I see a thread "Addressing the Issues", I see the GLoT budget as an issue that impacts all of masonry in Texas.
     
  12. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Nothing is black and white. There are many avenues of grey.

    Let's all put the energy in solving the issues.

    Fingers don't usually lead to heavy lifting.

    Everyone must play their part.


    This, brothers, is the issue of our times.
     
  13. Observer

    Observer Registered User

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    Have any of y'all attended a Warden's Retreat? Do you plan on attending? Haven't been in several years, but they used to be very beneficial in the early 2000's. It provided much needed insite into the workings of Grand Lodge and actually gave you a chance to get to know the Grand Lodge Trustees.
     
  14. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Agreed!
     
  15. HKTidwell

    HKTidwell Premium Member

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    If we can not get our own lodges in order how in the world can we worry about Grand Lodge. So many lodges are struggling and for to long they have been getting by and just going through the motions. If we focus on building leaders in our lodge we will influence Grand Lodge in the long run with a greater impact. I look around in many facets of society and realize we are not making leaders any more. Now don't get me wrong, I've long said we need to put AC in GLoTX and modernize it so it can become a cornerstone in the Waco Community.

    How many lodges even put together a budget? I know there are some but I would be willing to bet most(60% or more) do not. How can we worry about what Grand Lodge is doing when our lodge is in disarray? When money is mentioned in Lodges everybody bristles. I surprised everybody when I put information on paper last year and discussed the state of our dues. We laid it out and presented it three times and there were still some who complained but the majority finally understood the problems the lodge faced.

    Dues and degree fees
    This is typically a fly by the seat of your pants/arbitrary number somebody says "Lets raise it to X amount." If I ran a business like a lodges' business is run I'd be bankrupt in a heart beat.

    Grand Lodge is destined to fail and fall into disarray if we do not strengthen the lodge. We are not a top-down organization, we are a bottom-up organization. There is a reason most of us can think of quiet a few items we do or don't do for Brothers and our Lodge yet few items for Grand lodge excluding the Law and mail outs. Lodges complain about Grand Lodge telling them to do things or about this or that but do not utilize the items available from Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge has truly tried to strengthen the lodges but lodges have not stood up and helped themselves in my opinion. Lodges have bouts of helping themselves and then it falls off when leadership changes and energy drops.

    Forgive me for going off on a Tangent, I look at things going on in District 47 and I see some positive things coming for future generations. As a Brother said last night who visited my lodge It is good to see officer lines full of young faces. What is important is how our Brothers feel when they leave Lodge.

    Build leaders in our lodges and Grand Lodge will become a beacon based on the strength of each of us. Kinda like the game we used to play as kids Red Rover Red Rover, it is our weakest links that allow us to fall. We are the future and hold the keys to great things. Strengthen the weak, encourage the strong, empower the Brothers.
     
  16. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Well the Texas Mason Magazine is nothing more then a pulpit for GL Officer communication and soliciting merchandise. In matter of fact, I don't even read it, yet offer links to it for those who want to. What the Grand Lodge should of done is explain to the hundreds of Lodges why they had to go electronic aka PDF. Last I checked, by doing so saves them over $100k per year!

    Back to the Magazine. It doesn't really offer much. I know of several Brethren who've submitted articles for publication, including myself, but nothing came of it. I would love if the magazine became the voice of TEXAS MASONS not GRAND LODGE.
     
  17. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Why don't they publish articles from the Texas Lodge of Research in each edition? You don't have to do a full paper - scholarly journals publish edited snippets all the time. And they don't have to be new. How many hundreds, if not thousands, of papers are sitting in the Lodge of Research's archives? Break them out and let them see the light of day!
     
  18. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Whats more, I'd pay a subscription fee for that.

    But then my next immediate thought is, better to let the Lodge of Research run that endeavor. And publish it as a dense booklet once or twice a year.

    The issue most important to me as far as Texas Masonry is visitation with Prince Hall.

    Lots of other things are important, vital even - but the biggies like membership I don't know that the GL folks are equipped to tackle anyway. But then, I believe Gen Y are a different ball of wax than the generations that came before, and that life has changed a whole lot from the days when the majority of men bowled, golfed, country clubbed and other public activities in their free time. The video game era has taken hold, cell phones, ipads, social media and all the rest of it has transformed our most fertile ground, Gen Y, which is twice the size of Gen X, into something very few of the septuagenarian GL types are likely to understand.

    In some respects, we want men of old school values - but I think lodges can differentiate by appealing to men who find something missing in their World of Warcraft lives. It is why I talk about stuff like white water rafting trips, fishing, and whatnot. That rubs some folks wrong maybe who don't want lodge to be a social club, but I'm not proposing that at all - only realizing that getting out in real life together will likely be a very real draw for younger men who don't have outlets to do that. But I digress.

    In my opinion, the visitation issue is one of those things GL can address to help with membership proactively. Gen Y is going to find the division between PH and F&FA inexplicable for a true fact, better to tear down as much of that wall as possible now.

    I also think that on the petition the bit about the immortality of the soul and the divinity of the scriptures could be removed. Stick with do you believe in a Supreme Being and leave it at that. That simple action would make a very real difference in membership in 20 years, but Ive a feeling it will be pulling teeth to get it changed.
     

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