“Begin Thinking in a New Wayâ€

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by iainmason, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. iainmason

    iainmason Registered User

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    Ensor Notes March 15, 2005

    “Begin Thinking in a New Wayâ€

    Greetings Brethren,

    Today is the Ides of March, so beware of Roman Senators bearing knives, or those who don’t think for themselves? I recently passed a church, which was advertising the upcoming Sunday sermon titled “Begin Thinking in a New Wayâ€. This struck a chord in me, because I feel people don’t think enough or do their own thinking, they would rather let others do it for them. What we need to do is just think!

    This is so true in Masonry today. We have come to a crossroads in Masonry and complacency is wreaking havoc in our fraternity. Membership is declining and everyone seems to be pulling in opposite directions. Grand Lodges are making decisions that are not acceptable or perceived as not acceptable. Should we have one day classes or should we change our recruitment practices? Should we use an elitist European Model or a more casual approach? Is our structure suitable for today’s society, or are we trying too hard to fit in to society today?

    In our Masonic degrees we are taught specific lessons in each degree, and I feel the most important lessons that Masonry teaches are in the second degree. In the Final Charge of the Fellowcraft Degree here in Ontario you can find many of the answers to the above questions and they have to do with educating your mind to think.

    The candidate is told that “the internal and not external qualifications are what Masonry regardsâ€, and “As you increase in knowledge, so you consequently improve in social intercourseâ€.

    We make a statement that “It is unnecessary for me to recapitulate the duties which, as a Mason you are now bound to discharge, or to enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them as your own experience may have established their valueâ€, because he should be making his own decisions based on his thoughts and if we think he didn’t then he wouldn’t be standing here listening to this charge.

    We continue on in this vein by telling him that as in the past he must now continue to do the same, “It may be sufficient to observe that, as your past behaviour and regular deportment have merited the honour which we have conferred, in your new character it is expected that you will not only conform to the principles of the Order, but steadily persevere in the practice of every virtueâ€, and he must never stop.

    The Candidate is exhorted to make, “The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration; especially Geometry, which is established as the basis of our art. Geometry or Masonry originally synonymous terms, is of a divine and moral nature, enriched with the most useful knowledge, so that while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of moralityâ€, because not only it will teach him to think but it make him apply his thinking to his everyday life.

    The lecture goes on to show the candidate how to apply these lessons not only in our private lives but in our public as well, “As the solemnity of our ceremonies requires a serious deportment, you are to be particularly attentive to your behaviour at our regular assemblies. You are to preserve our ancient usages and customs sacred and inviolable, and induce others by your example, to hold them in due veneration.

    The laws and regulations of the Order you are strenuously to support and maintain. You are not to palliate or aggravate the offences of the brethren; but in the decision of every trespass against rules, judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with mercy.â€

    And admonishes us to practice being involved in the process of learning, “As a craftsman in our private assemblies, you may offer sentiments and opinion on such subjects as are regularly introduced into the lecture, under the superintendence of an experienced Master, who will guard the landmarks against encroachment,†and to actively seek advice of the more experienced.

    Finally it tells us how important thinking for ourselves will be in our lives and all those who come within our sphere of influence, “By this privilege you may improve your intellectual powers; qualify yourself a useful member of society; and like a skilled craftsman, strive to excel in all that is good and great. You are to encourage industry and reward merit; supply the wants and relieve the necessities of brethren and fellows to the utmost of your power and ability, and on no account wrong them or see them wronged, but apprise them of approaching danger, and view their interests as inseparable from your own.

    Such is the nature of your engagements as a Craftsman; and these duties you are now bound, by the most sacred ties, to observe.

    Beware the Ides of March! I don’t see any Roman Senators but I do see a lot of people who don’t think. Do we need to “think in a new way†or do we just need to go back to the lessons that were given to us in the second degree? Inside all of us is a wonderful little thing called a conscience that never fails to tell us whether we are doing the right thing or the wrong thing? It’s what gives us those pangs of guilt when we don’t do what we are supposed to do and all we need is to listen very carefully to our conscience and then act accordingly.

    Let’s all practice the lessons of the second degree and think and before we do anything and let our conscience direct us in the right direction.

    Fraternally

    Col. Ian M. Donald (KY)
     
  2. TxManx

    TxManx Registered User

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    Excellent lesson... I enjoyed reading that.

    I have to agree with the author, that society as a whole does not think much anymore.

    In many ways, we are discouraged from thinking...so that we 'fit in' and 'don't rock the boat'.

    I question a lot of things about Masonry as I learn, and I ask the questions and discuss my opinions in hopes that someone can provide a reason for things being the way they are. I have never, and hopefully will never, be satisfied with an answer of "that's just the way we've always done it."

    There is always a root reason somewhere...it might be buried, it might be difficult to find, but there seems to be a reason behind everything we do in Masonry...

    For those who want to change the way things are done...of which I'm as guilty of thinking about as anyone...I have been reminded that no other Fraternity, or other organization like ours has lasted as long as ours has. So, if we change too much to be like other organizations, aren't we dooming ourselves to their fate?
     

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