Do we focus too much on charity?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    As Freemasons, do we focus too much on fundraising and charity vs. being a Brotherhood of men? We invest so much time and effort on giving, but very little on ourselves. While commendable, I don't care about our Lodge handing out bikes, scholarships, etc because that's what Church and CHARITABLE organizations are for. Charity doesn't bring in the numbers, it's the friendship and Brotherly love that attract men to our Craft. It's time that we invest in our biggest asset....ourselves. Instead of brainstorming ideas that benefit your community, why not focus on what will bring old members back? What does YOUR Lodge offer to it's members? The majority of men are not attracted to Freemasonry because of charity, but our Brotherhood. It's about time we invest in that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  2. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    Amen! And thank you.
    I've been saying this for a number of years but it falls on deaf ears. Those who are attracted to Masonry only because of charitable efforts only perpetuate the idea.
     
  3. Chris_Ryland

    Chris_Ryland Registered User

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    I don't think that our Fraternity can be too charitable. Should we focus on things that make us better men and brothers? That is something that we have to push forward in our respective lodges. I think that without our charitable deeds, we don't attract very many men at all. We need to be charitable to attract members, but we need to strive to make men better to retain those members coming to our lodges.
     
  4. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    It seems to me we should expect more from our dues than just scholarships and light bills paid. I wonder why a lodge would not buy a projector and popcorn machine for family movie nights or bring a friend movie night at Lodge projected on the wall. Why would a lodge not have an annual BBQ cook off that had free entries and free entry to be a judge (free meal:) where the lodge bought enough meat for all the Brothers to show off their sauce with a Grand prize also bought by the lodge of a HUGE trophy and gift certificate to Strickland Propane. The ideas are endless for a lodge to invest in the well being of the Brethren and give them avenues to sit in the shade and chat with good men we call Brothers. This is the most important charity we can do in my mind and we are leaving it out.
     
  5. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    If you research the changing of the word CHARITY you will see that the definition has changed greatly since it was added to our rituals. Like many things in masonry however, you will have to research it yourself. It means more when you discover on your own!

    :21:
     
  6. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    I guess in my mind I wonder what the result of that Brotherhood is? What are the natural results of building better men?

    It seems like charity is one answer.

    If we are going to cut back, we should stop putting the founding fathers and other community leaders who build up institutions of value when we explain the fraternity to people.
     
  7. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    IMHO, Blue Lodge Freemasonry is not a charitable organization. It is an order in which its individual brothers practice charity. In theory, we accept men from all walks of life. As a result, this makes us a pretty diverse group with generically common goals. Our practice of charity is not limited to lodge functions. So, if you want to help children, join the Shrine, St. Judes, or the March of Dimes. If your hometown needs help, support someone to run for public office or run yourself. If eradicating cancer, heart disease, or diabetes is your calling become a volunteer. The list goes on and on..... The main function of a Blue Lodge is to make Master Masons. Master Masons support Master Masons by helping them be the men they ought to be. Before we can be of help to others, we must first take care of ourselves. Freemasonry teaches us to look after one another. What better way to practice charity?
     
  8. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    My wife always repeats the airline phrase "Put the oxygen mask over your own face before helping someone else". I'm not sure I'd describe that as charity, but it allows your future charity to continue existing.
     
  9. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    Excellent post. IMO this definition is what was meant by Masonic charity in its original form. In this form it is all-encompassing.

    Masonic charity at the blue lodge level means..c t t r o w d B M Ms t ws a os.
     
  10. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    I looked up CHARITY in an old (1982 oldest I have at work) Monitor of the Lodge Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. and it says:

    CHAR-i-ty -- universal love or goodwill; forgiving
     
  11. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    "And if you have more children than masks, pick your favorites!"- SWA flight attendant
     
  12. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?


    This brought a laugh to me. I actually said this at a secretary school because two Grand Lodge officers kept calling us a Non-Profit Org. and a Charitable Org. Needles to say when I said "According to the IRS we are neither. We are an organization that is tax exempt that performes charitable work. No where in the tax code for a 501(c)10 does it say we are Non-Profit" the GL officers acted as if I peed on the bible and proceeded to inform me I was wrong and one got a Law book and slamed it on the table in front of me instructing me I should read it. Good times. Tom was there to witness the whole thing and it would have been a big deal but he is sitting there laughing the whole time.. ! I am cracking up thinking about it now. Whew, good times.
     
  13. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    Good times. This mind-set that we are a charity makes me insane. The emphasis on charitable work a direct result of the Morgan Affair. Masonry needed to rehabilitate its image, and used charity as the vehicle to do so.

    It is the individual act of charity that is done in secret that is the lesson to the Mason. It is the act of doing for another without any need for any reward, including praise, that is the lesson each Mason must come to truely understand. Writing a check does not necessarily fit the lesson, doing so public explicitly does not.
     
  14. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    I don't necessarily disagree, but what is the purpose of the massive George Washington Masonic Memorial?

    Is the memorial for his masonic achievements or his outside achievements? (I consider patriotism a form of charity/giving to others)

    How many "famous masons" do we cite who gave as much to masonry as they did the outside world? I know many did, but I also know many famous ones have seemingly un-masonic histories that get ignored.
     
  15. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    I believe the purpose is to recognize the achievements of a Mason. As a fraternity we recognized a great man and Freemason with a beautiful monument. I don't think everyone needs to be recognized. Thats why MWSA meetings last 2 hours, the first hour is recognizing people. The Freemason must check there ego if they are to be paid Masters wages. There can be no 'need' to be recognized.
     
  16. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    Re: Too Charitable?

    I do not like that we use our charitable works as advertising. I think that masons should be charitable. But not necessarily the lodge, at least not to the degree we like to claim. If a mason heres of a need (say needy children needing coats or help with a dentist appointment), he should attempt to meet that need with the help of other brothers if necessary. But it should be done in secret, not as publicity.

    I don't know how true it is (although it seems reasonable), but I heard once that the lion's share of the "million's" masons give every day is actually money given by Shriners to their charities. True, Shriners are Masons, but there seems to be some "cross contamination" if we are using this for our own PR.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  17. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    This is completely true. I agree. I'm not sure it not a little misleading since much of that money comes from trust funds. The way its presented makes it sound like we're all out busting our hump raising money for childrens hospitals.
     
  18. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    The problem with this is that in order for our ad volerum exemption to work we will be forced to document ALL charity we do and present it to a Apprasial District in "x" number of years to continue our exemption. There will be a cost to this and the question of "Did you do this to get the exemption or because it is what we do" becomes apparent. How do you justify your organization as being charitable when we act anoynomusly or just the simple act of helping each other become better by offering an ear to listen is charity.
     
  19. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    The Leg drew a way around this for us. It includes in it's description of charitable as 'Lodge type' organizations. But I agree the whole thing does make me wanna go take a shower.
     
  20. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    What have you/we done for hospitals for children? Everything that i have done-which is penniless-and would do for the rest of my life, has no monetary value to the cost of one childs 18 yrs worth of operations and care.
    If this help does not come from us Master Masons, Scottish Rite, York Rite or Shriners, then who is going to help out OUR children-foreign and domestic-?

    While we are doing chartiable work whether its for a scholorships,bikes,clothes,glasses,operations and care, we are not only helping others but ourselves-Bond.
    In a current newspaper, a Santas wishlist was available from 1-3 graders. One little girl was asking Santa for glasses. I was ready to fly to her relief with a smile. This is our nature. We have been taught lessons that have been engraved within us.

    At a past Shriners meeting, I had the honor of sitting next to a brother/noble. He told that his children were all grown up and went through life with little to know problems. This drew him to the Scottish Rite and Shriner bodies-to help those less fortunate.

    Helping those who need help is apart of our work. This strenghtens our bonds and exposes our work. which speaks volumes and to me this is Our Lords Work through us.
     

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