Do we focus too much on charity?

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

  1. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Dude do not make me moderate you. This is not what was said at GL. The bill that passed states us as charitable and prior to this passing they had the option to exempt us, now with this bill the city has to relief the taxes all we have to do is file the form every 3 or 4 years I forgot which we at the Temple have lawyers do. The state did not even know how they where going to handle this until recently.. !

    Did you hear the law book slam.. ! (insert old man voice) READ IT.. !
     
  2. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Sorry Brother, Just reporting what was said from the GM at Wardens Retreat. HE did say details were fuzzy but so far no one has stated how it will be done. But he did say we would have to prove we were doing charitable work with a majority of the funds. As a matter of fact he said if 40% of the amount saved was not going to charity don't expect to keep the exemption. He also said this is where the charitable action report comes in that we CAN be doing right now and sending to GL every quarter.

    By the way, I had a flashback just now and I did soil myself a little.
     
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Men are attracted to Freemasonry because they have a desire to learn the Craft, not flipping pancakes to keep the lights on. I can donate my time and money to thousands of non-profits, but I can only learn the Craft within a Masonic Lodge. The Scottish Rite and Shrine and wonderful bodies....but you don't have to be a Mason to donate $ to them. Charity should be the result of Freemasonry, not the cause.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  4. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    the kind of charity i like is when someone announces in lodge that so and so needs glasses and can't read, and then next stated, it's not brought up because it's no longer a problem.

    not necessarily someone needing glasses per se, just the "disappearance of need" that is the cool part.
     
  5. tom268

    tom268 Registered User

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    Well, I hope I won't offend anyone with my posting. It is not my intent, please put it on my lack of finesse in language skill if it does.

    This may add some additional thoughts, as what is completely normal for you, is somewhat strange for me. I want to tell you my experiences and thoughts with and about american masonry.

    For me, your charitable projects look great. Large ammounts of money, each appendant body with its large-scale health projects, smaller neighborhood projects for the lodges and on and on. Then I was amazed by the incredible number of brothers you have and the scale of social omnipresence you have. Here where I am from, social projects are small scale, sometimes the money is even given anonymous. People don't know us, not even the taxi drivers know the lodge building in their town. There is no need to hide actively, but we are just not on the "social radar screen" of the public.

    My next experience was with one day classes. I chatted to a brother, a 32nd degree mason, who couldn't even name his craft lodge because he was not aware that he should have one. After a while I got the picture and he explained that he was a mason for 2 weeks and has absolutely no idea of the craft. The comparable degree in my rite is the 10th degree, and it takes you at least 12 years to get there, if you are an active officer, 15 years if not.

    At another occasion I talked to a different brother. He told me that je just returned from lodge and had a wonderful, almost perfect meeting. I asked him, what he did take home from the meeting, but he didn't understand what I was talking about. I put it to the language barrier, talking about such a specialized topic like masonry goes way over my school-english. I asked him, what has touched him inside, what was the special moment in the ritual, that moved him so much that his spirit surely still nourish from. The only answer I got was "the ritual was performed flawless".

    I was not able to comprehend, because I know the ritual as a deeply moving, spiritual and meditative moment. There is so much more in the ritual than pleasure of the audience and cameradery. Then some US brothers explained me, that the great chatity projects are a double edged sword. The projects have to be financed and that means a large membership is vital. With a contemplative and meditative system, your lodges would have a maximum of 100 members, even in the larger cities. Fees would be rising for membership, donations for charity would be dropping by the same ammount, so that the brothers can still afford masonry, and the charity projects would either fall or have to be financed with outside sources, no longer be masonic charity.

    Well, that's the situation here in Germany. I guess our fees are higher, but after all, I pay as much as anyone of you, because my charity donations are surely much smaller. The question is, why did we join masonry. If I wanted to do good in form of charity, I would have joined one of the countless other charity organizations. I won't have to dress up for them, I don't have to spend time in meetings unless I want to and I can do good with my money. I could even give donations without being a member, and with most organizations here I would get a tax refund with my donation, which I do not get in lodge as lodges are usually not registered non-profit organizations.

    I joined masonry because I was searching for a way of western spirituality. An addition to my faith and church service, where I can meet others of different ways of life and ways of faith, to grow spiritually more than I could do in my self-given borders. Charity is a part of spiritual growth, but it is the fruit, not the seed.

    You see, I have 12 years of experience in "my" kind of masonry, and as you see it is very different from yours. I prefer mine, but I don't want to judge what is better or worse, it is just different. I hear US brothers complaining about your kind of masonry, and I hear German brothers complaining about ours, because they want it to be like yours. For me, my kind ist the best and I would not wish it any different. But maybe my thoughts give you an outside-view of "your" masonry, and that is sometimes a good addition to evaluate what one has.
     
  6. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Perfectly said charity grows out of the Mason as a by-product of the teachings or seed Masonry provides us.
     
  7. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    Well said


    The other chartiable groups pay their officers big bucks. our officers get paid with smiles
     
  8. kcir

    kcir Registered User

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    I have to say that I really don't like what I am hearing. For me, a good man or a good mason, gives of himself to others who are in need.
     
  9. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    I'm curious to know if anyone can point to something that indicates a ranking of internal charity as "primary." We are especially called to help each other, but in our monitor under EA, covering of a symbolic lodge- Faith, Hope and Charity are not described or limited internally. Faith and Charity are explicitly outward in the monitor and Charity as the greatest. (page 27)

    In the Scottish Rite, I think external charity is overwhelmingly called on.
     
  10. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Look at the IRS definition for a 501(c) 10.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicf04.pdf

    Also Article 1 of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Texas or as in our Grand Lodge Law Book Division 2, Article 1, Section 2

     
  11. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Hurm, I only see charity listed once.

    I prefer:

    The purposes of this Grand Lodge are to control and regulate
    the practice of Freemasonry throughout its jurisdiction, in accordance
    with the immemorial usages of this ancient and honorable
    Craft; to advance the moral and social interest of its membership;
    to foster good citizenship, honest industry and upright living; to
    assist the widows and orphans of its deceased members; to stimulate
    friendship, harmony and brotherly love, and generally to promote,
    in its own way, the happiness of mankind – it is a Fraternity
    of good men, linked together by honorable and indisoluble bonds,
    to accomplish these noble purposes, eschewing all interest in factional
    politics and sectarian religion and free from the dictation of
    both.

    IMO charity should be the result of Freemasonry, not the purpose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  12. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    That's my thought - however, the third section of the EA seems to contradict that directly.
     
  13. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    My information may be wrong but as I understand it; F, H and Charity came about after the Morgan incident when Gl's were starting to cater to public opinion.
    Prior to that it was Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
    If this is true, it seems as though it can be changed as the situation warrants.

    Charity in its original meaning was "love". there are numerous forms of "charity" other than $$$$, which is probably the easiest and most impersonal kind.
     
  14. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Absolutely. I have no problem not giving money because of how much time I spend with various groups. I'm actually trying to figure out where to scale down this year.
     
  15. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    I was interested in the idea of the focus being a post-Morgan event. (Which I'm suspicious of quite a few of our charges, but haven't compared rituals yet)

    The Morgan Affair was around 1827.

    Here is a citation of work from 1772 calling for outward facing charity.

    The other thing this search causes me to remember is that "Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth" as also called upon. (pg 33 of the monitor discusses relief - again, in general terms, not just internal). Relief of the distressed is another long standing value.

    Later on, there seems to be more qualifiers and circumstances. But looking at that, it's general in the beginning and is meant to be learned by the early candidate. Are the lessons of Relief and Charity meant to be reigned in or kept, but with an additional focus.

    I wonder if the use of Brotherly Love at the beginning encourages the idea that all of the values have the word Brotherly in front of it and is meant to be internal. But even the monitorial description of Brotherly Love is specifically outward and general.
     
  16. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    Freemasonry being active in the community is a good thing, I mean doing something to help beside fish frys, helping a school, community center ect. Actual involvement instead of giving money as a Blue Lodge to a Shriner hosptial or something along those lines. The Blue Lodge IMHO has a duty to improve it's community, even if the majority of it's brothers don't live there anymore.

    -Bro Vick
     
  17. MGM357

    MGM357 Registered User

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    We are our brothers keeper. Everytime I go to Lodge and visiting with Brothers and enjoying the fellowship, it feels like charity. Sometimes I recieve it and sometimes I give it.

    When it comes to charity, are we helping Masons more than our communities?
     
  18. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    IMHO, the primary purpose of a Blue Lodge is to make Master Masons. A Blue Lodge should come to the relief of all its worthily distressed Brothers along with the wives, widows, and orphans. Master Masons, as individuals, should decide which charities they should personally support. Now, I am not saying a lodge shouldn't support causes like Little League, scholarships, Red Cross, and etc. We should not, however, spend all our time and energy on projects that causes us to neglect our primary purpose. After all, a true Master Mason will practice charity.
     

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