Traditional observance lodges are they good for th

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by JD Price, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    There is nothing, not one single word, in the EA lecture that should be considered an inducement to slovenliness. There is a world of difference between choosing to dress down and having nothing to dress up with.
     
  2. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    As Master, I don't care what you wear to my meetings. The important thing is that you are there.

    The internal not the external is what makes a Mason. No tuxedo, suit, or business casual dress makes one Brother better than another.

    Within the state of Texas there are Lodges who's attire for officers at "labor" are a good pair of overalls and a nice shirt to go with. I don't see any issue with it so as long as the Brethren are in agreement as to the attire.
     
  3. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    Personally I would prefer nicer dress code, HOWEVER I'd take good attendance and willingness to labor over dress code any day.


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  4. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Such a policy is, of course, completely within the purview of any WM.

    Agreed, but a Mason's comportment is one of those internal qualities. One's choice of dress is a matter of comportment. I suspect that we disagree on how a Mason should comport himself. <shrug>
     
  5. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    Dresscodes in lodges, if one is instituted, should serve the primary purpose of bringing all brothers down on the level, so you no longer can see the difference between the CEO and the garbage man. I personally like this idea a lot.
    I will also agree that clothing does not a good mason make

    However what I think is missing a bit from the Craft presently is the aspect of dressing up a bit to show reverence. Looking at pictures form the past our ancient brethren would show up in some of the outfits that we see today.
    What I believe it often comes down to is that Texas is a very informal state, and people don't associate dresscode as much with decorum, as I think you can see when you look at what people wear to weddings, funerals and the symphony.

    I personally like dressing up in a tux, and think that a room of well dressed brethren doing good ritual is awesome. But if all a TO lodge provides is good steaks and fancy dress, then I'd also rather take a full lodge with good brethren instead.
     
  6. SteveR

    SteveR Registered User

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    I think the purpose of the TO Lodge is not the fancy dress and fancy dinners, but bringing back the reverence, education and solemnity to the Lodge Room in order to bring back purpose for many men coming to lodge. If you look at the data, it obviously is working with most TO Lodges between 75-100% attendance...some 100+% attendance.

    How many of your lodges have that level of attendance? It's a good point to meditate on...

    Obviously, it's not for everyone.

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  7. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I think this is really what it comes down to. A lodge can take or leave TO practices but if a lodge wants the types of results that TO lodges produce then it seems, to me at least, that adopting some, or all, of the TO practices would be the way to go.
     
  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I have to wonder if the attendance @ TO Lodges isn't due to the rarity of them. Brethren who are drawn to the TO concept will attend, but if every Lodge were to adopt the TO format, would those high numbers hold up?
     
  9. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    That's definitely a good point, Brother Bill, though there may be more to it.
    My two NM Lodges are very different animals. One has always been smaller, and commonly known (for several decades) as a "more esoteric" Lodge, but is by no means "TO." The larger one has around 500 members, and generally sees 20 at a meeting. The smaller one has around 40 members, and generally sees 20 a meeting, plus a dozen guests when there is an "open" topic presented.

    I think Mason's expectations from our Craft are as different as the Masons themselves. I wouldn't expect every Lodge to try to become TO, that would be ludicrous. But to say that they, or even the elements they use, are wrong and have no place in Freemasonry, is equally ludicrous.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I figure there is strength in diversity. So Masonry is better off with a mix of TO and modernized that it is with all of either. I think should all lodges go TO they would see lower total membership combined with higher attendance. To me quality *at the cost of* quantity is just as problematic as quantity *at the cost of* quality. There is strength in numbers.
     
  11. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    So let me get this straight...
    We should, in the setting of a dress code, lower the bar. <sigh>

    We are badly missing the point. If you have to artificially "make everyone the same" by forcing them to one standard of dress, you have work to do. As others have pointed out, it's not the external that matters.
    Again. it is not about what a Mason wears to Lodge. It is all about what he chooses to wear. That choice is most certainly an internal quality, i.e. it matters. Whether that choice is a tuxedo, a coat and tie, or just overalls shouldn't matter as long as it reflects the proper reverence and respect for the Lodge, it's work, and the other Brethren. Call me idealistic, but the Lodge that has that range of dress and still looks past it is the Lodge I want. That Lodge has found a "level" that is higher and more meaningful than the one that does not value comportment. In that Lodge no one looks askance at anyone because of his attire, no matter how humble or tony that attire might be, because each knows that the other has made the effort to elevate himself to that level by dressing in the best he has for the occasion.
     
  12. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    I think you are putting words in my mouth a little. What I'm saying is that a dress code in lodge should work to make all brothers look the same, so they end up on the level and you truly have to look at the internal and not the external since there will be no difference in dress.
    Whether that is lowering, raising or moving the bar sideways I don't know.
    Personally I like suits and tuxes as I think it gives more formality and reverence, but will not look down on brethren that choose a different attire. That much be an individual lodge decision.

    I'll agree with you that a lodge that values each man for his inner, and not his outer has truly reached another level, but how many lodges like that do you truly know? A uniform dress code is an aid to get there.
     
  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I've sat at lodge with a broke brother who could barely scrape together the gas to get to lodge, wearing a blazer from a thrift store. I've sat at lodge with a rich brother with a net worth in the tens of millions, wearing his oldest blazer and shirt. At a glance it's hard to tell which is which and that's deliberate by both brothers.

    I've sat at lodge where a brother apologized for attending in his work jeans and spots on his shirt because he only had time after work to come straight to lodge. No apologies my brother - Remember what spots meant on the apron of operative Masons. The choice in outfit *matters*. Sometimes that choice is "get to lodge on time even though it means in my work outfit".

    Different lodge, different usual dress code. They mostly work just fine. Is this a problem in thinking your own lodge is the way it's supposed to be or maybe that your own lodge is the way it's not supposed to be?
     
  14. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I have had more than a few discussions about TO and or Masonic Restoration lodges and it is funny/ironic how they almost always get hung up on the dress code. I am not sure about all of these lodges but most do not have dress codes in their by-laws per say it is usually a by-product of their "group discussions" on what was best for them and their lodge. Their success as lodges should not dictate any lodges path. "What's good for the goose is not always good for the gander". My suggestion is not to emulate but to innovate success and see where you and your lodge land.
     
  15. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    TO lodges strike me as very modular, which means you can pick whichever practices you feel are best for your lodge and even fine-tune and tweak them.

    So you can adopt some TO practices and not even have a dress code...or, if even if you do decide to have a dress code you can pick one that's best for your lodge. Just because Enlightenment Lodge in Colorado wears tuxes doesn't mean that a lodge in Timbuktu, TX can't adopt blue jeans, dress shoes, and black polo shirts for their dress code. The basic idea of a dress code should be having everyone dress on the level but if a lodge wants to say it's for other reasons (respect for the craft) then that's their right and I see no harm in it. :)
     
  16. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Tuxedos are in reality pretty inexpensive. Not all that much more than a couple of good pair of overalls. Anyone can use an iron.

    And they certainly do lend most any situation a bit of gravitas if carried off right. And sometimes I just like wearing black tie - it feels comfortable, cool, and formal. It says "I respect this event" and "I respect all of you" enough to put it on, fish out matching cufflinks from the drawer and get em on right. It says, "we are gentlemen", because in truth, we are. I like those aspects of it.

    Gravity is the key. If the event is about gravity, then formal dress will augment the gravity.

    This is why, in my opinion, the ritual has to be the cornerstone of this stuff. Build off of truly, stand out, excellent ritual work, floor work, lighting, and so forth the black tie amplifies it.

    If the center of the thing is the formal dress it will be very easy for the thing to become thin, ostentatious and silly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  17. Roy Vance

    Roy Vance Certified Premium Member

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    Re: Traditional observance lodges are they good fo

    Have a talk with Frater Cliff Porter about those things. Better yet, read his book, "A Traditional Obsevance Lodge; One Mason's Journey to Fulfillment". I think you will see that the TO lodges are not that much different than other lodges....well, yes, they are, in that the dues are higher, they have a dress code, and they somehow seem to attract and retain members better than most lodges that I have seen. Do you suppose these guys might just have the answer the other lodges are looking for? So, they dress up once a month. So, they pay a little more each year. Cannot we sacrifice a little something in order to get out of Masonry what we came looking for? BTW their ritual is just as the Grand Lodge stipulates. They are no more able to change ritual than any other lodge. They have to follow the same guidelines as everyone else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    This is an important point. I got mine used at a price no higher than a regular suit at a discount suit place. In this discussion we generally mean the younger brothers moving through the line not retired brothers on a fixed income. For the younger brothers their time is more precious than their dollars in very many cases. Telling a brother "A used tux at this discount place costs less than a suit" makes a big difference. Formality costs attitude more than it costs money? Very cool lesson in Masonic values.

    This was on my list of reasons to become a Mason. Not high on my list but it was on the list. Become more comfortable in formal dress as a part of becoming more comfortable in formal situations. To me it was bundled with the public speaking aspect. One small part of a package of self improvement is being in a tux at a formal event and looking like it's a matter of routine for me because I wear my tux like it's just another outfit. Because it pretty much is just another outfit after doing enough degrees in it. Standing at the podium at the JW, SW and WM stations also helped me to be comfortable at a speaker podium when making a presentation. Same principle.

    When I took my degrees I was impressed that the brothers came in tuxedo. Degrees are about the candidate. Would I have been impressed if they came in clean polo shirts and slacks? Sure. But it was an extra touch.

    Over the years I've noticed that lodges that have the extra touches are the lodges that have plenty of candidates in their pipeline. Tuxedo is just one of many picks in a cafeteria plan. Have a bunch of options from the cafeteria plan and it's impressive enough to want to stay among these men. It doesn't matter all that much which items are picked from the cafeteria plan just that a bunch of them are. I figure TO lodges want to check off as many of the options in the cafeteria plans as they can. I suggest that once you know that a used tux at a discount shop costs less than a typical suit at a department store it becomes low hanging fruit.
     
  19. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Neither are suits. I don't own a tuxedo yet but I own several suits and they weren't expensive at all. Thrift shops can be wonderful, especially if you have patience and luck.

    I'm just a college student so I'm by no means rich either.
     
  20. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Of all the things a TO lodge brings to the table it is amazing dress code is what kills it for most. I cannot imagine what a lodge would be like if I knew the men their where expecting me to bring my A game to philosophize with them.


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