Value Meal Masonry

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Frater Cliff Porter, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
    www.therelevantmason.com

    Almost eerie shadows bounced and danced their solemn dance to the candlelight casting its shadows and souls upon the walls of the lodge, the temple. The men moved in silence in a circumambulation around their altar. Dress in tailcoats, their hands gloved, the aprons of the finest lambskin.

    The Brothers took their seats and the lodge was called to order, the ritual perfect and well practiced. The booming voice of the Worshipful Master and wraps of the gavel calling something forward from deep within everyone that the work at hand was important.

    Classical music wafted through the air and hung heavy on the deeper notes, the vibration touching the very souls of the men who sat through it. The business of the night was a discussion of philosophy and it went well.

    At the conclusion of lodge, the men retired to the dining room for a tradition Agape celebration with toast, fine food, and fine wine.

    The taste of the foods blossomed well with the wine selected for that dinner and it was with bitter sweetness that the Brethren pulled their chairs from the table for the final toast of the evening.

    Cigars and Scotch followed as the men discussed their views on religion, politics, and the fraternity well into the night.

    The next morning the men headed off to work. Tradesmen of all types, policemen, military, Brothers from all walks of life headed out from their suburban homes to their cubicles, cop cars, and offices to earn a living.

    I have the great fortune to belong the lodge described above and so does my Brother, friend, and neighbor.

    We often sit together on my porch solving the world’s problems both with a glass of bourbon and I with a cigar. It was during one of these sessions my friend, who is a Fellow Craft, spoke his prophetic words of wisdom about lodge, specifically his lodge experience and one of the reasons Masonry is important to him and should be treated as such.

    “You know,” he began with a tone in his voice echoing his contemplation, “my whole life is average, I live in an average home, I have an average job, and I shop at superstores for my average food, my average clothes, and my average television. I love that Masonry is not average. I love that once a month I get treat something special and that I feel special because of it. I’m glad we don’t experience Wal-Mart Masonry. I don’t want quicker, easier, or cheaper. I don’t need my Masonry in bulk with low quality materials. I don’t want Wal-Mart Masonry that one day of my month.”

    He is new to Masonry and his lodge is “special” because we make it so. He does not come from the Masonic experiences most of had when we formed our lodge. He was initiated into our lodge and has “grown up” there. Nonetheless, he hit on something quite profound. How much of Masonry has suffered as we moved to Wal-Mart Masonry.

    As tracing boards that were profoundly beautiful and steeped in artistic imagery moved to PowerPoint presentations, as quality wrought ritual moved to stuttered lines from a man moved into the progressive line to quickly, as Festive Boards moved to paper plates and plastic forks, as dressing for lodge meant no holes in your jeans—what disservice have we done to ourselves and to our Craft as we turned to the convenience and cost of Wal-Mart Masonry.

    When there is little value placed in the trappings of the lodge, when there is little value placed on the experience itself, when there is more emphasis placed on completing things quickly and with little cost, how can we believe that men will find value in the thing itself, in the finished product?

    We are often men of average means, of average lives. I am content to buy my food at the at largest store for the cheapest price. I am content to buy my clothes from the sales rack, but should I be content with generic low-cost Masonry?

    If we are to believe our own brochures and websites we make good men better. How do we do this by treating everything like it should be quicker, cheaper, and in bulk? Do I really want my Masonry from the superstore with little thought given to its intrinsic and philosophical values? Do I want my morality in a low cost buy six and the seventh one is free?

    If we practice our own philosophies then kneeling at the altar of Masonry should be more than a slight distraction before we head downstairs for a ham sandwich with generic mayonnaise and fruit punch because soda is cost prohibitive.

    If we practice our own philosophies then changing a man’s life and actually improving him should be thought of as an experience worthy wearing socks that match and having on something more profound than a pair of blue jeans.

    We are supposed to invoke the blessing of Deity before our undertakings and yet we approach our Creator with hurried expressions and a distain as we bicker about bills and provide little or no education.

    The Craft turned into a superstore of membership at one time. We worshipped at the altar of large numbers so that we could keep our dues artificially low and provide some bang for the buck. Then, as the membership dwindled, the dollars stayed low, and the experience was hacked to bare minimum so that we didn’t “waste” our member’s time. Waste their time—with Masonry…..

    The Fraternity can no longer afford Wal-Mart Masonry. To save Masonry we must change our thinking from quantity to quality. It is not about how many men are Masons, but how many men should be Masons. Masonry can no longer afford the quick sale, the PDF petition available for all who might want one.

    The Fraternity must learn to value itself, so that others might see value within it. The tough thing about making Masonry valuable is that it takes effort. Meetings can’t be thrown to together, meals can’t be nuked, and Brothers can’t be raised in an afternoon with no memory work.

    We love to hail Freemasonry as the home of our Founding Fathers….well, then work to make it the Masonry they would have revered and let’s leave our value meal days behind us.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2010
  2. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    THANK YOU, Cliff! Brilliant!
     
  3. dbryson821

    dbryson821 Registered User

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    WoW! Thanks Brother I am sure many Masons feel the same way. I know I do your post hit where my lodge is right on the head. Thanks
     
  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Excellent!
     
  5. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    loved it.
     
  6. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    Very Nice.. and very true.
     
  7. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    thank you Brothers....
     
  8. kilo

    kilo Registered User

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    THANK YOU very much.
     
  9. MasonicLeader

    MasonicLeader Registered User

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    Brother Cliff,
    I would love to post this on my website, www.masonicleader.com as a guest article from you. I am going to share it with my Lodge leadership class which is meeting tonight. Thanks for your thoughts.
    Mike Clevenger, PM
    New England Lodge #4
    Worthington Ohio
    mike@masonicleader.com
     
  10. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    You bet Brother you have my blessing. Can I use the graphic on the blog that someone added here? If you are okay I will put it in the blog article. I love it.
     
  11. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Absolutely :)
     
  12. youngsandy

    youngsandy Registered User

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    Nice article, sadly all to true over here some Lodges don't even bother with the Catechism anymore.
     
  13. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Fantastic post Brother!
     
  14. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    AKA Post Bump.
     
  15. MacFie

    MacFie Registered User

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    Seems to hit a few other posts on the head ay?
     
  16. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Brother Cliff I belong to a lodge that needs to hear this very thing, you mind if I read it in Lodge?
     
  17. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Surely you don't mean the Fightin' 148th, do you? :wink:
     
  18. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    No way us boys at 148 will spend the doe rae me if need be. One of the other lodges I belong to busted our chops for making a motion to spend $200 on new aprons. We took the old yellow ones home, washed and bleached them only to send them to there death. Seeing as they where 30 plus years or older it was there time. Thank goodness a Brother got up after 15 minutes of debate and insisted he would buy the aprons if we stop the discussion. Left a few of us heart broke some do not care enough for the craft to have nice new aprons for members and visitors. You know us though, the fix is on the way. Another funny one was when we asked to buy new locks because you had to jiggle them with passion to open the lodge room door and the old PM told us we need to learn and jiggle better!! LMAO I swear he did! I wanted to ask him if he was the instructor for that but I had long since lost gas in that meeting and had my head in hands.
     
  19. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    You should have! That's funny right there! :lol:
     
  20. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I couldn't take that meeting. It has literally caused me to change my blood pressure medicine. The older guys were arguing just to argue. Their reason was we didn't have any money. This of course after we discussed our $240,000 investments fund but couldn't afford $200 worth of aprons. It was a joke. But we can pay one of them to be a custodian and counselor to the tune of $700 a month. Not to mention our secretary $500 a month and a past master $125 each time he mows. Let just say as Finance Committee Chairman my recommendation to the Trustees is to cut pay to all employees and raise dues to $150 until we can afford repairs on our beautiful building that has not been taken care of in 40 years.

    I told them I don't mind replacing light bulbs in the lodge but I'll be danged if I am going to pay for the light bulbs too.
     

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