What would you like to see changed in the Masonic experience?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by cemab4y, Dec 11, 2010.

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  1. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Masonry is moving into the 21st century. What would you like to see changed? There are some administrative procedures, that could be modified or eliminated. New ideas could be adopted by lodges (and Grand Lodges), that could make Masonry more relevant and exciting to our members.

    What do you think?

    I want to make it clear, that I am not interested in changing Masonry . I am however very interested in developing new ideas and changing the Masonic experience. New administrative procedures, and better use of 21st century technology, will enable us to enjoy the Masonic experience more fully. We can still be anchored to our "roots".

    The Grand Lodge of Virginia, has a twitter account. My home lodge, does not even have a web page.

    "We live in a world, in which the only constant is change" - Heraclitus, 452 B.C.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
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  2. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Here is an idea, that I have been thinking about for a long time.

    A Widow's liaison committee:

    1- Assemble a list of all of the Masonic widows in your immediate area. All masonic widows, whether the deceased husband was a member of your lodge or not. Utilize the local media and get a press release. Make it a project for your Job's Daughters/Rainbow.
    Once you have the list (names/addresses/emails/phone etc), make the list accessible to your lodge membership. Keep it on your lodge website in a member's only area.

    2- Contact all of your widows in person and by email/phone/postal mail. Let them know that the lodge is there for them. Offer to assist them in any area, where you can be of help. Cleaning out the rain spouts, cutting the yard, driving them to the doctor, etc. Remember your obligations.

    3- Get volunteers from your lodge, to be on a list to be called when needed. Wives, children can assist as well. Inform your youth groups of this program, their members can also assist.

    4- Provide each widow with a list of telephone numbers, where she can call for assistance. Prepare refrigerator magnets, with the lodge phone number, and the contact information for the widow's assistance committee.

    5- Each Christmas season, send each widow a poinsettia/fruit basket, etc.

    6- Yearly, host a widow's appreciation banquet. Offer to transport each widow to the lodge building for the dinner.

    Your widows will be grateful. You will be rendering master's wages, to the deceased brother.

    What does your lodge do for your Masonic widows?
     
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  3. blackbeard

    blackbeard Registered User

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    i'd like to see LESS change. we are all too eager to change things today, imho...
     
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  4. blackbeard

    blackbeard Registered User

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    our lodge DOES stay in touch with all our widows, does a luncheon at an expensive restaurant for them every year. we invite them to all our social gatherings and assist them any way we can anytime they ask. we have gotten together groups to do lawn work for them, brought them food, given them rides to appointments, whatever they need. it is always appreciated and does us as much good as it does them...
     
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  5. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Brother, that is an outstanding idea. We should be doing more for these ladies than the traditional, once-a-year "Widows' Night" and a poinsettia at Christmas.

    My idea is to bring technology into the experience, and no, I am most certainly not talking about playing a canned lecture on degree nights. The Scottish Rite degrees of the early to mid 20th century were marvels of stage production technology of their day. The means to similarly add impact to all of our degrees is within the means of most Lodges. A few lights, a decent sound system, and a PC and "board" to control it could add immensely. Heck, just having music in our Lodge once again would be a welcome treat for most of us. Organ music used to be a staple (I'm told), and there's a Hammond in just about every Lodge room I've ever been in, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen any of them played. I'd even settle for recorded music, if it was chosen tastefully and delivered by someone who knew how to run a board.
     
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  6. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I once attended Fredericksburg lodge #4, in Fredericksburg VA (George Washington took the Masonic degrees there). After the lodge was called to order, and every one was quiet, the auditorium lights were dimmed. A selection of Mozart, was played on the sound system, for a period of contemplation. The lights were brought back up, and the meeting proceeded. I thought that was terrific.
     
  7. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Sounds wonderful to me! I don't know if that would be quite so well received by all lodges however. Maybe some should play some Brad Paisley in a moment of quiet contemplation. ;)
     
  8. Casey

    Casey Mandalorian Premium Member

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    My mother is a widow of a mason. I attend the same lodge my father did. It is a great lodge, and I'm proud to be a member there. However she has had very little interaction with the lodge since his passing, and very little interaction from most of the brothers; several that were pallbearers at his funeral; weekly fishing buddy friends.... not the once a month at stated meeting brothers.

    I think the suggestion by Brother Charles is fantastic, and is not a (CHANGE); it's something that should be happening ALREADY.

    Now that is a novel question though, when someone suggests a change from the actual state; but that change is to a level we were intending to be at; is it really a change?

    I also agree with Brother Kevin; doing anything different just for the sake of doing things different is folly and unwarranted. Masonry has lasted for so long b/c of tradition, if each generation throws too many of their own spices in the pot, it won't be long before the dish doesn't taste like it is supposed to.
     
  9. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Is it change to go from failing to fulfill our obligation to actually fulfilling it? Maybe we're splitting semantic hairs here, but I'd say yes. It is definitely a change, in our behavior, bringing us more in line with the "intent".

    As for change for change's sake, that's seldom a good idea. But when the status quo is failing to achieve the desired results, Einstein tells us that change is the only sane thing to do.

    And I don't think anyone is suggesting abandoning any worthy traditions. In fact, there are a lot of traditions that have fallen by the wayside (dramatic degree work, music in Lodge, caring for our widows) that deserve to be dusted off and brought back into regular use. In other words, change.
     
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  10. mark!

    mark! Guest

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    I'm in agreement that change for the sake of change is not a good idea, but there are definitely things we could all do better, or have our lodge do better to help the lodge itself, each brother, masonry as a whole, and ourselves as well. Dramatic degree work, when done, is absolutely amazing and leaves a lasting impression, I really enjoy seeing it, and being involved in it. Our widows certainly have to be taken care of, and I believe everyone should be in agreement with that as well.

    Technology is a wonderful thing, some are stand offish and don't want to embrace it just yet, but look at what we have here. We have a group of guys here, together, giving and getting great information to better ourselves to better serve the group of masonry. I think a change in that aspect should be that more lodges should embrace it and use it to the best of their ability. Networking is huge, the better we can get the word out of a degree or event, the better the turn out the more we get our faces and names out to the public the more people know about us, etc.
     
  11. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    As I stated, I am NOT interested in changing Masonry. But, I would love to press for some changes in the Masonic experience. We can embrace our traditions, and also move Masonry into the 21st century. We can and should look to the past, and revive some of our cherished traditions.

    For example, Masonry was the driving force in establishing free (tax-supported) public education in the USA. Horace Mann (Freemason) was instrumental in establishing reforms, such as a graded curriculum, in Massachusetts public education. His reforms were adopted by many states, and many of his reforms are still in use today.

    A lodge in Kansas City, underwrites (supports) several educational television programs on Kansas City public TV (KCPT-TV). I think this is terrific, keeping in our splendid tradition of supporing public education, and embracing new technology.

    I would love to see Masonry, becoming more active in community affairs, and our lodges once again being instrumental in the lives of our families. Keeping to our traditions, and moving with the times.
     
  12. preachbarnes

    preachbarnes Registered User

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    What I would like to see in Texas is unity between the Black four letter lodges and the White four letter lodges.
    instead of having a black lodge and a white one I believe that more men would be made better, because each
    mason man can help another because one may have something the other might need; as far as education on how
    to run a business, college, starting programs to help with different issues in their communitee the list goes on and
    on. Just because our skin color is different does not mean that another mans way of doing something better cant
    come from a different race.
     
  13. mark!

    mark! Guest

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    This is something that has been worked on, and hipefully will continue to be worked on until it is made that everyone mason, regardless of color, is just that...a Mason.
     
  14. blackbeard

    blackbeard Registered User

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    it's just a matter of time, the small number of jurisdictions that this is still a problem is getting smaller every year. i'm glad i was made a mason in a jurisdiction that got past this issue years ago, and hope that in the near future this will be a thing of the past for all jurisdictions. i was a mason before i'd ever heard of prince hall masonry and it's history, especially in southern jurisdictions...my first thought was how UNmasonic this is.... a brother is a brother
     
  15. LDSpears

    LDSpears Premium Member

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    I would like to see more things where we all come together. I went to an outdoor raising in Lousiana once where a whole lot of lodges from Texas were invited to come over and see it. They performed the whole thing in full costume with props and the whole bit. It was something to behold, and I am sure the candidate will never forget it. I saw where there was a cave raising not too long ago here in Texes, and I sure wish I could have attended. I bet it was great. Anyway, I think that would be something very positive for all of us. It is too bad Texas is so big because I see things happening that I would like to attend, but they are 8 or 12 hours away. Maybe we could have some things that are strategically located throughout the state where everyone can make one or two of them a year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  16. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    The largest cave system in the world, is Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. It has over 300 miles of underground caverns. The lodge in Brownsville KY, does an annual MM degree, deep in the cave. They use a natural rock formation, as a grave. The production is marvelous.

    There is a lodge in Wyoming, that does a unique MM degree. They load up an entire degree team on mules, and trek up to a mesa, out in the badlands. They set up the lodge on the top, and at sundown, they do the MM degree. 25 Master Masons go up the mountain, and 26 MMs travel down. Marvelous.

    I wish more lodges would do outdoor degree work, and then SHARE the experience with photos and writeups in the masonic press, and on the internet.
     
  17. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Because my career requires frequent transfers, (I have spent nearly 14 years abroad, since I was made a Mason), I will probably never be given the privilege of serving Masonry as a Worshipful Master. Nevertheless, I have been working on a "dream list", of things I would do, should the fates permit me to be a WM some day. Here it is:

    1- Every lodge should be required to have a web site. Sites can be had for free, so there is no reason why every lodge should not have one!

    2- Every Grand Lodge should recognize Prince Hall Masonry.

    3- Every Grand Lodge should host a statewide Open House, similar to Massachusetts.

    4- Every state should have an official Masonic vehicle license plate, issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

    5- Every state Grand Lodge website, should have as a minimum:

    -Precise instructions on how to locate a lodge, and how to petition a lodge
    -A petition form, downloadable

    6- Every Grand Lodge should have a Liaison office- assisting and promoting Masonic youth groups. This office will provide guidance and assistance to lodges towards setting up and running Masonic youth Groups.

    7- Every lodge should have a "new Mason's program"- Each new mason should receive intense instruction in:

    -What it means to be a Mason
    -Introduction to the Appendant/Concordant bodies
    -How to participate in lodge meetings (how to introduce motions,etc)
    -Masonic etiquette
    -How to visit other lodges
    -How to tell your wife and family about Masonry
    -Masonic History

    8- Every Grand Lodge should provide for Masonic education, at the district level in the following:

    -Ritual Schools. Any Mason interested in learning ritual, can attend the schools, and be instructed in masonic ritual, and be given practices and rehearsals.

    -Leadership schools. Any Mason, prior to going through the chairs, and becoming a lodge officer, should receive intense instruction (at the district level), in how to run a lodge. Lessons in parliamentary procedure, lessons in how to run a non-profit organization, etc.

    9-Every lodge should host an annual "county fair", where all of the appendant/concordant bodies in the area would be invited in, on a Saturday. Each organization would set up a booth at the lodge hall. Masons (and the public) could attend the county fair, and learn about the appendant/concordant bodies, and the groups could distribute literature, and provide the attendees with application forms, and answer questions, etc.

    10- Every lodge should sponsor a "Masonic Square and Compasses Club". These clubs would meet outside the tyled lodge, and provide social activities, and dances, and barbecues,etc. There would be no degree work, nor any tyled meetings. Anyone interested in Masonry, can participate.

    11- We need to realize that Prohibition is over (See the 22d amendment). We are all adults, and it is about time, that we brought alcohol, back into our lodges. Nearly every masonic Grand Lodge in the world (except for the USA) permits alcoholic beverages to be served in the lodge for refreshment.

    Some of these ideas may be controversial, but I think we should consider what is happening in Masonry in the 21st century and govern ourselves accordingly.
     
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  18. NickGarner

    NickGarner Premium Member

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    There are some great ideas in this thread!:thumbup:
     
  19. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    One idea, I have been kicking around for some time:

    Every Mason (especially new Masons) should be given a "calling" in the lodge. Immediately upon attaining the MM degree, he should be informed that he is to provide some "sweat equity" to the lodge. A list of callings should be available to all members of the lodge, listing both permanent taskings (widow's committee, cleanup committee), and short-term tasks (replacing carpeting in the lobby). This listing should be posted on the lodge website. New taskings can be assigned as needed (shoveling snow in the winter), and obsolete taskings can be deleted. The list must be "dynamic".

    Each new Mason ( and all of the membership) should be offered an opportunity to select the calling, that he is best suited for. IT guys to the website committee, carpenters to the building upkeep committee,etc. A man who has no particular skill that matches a need, can still serve as an "apprentice", or a "go-fer". If there is no calling that he is interested in, have him come up with a calling of his own imagination. The important thing is to get him involved in something. Inform him that if the calling is not to his liking, he is free to select another calling. If he is unable to serve at all, let him know that it is OK, he can take a calling later. If he wishes to serve in more than one capacity, then that is fine,too.

    The important concept is to let the man know, that the lodge is important to him, and that he is important to the lodge. His obligation to support Masonry does not begin and end with writing a check for his dues payment. This is an important psychological concept. Many Masons never volunteer their time to a lodge, because they do not know how. They do not know where the needs exist. Some are just too shy, to step up and ask how to help.

    When new Masons (and us old-timers, too) realize that they are needed and they should be involved in the functioning of the lodge, their Masonic experience will be enhanced. Instilling a sense of participation, even if it is just sweeping up the floor, is an important psychological tool. His Masonic experience will be enhanced, and he will be a member, and not just a dues-payer
     
  20. NickGarner

    NickGarner Premium Member

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