03 April 2016
I'm in the financial business. I've been in the mortgage industry one way or another for over two decades. One thing I always tell my clients or customers when we come to a block or a problem where we cannot afford something is that, "math doesn't lie". It is what it is. If you cannot afford it guess what you can't afford it. Basically a certain percentage of your income either based on ratios or an algorithm in a fancy computer will tell you if you can or can't afford it. But guess what? Math doesn't lie but then you have water, and electricity and heat and a novel one A/C. Pay those out on top of your house payment and guess what you're broke. So let me ask you why do we the same with our Temples and Fraternal Halls? Why do we expect that we can turn something around we have never really thought about, thought through or managed. Let me tell you after 20 plus years in the mortgage business let me tell you a secret you already know. 95% of the folks out there have no plan for retirement. So these folks our well meaning friends are paying the bills on our temples and lodges. And let me tell you a secret you already know we have no plan on how to save our buildings. We have ideas, we have speeches we sell things, we try and we mean well but the patient is dead, sorry guys. We invest more money in crumbling mortar I guess because we are Masons. If we invested half of what we exhort for rents and invested that in the Fraternity we wouldn't have a membership problem. In my small jurisdiction if you spent your "already funds" on rent you'd have enough left over for meals, books and drinks and you wouldn't touch all of what you collected and that doesn't include joining fees. Lodges would be flush. And so would your masonic experience. Please think about it. Thats all. S&F, JL PM
09 March 2015
This post has nothing to do with fixing the health of a sickly lodge. Things live and die. Some lodges have buildings and some have none. This isn't about buildings. It is about what is good for the many and not the few. I agree if 7 people show up month after month for 50 years and trade places yup that lodge functions. But it doesn't. It is not about ego, pride or money. It's about love. Do you love the building, your lodge? I'd say you love Freemasonry and your Brethren. Yup mergers don't always work. It is the devil you know or don't know. If they aren't coming now but paying dues yup that lodge functions, doesn't it? Nope. That's all.. JL PM Read Here.. And here..
08 March 2015
I'm going to start writing about this subject in many varied ways as I see it in the fraternity. I do not expect you to agree. I though now have an eye for a few things based on my experiences and positions I have held. So consolidation. I find I want to spend more time doing the things I want to do. Memberships in more than one Blue Lodge becomes difficult in the competition of my time and dollars. I find my time best served in my Mother Lodge and my job has been done in the other lodges where I passed on what I was taught and now its somebody else's time to shine, excel or not. Also I am a proponent of thinning things out streamlining and saving money. That means if you have the membership of 100 years ago you should right size your fraternity. I have had to do this in my career over the last 3 years and it wasn't fun. You have to cut out the fat, waste and bullshit. Those who fight for the sake of fighting gotta go. If you push water uphill you just get wet. We have too many buildings. They cost too much. My money holds up crumbling mortar that is racing me to see who dies first. The building or me. We make budgets in our personal life and we do not run our homes like the fraternity. Stop spending your inheritance on crumbling mortar its not a Ferrari it won't appreciate. We have too many lodges. We have as many as we do because our membership grew. Why have 6 lodges in a town when you only have membership and funds for three? Your grandparents pass away and so unfortunately do lodges. You move on remember them and carry their memories in our hearts and minds forever. When the lodge across the hall has 40 members show up and yours has 6 its time to think about it. The worst part of the obvious is that it is obvious. The worst part of not recognizing it is obvious. Think about it. Ego is the worst mine and yours. Survival is not ego its practical. Check your ego, your pride, your vanity and consolidate or your son or grandson will not join your lodge because your lodge may not make it. Invest in your future now by recognizing your past was bigger than you are now and prepare for a brighter future because you can afford the light and heating bill. That's all. JL PM
09 January 2015
Now before you go off about stale donuts and stale meetings and no value for your money I mean truly why don't Masons pay their dues? I have been in the business of calling, cajoling, visiting, persuading and listen dummy pay your dues business for nearly 20 years. Pay your dues please. 99% pay their dues when you contact them and let me tell you I forgot, life's too busy and oh yeah dues doesn't cut it with me when I saw you at lodge last night, the Reunion last week and in the grocery store the other day. So please pay your dues. This public service announcement has been brought to you by a grumpy PM. That's all..
31 October 2014
I had a conversation with a newer Brother the other day. We talked about many things. We talked about all the things we could do in freemasonry. All the things you could join all the hats you could collect all the jobs you could do and all the places and people you could visit and meet. I guess the question came up with how do you know if you've done right? How do I know if I've done my job. I've been a mason almost 17 years now and have all kinds of titles and have had all kinds of jobs. I thought a minute and took off my 33 degree ring. I have a couple but I usually wear this one. It's the basic one as described in the statutes of the Supreme Council. It's just three bands with no device on it with the obligatory Latin on the inside. A few of my friends have the same design and it's simplicity reminds me of the lessons of that degree and without divulging some secret the simple lessons are service. You are starting over you have arrived where you have started and keep up the good work. So how do I measure if I've done my job. Well the answer to that then became simple if the guy sitting next to me I mentor and teach and learn from myself gets to wear a ring like this some day. Then I did my job. I did it right. That's all S&F, JL
12 February 2014
Simply put. Because. That is why you should join Scottish Rite. Not because somebody twisted your arm not because I'm your membership chairman and I twisted your arm. You should because you don't know. Don't give me the bullshit about Mother Blue or I'm working in the Craft Lodge and then when I have Masted my three degrees I'll be along. Let me tell you and I mean it. Scottish Rite is a good thing because of many things but let me tell you why above all its a good thing. Ready? Its a good thing because you Blue Lodge know it all it lets you know in no uncertain circumstances that there is more out there. Remember when you were a teenager and you knew everything then you got older and knew not much and then a little older and maybe a little wiser? Well Scottish Rite is kinda like that. On a Valley level you will meet more Masons outside the confines of your lodge. You will rub shoulders with the same Brothers you know in a different context and you will be presented with more mysteries and secrets that will set you into a tail spin and you will return to your Blue Lodge maybe a bit more enlightened, maybe a bit more curious and maybe just maybe not so cocky that you don't know it all and maybe this Scottish Rite thing opens your eyes like a gateway drug to notes you never heard and lines you never knew. Scottish Rite is a punch in the face, its cold water after a nite of booze and cigars. Scottish Rite is more. More than a joining fee, cap or ring its more light and you were told Brother Blue Lodge you were in search of "More Light". Scottish Rite is solar power baby. Green Energy to the max Bro channeling so much more to your mind. That's all. JL