12 February 2014

Why Scottish Rite?

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

11 February 2014

Hats, pins, titles and medals..

Freemasonry is not a competition yet it asks that it's members work for her rewards. The funny thing is that it asks that you work without the promise of reward, but if you work hard you may be rewarded. So there in lies the rub. Work hard for the fraternity and expect nothing but you will maybe, probably, kinda, sometime be, well, rewarded. You may get a shiny new pin or a medal or apron or a different colored hat. This is where the misguided stray. And when I say misguided not that they came in misguided but that they were misguided. Misguided by those seeking self importance and a sense of pride. Not serving selflessly but self serving. If you work hard you'll get a new pin you know. You'll be Past Master or Past Heigh Priest. Daresay you may get a bump in Scottish Rite and get the unmentioned Red Cap. There are those I call check Mark Masons. It's a play on Mark Masons who are taught to design and make their Mark. A Check Mark Mason joins looses site for "light" and chases titles. Usually because they haven't accomplished much in life or their home life sucks or Mom and Dad were mean to them or they are of that younger generation where everybody got a trophy. So Masonry becomes that thing that place where they can unfortunately due to our lack in numbers, quality and leaders, where they, the under achiever, the uneducated, seek honors, hats and pins over mysteries, memories, friends, companions, skills, stories and secrets. It's sad really that so many of these sorts have come and indeed bounded through the west gate and established themselves and a check list of check marks so they can chase that magic ring and grasp it while riding the carousel of Masonry through the Mystic Camp smiling at the addition of the new pin, sash or badge and not grasping any of it all the while what is really screaming at them. Check.. Its our fault really. We failed them. We promoted them and like "the ring to rule them all" consumed Golum, we didn't see what we promoted and they didn't understand they were promoted as a chance, a chance to see if they could shine. Not promoted for the "next step" not promoted or entrusted for the "next thing" but to be part of the next thing that is a collective, a prosperous self promoting thing where we shine a little brighter because of our selflessness not the sheen of our trophy. Its our doing guys. We need to correct it, not ignore it. Or we are the same that subtly created it so long ago and then we are as guilty when we look down at the post nominals after our name in the program for this evenings event. Once all the checks are met they leave and if they don't get their trophy for showing up they leave and we are still here, still hiding in the darkness of a bright room hidden under a bushel hidden in plain site. Think about it. NPD has more to do with being recognized than being "recognized". That's all. JL

10 February 2014

Freemasonry is not church..

I think that there is a trend among a small group of Freemasons that not unlike those of the past are treating their Freemasonry like Church. I admit that Lodge is a sacred space and I would say more of a formal place, a gathering place, a secret place. Secret as in private, gathering as in together and sacred as in connected. However, the spiritual crowd that is so afeared of organized religion runs to lodge where they can be spiritual and not religious. And what's the first thing they try to do? They try to make it more formal, more rigid, more to their design to replace their religion with "their religion". It justifies in their mind something that I think Freemasonry never was and never has been, a replacement for religion. True its aspects are religious if not a compliment or endorsement of religion but not a replacement. Lodge is not a place to go hide and innovate from their own fear of rules and religiosity, where they do not have to feel the guilt before their God so they can still sleep at night. Thats not what lodge is. It's a fraternity and learning center and friendship maker and Lodge is not one man's definition. Lodge is every Masons definition, not this one man and not you. It's all of us. It's Lodge. That's all. JL