Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MASONIC DICTIONARY ONLINE

WBro. Stephen Dafoe, Masonic and Templar author and publisher, has collected together 26 new essays on progressive Freemasonry at www.MasonicDictionary.com.

A is for Apathy by Bro. R. John Hayes
Boring Our Members To Death by W. Bro. Christopher Hodapp
Charity by W. Bro. Fred Milliken
Dues That Don't Anymore by W. Bro. Nathan C. Brindle
Education: The Unspeakable Masonic Word by W. Bro. Jay Hochberg
Freemasonarian: How intellectualism Rots by W. Bro. Stephen Dafoe
Grand Lodge by W. Bro. Tim Bryce
Harmony by Bro. David Weinberg
Intolerance by W. Bro. C Shawn Oak
Jurisprudence, Masonic by W. Bro. Dan Ellnor
Kakistocracy by Bro. XXXXX
The Ancient Landmarks - Abusing Them by W. Bro. Dan Ellnor
Membership: Where Are We Really Losing Members by W. Bro. Stephen Dafoe
Nationalism by Bro. Jelle Spijk
Obligations by Bro. Steve Schilling
Whatever Happened To Masonic Pride? by W. Bro. Christopher Hodapp
Quality vs. Quantity - "Foodmasonry and You" by W. Bro. Michael Bayrak
Racism in Freemasonry by W. Bro. Fred Milliken
Stated Meetings and Entered Apprentices by Bro. Steve Schilling and W. Bro. Christopher Hodapp
That's Not How We Did It In My Year by W. Bro. Carl W. Davis
Universality by W. Bro. Eric Schmitz
Virtues by W. Bro. Tim Bryce
Asleep at the West Gate by W. Bro. Stephen Dafoe
X is for Xenophobia by Bro. John Hayes
Y AREN'T YOU LISTENING TO THEM? (GENERATION Y) by W. Bro. Tim Bryce
Zeal for the Institution by W. Bro. James Dillman


I'm honored to have been a participant in this project along with several of my fellow Knights of the North. And thanks to Stephen for his guiding, prodding and organizing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY

Greg Stewart, the "Masonic Traveler," has a terrific article aboutSaint John the Baptist Day, June 24th, and just what a couple of identically-named Catholic saints are doing in a non-denominational, non-sectarian men's fraternity.

Friday, June 16, 2006

IN DEFENSE OF MAGISTERIAL LANGUAGE

The Catholic Church is having a lengthy wrangle over the wording of the mass - their ritual, if you will. In the 1970s, a directive came from the Vatican to "simplify" the ritual, namely, to create a new translation that was closer to the vernacular, to the way people really speak and think, instead of the poetry of the mass as it had appeared in Latin. The new pope has decided that something was lost in that decision, that there is worth and majesty in the original Latin, and that a closer translation to its original Latin form would be more desirable, more affecting, more, well, reverent. In short, it sounds like the new pope has at last recoiled from the dumbing down of the liturgy.

Some interesting quotes:

"Folks are finally beginning to see what a banal translation of the Mass we've been saddled with for so long. The new translation is, I'm happy to say, not so very new-many of the expressions are just revivals of traditional expressions that have been used in English for generations."


"We need to give God the best words we can use. Words shape thoughts and cultures. We should not give God second best just to make things easier."


"Sometimes profound thoughts and truths require long sentences and big words," Harden said. "We don’t want to reduce the wording of the sacred Mass to the level of Time magazine. If people don't understand it, you educate and prepare them."


What a fantastic concept.

Pope Ratzinger has put the hammer down and called for a return to higher standards (in many areas, not just the wording of the mass) and more challenging vocabulary. For all those who point to Masonic ritual and call it too archaic, too long, or too complex for "modern men" to be interested, I find it interesting that the Church is taking the opposite view.

They are raising the standards. They are making it more challenging.

Freemasonry keeps making changes in an effort to appeal to young men, yet we keep doing it without asking young men about it first. We say they don't have time to take the degrees individually. We say the lectures are too long. We say the memorization is too hard. Yet, men who are staying away from Freemasonry don't know about those things. They don't know what Freemasonry IS! The young men who ARE joining our lodges are better educated than any generation of Masons ever before. They've done incredible research about the Craft before knocking on our doors. They are looking for something legendary, something mythical, something timeless. These are the men who grew up fascinated by the minutiae of the Star Wars universe and its organization; of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its heroic stories and fascinating tapestries of cultures; of the esoteric discussions and philosophical labyrinths of The Matrix. These men are not looking for fast, easy ways to join this most famous and legendary initiatic brotherhood. And when we rush to MAKE it simple and cheap and fast, Freemasonry loses its value and its allure.

Monday, June 05, 2006

MUNCIE MASONIC CENTER REVISITED


After visiting with Wbro. Tim Brinkmeyer and the brethren of Delaware Lodge in Muncie, I put together a website for them. They have a magnificent facility, and they are so close to Ball State University that I think the students there simply need to be aware that Freemasonry is alive and well in Muncie, and that they have a true Masonic treasure in their midst.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

THE MOTHER OF ALL EA DEGREES!

Last night the brethren of Major General John A. Logan Lodge #575 initiated a new brother in one of the most unique presentations I've ever seen. The room was illuminated solely by candlelight, and the room was scented with incense. The Bible reading was beautifully chanted by Brother Phillip Garver, who is a gnostic bishop and the SW of my own Lodge Vitruvian #767.Prior to the degree, the candidate was placed in a Chamber of Reflection, complete with the proper accessories of that tradition. And Brother Gary Messer, a talented artist, contributed special props, along with a newly painted mosaic floorcloth, complete with a blazing star and indented tessel. For brethren of Indiana, these are all very unique and non-traditional flourishes. For the candidate, they made an enormous impact, and made the evening even more memorable.

Bravo to WBro. Jim Lindsey PM, his officers, members and Past Masters for bringing these elements of Traditional Observance lodges to downtown Indianapolis! Logan Lodge was on the ropes just three years ago, held together by a dedicated but dwindling core group. A group of Masons from across Indianapolis saw the opportunity to help the brethren of Logan keep their lodge, while trying new and innovative ideas to reinvigorate it. Last night they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.