The XVI World Conference Of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges is going on this week in Panama City, Panama through tomorrow.
Most U.S. Masons rarely hear about these annual conferences, even if they happen in this country, and it's unusual to see follow-up reports afterwards to find out how their break out sessions and discussions went. It's a shame really, because they traditionally attempt to discuss items that go far beyond just the usual hand-wringing about membership losses, chasing Millennials or whatever the demographic de jour happens to be, or coming up with a new charity to promote.
Take this year's preliminary program, for instance:
The role of Freemasonry and the Freemason individually in society
The challenges and changes in the global environment in which we live in, make instability the norm rather than the exception. Armed conflicts, violation of fundamental rights, deficiencies in basic issues such as health, food and education, present scenarios for which the Mason is generally not prepared to understand, much less play a role in solving them.
In this context, it is absolutely relevant that freemasons understand what their participation in the issues and problems facing society should be, to be discussed in order to form an opinion and to positively influence a way to their solution within their capacity for action.
Citizen training is increasingly complex and needs a redefinition of education in civic values to achieve a more democratic society with greater social cohesion.
Masonic education contributes to forming people who live in society with respect, tolerance, participation and freedom.
How to integrate ethical and moral values and the exercise of them to enable life in society, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, for a democratic coexistence and mutual respect...
It's a shame that Masons as a rule don't discuss topics at this level in our lodge meetings, instead of arguing over who didn't clean up the kitchen last week or paying the toilet repair bill. Maybe your next Stated Meeting might be a good place to shift the discussion to something more elevated.