Sunday, August 24, 2008

Changing the Guard

I was goofing around with my new gadget today, the new iPhone, and it made me think about just how much our world is changing. Cell phones were the stuff of Science Fiction a generation ago. You might have seen one in Captain Kirk's hand when he was asking Scotty to beam him back to the Enterprise. But no one imagined that not so far into the future...everyone would have one.

Technology is changing our world. We can now access vast reservoirs of information and stream everything from movies, tv, games, books and much more straight through a personal computer that is about the size of a pack of playing cards. The world is getting smaller and more accessable.

It's changing our culture. With all of this information at our fingertips, we're practically spoiled by it. It's educating us, brainwashing us, entertaining us and its doing it because we want it to.

Our grandfathers can barely recognize the world that we, as grandsons, now live in. In the span of just one hundred years, we have advanced from horseback to jet plane. Imagine how much the automobile changed the world. And now just think about what the cell phone is doing.

Like all things, Freemasonry too must accept change. It must embrace the world as it is now...and not as it once was.

This is not to say that the ideals or the spirit or the traditions of Freemasonry must change. Certainly not. Such things are immortal and ageless in their way and will abide the sands of time.However, it is important that Masonry today keeps up with the changing times and modernizes.

The trestle board was once just a circle in the sand and now, in most lodges, it is displayed on a slide projector.

The point is, we don't have to accept that what we experience at lodge is all there has to be to Freemasonry. Why not vote a dues increase and offer something tangible in the kind of lodge a Brother would look forward to going to as often as he could...filled with activities and relevant services to his Brothers and his family?

We need a vision of the future of the Order. Interest in membership is declining and attendance is woeful indeed at many lodges. I know of countless Greek college fraternities that offer more relevant activities than many well worn Blue Lodges. What is going to interest the younger Mason to join...let alone stick around when the excitement after initiation settles?

Face it. The generation gap is huge. There are teenagers that know a lot more about computers than I do. Of course both the older and the younger Masons have much to offer. Experience that comes with time must never be discounted. And the drive of the youth is the very future of the Craft. Both have their part in the Lodge. But they must work together and, above all, recognize the necessities of the times at hand.

How do we organize the potent energy of the new Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts and Master Masons? We need better avenues of communication. Websites for lodges, blogs and the like are a definite step in the right direction. But most of these are run by individuals with a purpose or small groups trying to make a difference. There is often too much red tape in getting any actual work done. And that is just one more thing putting the kabosh on real growth.

Going to church today is like going to the mall in some cases or going to a local YMCA. You'll find a Starbucks, flat screen plasma tvs, retail sales kiosks, a gym, a bookstore, basketball courts, name it! What would make the local Blue Lodge 'sticky?' You tell me!

I think that being a Mason you should be a 'part' of something...not just 'associated' with something. But that means that lodges need to keep up with the needs and the interests of the generations that are going to fill up the seats.

Is meeting now and again to initiate new members enough? The lodge has become a kind of office. It needs to be a meeting place. And, in this day and age, that meeting place does not have to even be in a building. After all, the members themselves are the 'lodge.' Local lodges must reach out to their members. And members should do what they can to support their lodges, their Brothers and their communities.

The Working Tools of the Order will never change for they embody certain and various virtues. But there are new tools the Order can put to good use. Email, Websites, and Blogs count among them. Also among them are more and varied activities, member services and real commitments to taking part in the future of the Order together.

What is required of every Mason is fearlessness and personal responsibility as an active member of the Craft. Vote in your lodge. Make a difference. Make it better. Build it or fix it or modernize it. Remember that Freemasonry is a part of your life and a part of your experience among Brothers and friends. Make it your own.


2 BOWL CAIN said...

agreed brother

2 things

1)we must be more selective on who we initiate, self starters,aggressive,compassionate etc..........

2)usually when an individual attempts "change" within lodge they can receive so much negativity and attacks that the brother usually throws up his hands and leaves for the shrine or never to return.

when change is brought up, comments such as " are you saying we have doing wrong all these years" or "who do you think you are".....etc.....

I do not have the answer,
mine the past, find the diamonds and bring it forth.

that is the meaning of future generations discovering the right.
it has systematically removed it(the secret of freemasonry), and given us a substitute, literally

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Another thought my fellow ruffians, when thinking about freemasonry and your respective Lodges, we need to think outside the box.
What we need when in Lodge are exercises in Brotherhood. That is what I am presently working on for the Lodge. We have specific exercises to make our pectorals bigger, quads or biceps. As well as brain exercises in calculus and word games, etc......

we need to determine what type of "exercises" strengthen Brotherhood, and perfect them and make them available everytime Lodge opens. This is the type of program I am focused on for the Ldge and the Brotherhood.

I will keep you posted on my thoughts of an "exercise" program for Lodge, and I hope to get thoughts and feedback from you guys.
peace out

2 BOWL CAIN said...

I started an article on "Exercises in Brotherhood" on my blog, go and check it out give some input.
Thanks brothers

adn@n said...

a nice work. I've got good knowledge. thanks.

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