Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reflections on the Scottish Rite Reunion in Joplin

Greetings Brothers!

I wanted to share a bit of my personal experience this last weekend at the Scottish Rite Reunion in Joplin. My Ruffian friend Dave was on his way though the Rite and I was excited to go with him and spend some time with many of my other friends and Brothers in Freemasonry.

First of all, I think that just about everyone knows how much I love the Scottish Rite. I'm a free thinker after all and Pike's work is simply masterful. I wanted to catch some of the degrees that I havent seen and so I hiked up and down the stairs so that I could keep an eye on the candidates and still keep myself glued to the rituals at hand. No doubt I would have lost some real weight doing this...but Freemason's like to serve lots of food...and that blessing is a curse as well!

They do a very fine job at the Valley of Joplin in Missouri. The temple is one of a kind with lavish backdrops, marvelous costumes and props, and beautiful architecture to admire. The ritualists and the crew and everyone that has a hand in it does a wonderful job and I congratulate them.

I saw a lot of great Brothers there in Joplin. Randall Jones 33* was there to greet me with a warm smile and a hug. Greg Ross KCCH had his family on his mind; as busy as he was, he was thinking of them. "Sid" Rosenbaum 33* was his usual jovial self...singing to the guys in the dining hall and telling lots of jokes; he also managed some of the best ritual work in the degrees I have seen! Speaking of ritualists, Brother Gary Benskin 33* is always fantastic; his memory of ritual is amazing and seeing as I see him in my blue lodge, the York Rite and at just about every Masonic proceeding, he represents a truly rare kind of dedication to the Craft.

There are so many others whom I would love to mention. Unfortunately, I don't know every Mason by name. There are a lot of us! I do want to mention Bart Tucker 33* however. Though I don't know him, he always does a great job organizing the degrees as the Auditorium Director.

I spent some quality time with Brother Tim Couch KCCH. He provided a stunning 25 minute oration in the 30th Degree. I tried to pick his brain about memorization secrets. As forthcoming and helpful as Tim is, I think that I would have those skills if I just had Tim's brain! It's Halloween and I'm watching a lot of 'How To' videos on that subject that they call 'movies.' Still, as smart as he is, Tim's heart is one of the biggest in Masonry. He always offers advice and encouragement. And I very much appreciate both. Thanks Tim.

This time around, I wanted to really listen to each and every word in the degrees. I have been studying 'Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite' for some time now. I can attest to the fact that there is so much to take in that you have to really study it all. And it helps if you can broaden this learning perspective by both watching the degrees and reading the material available on their meaning.

The Scottish Rite rituals are a beautiful and important work. Thankfully, the Scottish Rite yet preserves many of the more philosophical and esoteric aspects of the Fraternity. My only hope is that Brothers aspiring within the Scottish Rite do so in earnest and so truly pay attention to the mysteries and teachings it offers them. Those teachings are from a different time than our Modern Age. They are yet unspoiled by our hapless modern frivolities. May they stay that way!

The Scottish Rite is something very special in Freemasonry. It's teachings delve into the human condition, the soul, and meaning in the world. It is full of patriotism and rests on a moral and virtuous foundation. I am very proud to be a Scottish Rite Mason.

I want to Congratulate my friend, Brother David Caldwell, for becoming a Master of the Royal Secret 32nd Degree and all of the other class members this time around who did the same. Well done gentlemen!

Brothers, I had a wonderful time at the reunion and I look forward to the next opportunity when I can spend time with some of the best guys I know.

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