Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here's to the brothers!


“We take good men, and make them better.”

This is the creed of modern Freemasonry. Do we really make them better? Does Freemasonry really have that much of an effect? Is it possible to go thru the degrees, be raised on a one day class, maybe even join a handful of appended bodies, and simply be a better man? Or is it just a stepping stone? A beginning to what is a lifetime of education.

Tonight I had the privilege to spend the evening with four of my brothers, two of whom being my fellow founding Ruffians. One was a guy I had only seen at lodge, and one I met only for the first time. We didn’t do anything wild and crazy, like most men our age might have done, left alone and unsupervised. We simply indulged in the pleasurable company of each others insane stories, and our plots to leave our marks on this world.

We take good men and make them better. This saying came to mind as I drove home and I found myself thinking about what had just happened. For one of the first times ever in my life, I was able to sit around, with just the guys, share my thoughts and opinions, and listen to theirs, without having to climb on some soap box, or get defensive and get all upset. We were able to talk about religion, politics, women, and cigars and we even had a chance to play some poker, without anyone getting upset, or rowdy.

Good men. When I looked around the table tonight, watching the faces of the guys, as they tried to bluff their way through the game, I came to a realization. These men that I was sharing my evening with, the men that I gladly call brother, they are good men, and it is through Freemasonry that I have had this chance to meet them. It is through Freemasonry that any of us have ever met. One was a teacher, one a real estate agent, one a bartender, one I don’t even know about, and myself being in IT support. Where would you ever see such a combination? It is under the flag of Freemasonry, that you see men from all walks of life, come together, and unite for both brotherhood and fellowship.

WE make them better. Who are “we”? We are the fellow brothers that interact and befriend the newly made brother. We are the brothers that are there for you when you are alone in the darkness and need help being brought to Light. We are the brothers that help, aid, and assist you in becoming a better man. We are the brothers, that when you are walking down a wrong path, or are living a destructive life, are there to be a shoulder to lean on, even sometimes a crutch. It is the fellow brothers that are the ones that are making us better men. Freemasonry is a place where men who are good can come and associate themselves with other good men, and through this social intercourse become better.

Tonight as we left and said our goodnights, we all took the time to shake each others hand, and also, greet each other with a brotherly hug. Not because we are all mushy inside, but we all recognize that the time that we just spent together, was not just fun and games. We recognized that the time we just spent together was not just another night on the town. We recognized that what we had just done, was not only strengthen our bonds between each other, we had just also added something very important to each other’s lives. That was the gift of brotherhood. We had just participated in an age old event, which brought us all closer together, not just as Freemasons, but also as brothers. I have no doubt in my mind, that if I ever needed anything, I could call on one of these four guys, one of these better men, and they would be there.

Do we take good men, and make them better? Yes we do!

So here’s to you guys. All the Brother past and present, and especially to my brother Ruffians, I thank you, and I love you. ( as much as a brother can love a brother )

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Just Your Dad's Freemasonry.

Who does Freemasonry and all of its illustrious and profound Mysteries belong to? This is a question that needs answering once and for all.

First of all we must consider the forefathers and founders of Freemasonry. Perhaps, as some believe, these early Masons were Knights Templar, fleeing from the fires of King and Pope. Maybe they were only Rennaissance Guilds of stonemasons who chose to take a more speculative and philosophical view of their trade. Whatever the case, we Masons today owe a debt of gratitude to these men for creating the Fraternity that we adhere to as Brothers.

Certainly we must take into account men like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Pike, Estienne Morin, Florence and Fleming... for these such men changed the very face of Freemasonry. And so very many others who have come before...

Next, we must turn to the Master Masons of the present hour...all of us Brothers who are the living representation of Masonry as it is today. Is Freemasonry not in our hands? Are we Fellows not the bodies and minds of the Order...the very expressions of this sublime Craft?
Indeed we are. Each and every Master Mason is, by his Obligation, the embodiment of that Grandmaster...fated lost to the Three Ruffians. And just as that Grandmaster trancends the Ruffian injustices, so too does the Craft transcend the weathering of each of us.

We Freemasons cannot fear and resist change. It is an axiom that change is the only constant in the Universe. Change is life. Therefore, the absolute resistance of change is death. We can only hope that young men, full of life and vigor, will pick up our Working Tools and apprentice our Craft. And we cannot deny that these men will be different than ourselves. The times will make them different...the culture and even their own experiences. Masonry too will have changed and what these men inherit from us will be unique in its own right.

We must not only then accept this attitudes and perspectives on the Order. We must encourage them. Masonry can still retain its moral and spiritual center...its grand virtues and mysteries. The spendor will not differ, nor the Path to it's True Light. It will simply take on the 'dress of the times' and endure in the accoutrements of those who express its most modern design.

Freemasonry belongs to no single man. It is an Abiding Spirit that, unlike man, is not fettered by the bonds of mortality. Freemasonry belongs to each successive generation that weds it. And so in each generation it blossoms anew with renewed fragrance and aplomb.

For all of us today and to each generation hereafter...Masonry is ours.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Take a Leap of Faith! Vote!

Here is something from the 'News and Views of the 34th Masonic District of Missouri' that our Illustrious Brother Tim Couch KCCH had to share:

"Greetings Brothers,

I hope your day has been filled with fresh squeezed happiness and seasoned to taste.

Well, here we are about thirty-six hours away from what is probably the most important election some of us will have ever voted in. It seems appropriate that I should offer some last minute advice or words of wisdom as the clock ticks down to Tuesday.

I've been wracking my brain all day trying to come up with something that hasn't already been said by a thousand different people in a thousand different ways and you know what? I've got nothing. It's all been said.

If the seeming eternity of political commentary and the endless reams of political articles and the constant political bickering and the fluffy white campaign promises haven't done it for you by now, then nothing I can say is going to make a bit of difference. All that's left as far as the election goes is to cast your vote on Tuesday and then hope for the best.

What troubles me more than what will happen on Tuesday is what will not happen beginning on Wednesday. After the election is over and all the hoopla and the falderal have subsided, will we allow ourselves to simply go back to sleep as a nation or will we do what our founding fathers intended we should do from the beginning? We are not supposed to close our eyes and trust our government to do the right thing. We are supposed to monitor our government and insist they do the right thing. We are supposed to be active and informed citizens. We the people are supposed to control our government, not the other way around.

So cast your vote on Tuesday and hope for the best. But after the votes are all tallied and the victors are proclaimed, stay informed and stay involved and insist that your elected officials do right by you and by your family. We have the power but only if we are willing to stand up and use it. "

Bravo Brother Couch! That's the Ruffian Way!


From the 'Scottish Rite Journal' of the Southern Jurisdiction, Nov/Dec 2008:

"At their annual communication on Friday, September 19, 2008, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina extended fraternal recognition to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Jurisdictions. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge, founded in 1870, extended recognition to their counterparts in 2004. North Carolina is now one of forty-one American states and the District of Columbia that have joint recognition."

Good. Another step into the future!

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