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Experiences at Grand Lodge Communication

Well, I was asked to represent one of my Lodges at the 213th Annual Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M.  I figured it’d be fun to go and see what happens, vote for the new Grand Jr. Warden and meet the in-coming DDGMs, etc- which will be useful as I am in line to be Master of Breathitt No. 649, F&AM next year. I am actually Sr. Warden in two Lodges (and Master of none, bada-bing!), but have refused to take the seat in the East in one of them next year- just a personal thing with me, and I don’t knock anyone out there- but I won’t be Master of two Lodges at the same time…

Anyway, having no idea what to expect, off we head to Louisville: me and two buddies who are current Masters.  It was an interesting experience.  Most all the legislation I wanted to pass, passed. Most of what I wanted to fail, failed.  There were vendors selling cool and severely overpriced Masonic stuff.  Lots of suits and aprons galore.  Except for this being a Lodge function (and not for the Shrine), the old Ray Stevens’ song Shriner’s Convention would have been constantly running through my mind.

OK, I admit it: it was running through my mind the whole time…. Except for those all-too-frequent occasions when I fell asleep from utter boredom when I was so excited to hear all the great speeches.

Hidden Masonic Symbols

I was watching the move The Ant Bully this weekend and was surprised to see the unmistakable Square & Compasses engraved on the back of the grandmother’s rocking chair. Now, I doubt that it has some dark, hidden secret meaning to the movie’s plot. And, if it is somehow a secret call to action for masons to start the Revolution– well, I guess I missed that meeting. Best guess is that one of the animators or producers or somebody is a Mason. That, or someone thought having the S&C on granny’s chair enhanced her character’s weirdness.

But the scene has got me thinking… What other movies or magazines or books or TV shows or whatever have little hidden Masonic symbols? Probably not very many, but it would be a cool thing to find them on occasion and I’m going to start looking for ‘em. Lemme know if you find any.

Plus, it’ll give the conspiracy guys more stuff to talk about.

    Square & Compasses plainly displayed on the headrest of the grandmother's rocking chair.

Square & Compasses plainly displayed on the headrest of the grandmother’s rocking chair.

New Lodge Website

I am pleased to announce that my Lodge, Breathitt #649 in Jackson, KY, now has a brand new website. It was designed and coded by none other than yours truly.

Got the approval of the Worshipful Master last night at Degree Team practice, and today it’s up there for the world to see.

Visit the Breathitt Lodge at www.Breathitt649.org

The Grand & Glorious Order of the Hillbilly

Well, paint me purple and call me Martha, I’m a Hillbilly! And it was a blast, to be sure.

Of course, I had no idea what to expect except that it was going to be an interesting experience. Interesting might actually be slight a word to use to describe it, actually. It was certainly a fun time!

A couple of weeks ago me ‘n Miles went over to the Lee County Shrine Club. He’s already a Hillbilly, so he got have the fun of watching me get ‘nishiated.

And a bonus: on the same day I became a Turtle. That, in itself, was worth the trip…

Are you a Turtle?
:-)

West Virginia Mason Sues Grand Lodge

From the It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later dept…

As many Brethren I’m sure already have heard, former W.Va. Grand Master Frank Joseph Haas has filed suit against the West Virginia Grand Lodge as well as the current Grand Master Charlie Montgomery and previous Grand Master Charles Coleman, among others.

According to the suit, while Grand Master, Haas led the charge to ‘rid Masonry in West Virginia of [its] Orwellian, repressive, regressive and unconstitutional practices’. When Coleman came in, I guess he ruled those changes null and void due to procedural errors. Current Grand Master Montgomery evidently gave Haas a dressing down while in Lodge and expelled him. It appears the expulsion was without trial. Haas is not listed on the West Virginia Grand Lodges website as a Past Grand Master.

Links to the new articles are here and here.

Free websites for Masonic Lodges

After realizing that many lodges don’t have websites, or have websites that are barely kept up, I decided to create an easy way for Masonic Lodges to create and maintain their very own website. For free and with no ads.

Introducing…. FreeLodgeSite.com!

Right now, the site has the following features:

  • Customized welcome page and lodge photo
  • News page
  • Full-featured calendar
  • Current officer listings
  • Past Masters listings with pitcures
  • Photo Galleries
  • Lodge links page
  • Lodge Address info
  • Lodge Meeting info
  • Lodge Contact info
  • Directions to lodge

Also, users can subscribe to lodges and get automatic updates when the lodge site is updated. Another feature allows the lodge site editor to send an email to every member of the lodge (that has subscribed) to keep them informed of any happenings.

There are alot more things I want to do with the site, but I hafta first see if it’s going to be used before I spend any more time on it. It’s pretty cool (I think), very web 2.0-ish and all that. If you put your lodge on the site, please drop a line and let me know how you like it.

The site is 100% free for any Regular Masonic Lodge and is not ad-supported.

Lodge Dues

Silence Dogood has a great blog post over at The Middle Chamber about Lodge dues. I personally like the $20 per month plan, though each Lodge must decide what it needs to support itself and it’s programs. I know we could certainly do alot more in our Lodge if the dues were up’ed by even another $20/year.

McMasonry must end!

I just finished reading American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communitues by Mark Tabbert (see more info here). It was a really great read and I do recommend it to anyone interested in American history from a Masonic point of view.

One of the great things about this book is that it shows how Freemasonry has occasionally re-branded itself in the public eye in response to the changing face of American society. That’s all well and good, but one way that current Freemasonry is trying to stay relevant is to pretty much open the doors to anyone and everyone– let ‘em come in and give ‘em the degrees.

If Freemasonry is going to sit idly by and let someone become a Master Mason in one day, well that is just too much for me. If we allow Freemasonry to come to this, how are we any different than any other group that simply charges an annual fee for membership? Personally, when I joined the Lodge it was for other reasons than just another nametag. I’m already a member of Kiwanis (not knocking Kiwanis, mind you).

I am GenX. Born and bred a child of the Eighties. Believe me, I know all about wanting immediate satisfaction. My generation wants everything NOW. But, guys, come on! The very core of what Freemasonry stands for might as well be thrown away if we just allow anybody to join… so long as they have a checkbook.

I feel somewhat cheated that I received the 32° of the Scottish Rite in a single day. What did I really learn in one day? The three months it took me to become a Master Mason were well spent. I studied. I read. I talked to other Brethren. I learned. I understood what I was getting into. And I approved.

My obligations mean something to me. There are Brothers in my local lodge that I would trust to the ends of the earth. But when men can take the Master Mason obligation en masse, I’m sorry, they are simply being cheated.

I guess what I’m saying is simply this: it’s about the quality of man rather than quantity of men. I would rather be a member of a lodge of 10 Brothers whom I know and trust with my life than a lodge of 1,000 whom I barely know.

Scottish Rite Mason and a Steward!

Well, it has been a busy couple of weeks for this traveler. I went to Ashland, KY for a a Scottish Rite reunion a couple weeks ago and now am a 32° Scottish Rite Mason. The very next week we had an Entered Apprentice move to Fellow Craft and a Fellow Craft get raised, all in the same night!

Prior to the meeting getting started, there was some business that neeeded tending to… It seems that the two Brothers who had been appointed as Stewards couldn’t do those roles after all. So, what to do? Well, the decision was made and I was asked if I would server as Sr. Steward for the year instead of Marshal, which is what I was going to be. ‘Sure!’, I said. So another Brother and I were sworn in as Stewards and then proceeded to serve in that capacity (completely without preparation) for the two degrees we had to do that night. Thank God I had my copy of Look to the East in my back pocket!!!

Along with the new Worshipful Master at the Lodge, we are starting a degree team, which is very exciting. Not sure if we’ll have to audtion for roles or if we’ll end up begging a few of the Brethren to help us fill all the roles needed. For those of you ‘in the know’, I’m hoping for Bad Guy #1…

St. John’s Day: Redux

Elections at the Breathitt Lodge #649 were an interesting experience. Not interesting in the way that elections are usually interesting… I mean there was no mudslinging or the typical grandstanding that you see in a typical government election. Still, quite an experience.

The morning had a little contention (but it was that sort of noble contention which we as Masons can tolerate). The evening installation was a public ceremony and my uncle came as a visitor which was pretty cool. I was also asked by the Worshipful Master if I would be interested in taking a larger role within the lodge by being appointed as the Marshal. That was very cool! I get to wear a fancy apron and a Jewel and everything. In the photo of the lodge officers for the incoming year, I’m the guy who couldn’t seem to figure out how to get the apron on straight…

Lodge Officers for 2008

Also, I turned in my application for the York Rite. As we have a Commandry here locally that will be quite easy (well, at least I won’t have to travel). And, I found out about a Scottish Rite event on Jan 5 in nearby Ashland, KY’s El Hasa Shriner’s Temple. So, within the next month I could be a 32° Scottish Rite Mason and beginning in February I can start my path down the York Rite to becoming a member of the Knight’s Templar.

I have to say that I am a little undecided about whether to do the Scottish Rite then jump right into York Rite. I’ve only been involved in Masonry for eight months, and a Master Mason for five. I still have so much to learn of the Blue Lodge that I wonder if it isn’t too soon to jump into any single appendant body, much less two. I dunno, but I guess I’d better decide quicky– if any Brethren have suggestions or comments please let me know your thoughts…