A Lutheran Approach to Ritual Part 3: Principle of Analogy

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Scott S. Dueball



In the first two installments (part 1 & part 2) of this series I introduced a method that I use when approaching our ritual and texts. Part 3 proved to be more challenging than the first two, primarily because our work deals heavily in allegory which is distinct from analogy. Allegory is when characters or events are used to portray certain lessons. An analogy is a comparison between two items which are similar in some way. As such, it would be incorrect for me to elaborate on what the tyrians represent in our daily lives (as my first draft of this post did). Instead, analogy encourages us to look at the ritual themes for modern ways which they may be applied to our lives.

The ‘Principle of Analogy’ asks and answers the question, "Are there modern situations which are comparable to those which are historically portrayed in the ritual?" The Principle of Analogy is applied when you have scenarios from a historic text or texts that might not exist perfectly the same today but we can still apply the lessons to similar situations. Thus, analogy is less about "What can this teach?" and more about "How can this be applied?"

Often our Masonic education tends toward having an obvious connection to Masonry. Many topics either have the word *Mason* in it, are about a famous Mason, or touch directly and specifically on our symbols. In applying the Principle of Analogy we can significantly expand that which is Masonically necessary to teach. What can we be teaching and discussing within our halls to expand our understanding of the world? Topics that may not be obviously Masonic in nature, could present serious value to our order.

Our degrees address relief. What does that look like in 2017? Could we be developing the hearts of our Brethren by evaluating injustices surrounding us: human trafficking, access to clean water, or institutionalized classism. The tools presented in our degrees should enable us to recognize that these are not political issues; they are matters affecting humanity likely in our own backyards. This analogy discourages our participation in divisionary activity and encourages actions which cement all men together in the bonds of Brotherly Love and Affection.

Another example is Preston’s inclusion of the sciences in our degrees. His intent was to encourage both critical thinking and a sense of wonder in the Great Architect's creation. When the lectures were written, many of these topics were revolutionary but 200+ years later they no longer ought to be considered as such. Shouldn’t we be expanding our education beyond basic history to include anything that might expand the intellect of our Brothers? Analogous topics could be string theory, psychology, and Fibonacci. Each of these subjects can be justified through the Principle of Analogy and understanding the context in which the ritual was written. What else does the Principle of Analogy expand our teachings to include? How can we use this to approach the text with new insight?

Next we will discuss the big picture and its contextual role in our ritual.

~SSD

WB Scott S. Dueball is the Worshipful Master of D.C. Cregier Lodge No. 81 in Wheeling, IL and holds a dual membership in Denver Lodge No. 5 in Denver, CO. He currently serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois as the State Education Officer. Scott is also a member of the Palatine York Rite bodies and the Valley of Chicago A.A.S.R.-N.M.J. He is passionate about the development of young masons, strategy and visioning for Lodges. He can be reached at SEO@ilmason.org

Calling Out Success

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Robert H. Johnson




Recently, I was asked along with my peers to write a "State of the District" Report for my district. As a DDGM (District Deputy Grand Master), it's a duty that I didn't think we did anymore. If you look through the old proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, you can see these district reports. I read a few to get the flavor for how they were written. It is the wish of the administration we start to do these reports again. 

So, at 11pm, the night before it was due, I sat down and wrote out my thoughts. I deleted the opening sentence three times before I was satisfied. I thought about what to say. Should I report on each lodge? Do I mention short comings? As I wrote, it became apparent that we as a district had so much to be proud of and our successes far outweighed the failures. I focused on the successes. There was far more extraordinary effort in making the successes happen than the normal circumstances that lead to small failures. So why even focus on those failures at all? I called out the successes.

In the end, I learned something through the writing and revision process. I learned how I view the district and the men who continually work to make it what it is. As we fast approach this years Grand Lodge Sessions (for Illinois), I think back over this Masonic year and give thanks to the seven lodges in our district who've worked hard, through all the trials and tribulations that we all go through and yet still manage to come out on top. I give thanks for my mentors, and the leadership to whom I report, because without them, I wouldn't know what to do.

And most of all, I give thanks to the district team; Erik, Spencer, Mike, David, Mike and Bobbie. These guys have been to the meetings, the OVs and more. Lastly I have to thank our wives, they really do support us and without them, we'd probably suck ;)

Cheers to the best district in Illinois, as PDDGM Joe Santisteban called us, the "Fighting 1st NE". 

~RHJ

RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.



So You Want To Be A Masonic Writer

Part I — How to become a Masonic Writer overnight

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR



Recently when a Brother asked what advice I might have for budding Masonic writers, the question took me off guard a bit. Even though we were having a conversation about a book I had edited and others I had written, I sort of forgot I was a writer. That doesn't qualify as a "senior moment." I just don't primarily think of myself as a writer. Dan Brown is a writer. David McCullough and J.K. Rowling are writers. I am a Freemason who writes. Go ahead… call me a writer. I won't be offended. Dan Brown, David McCullough and J.K. Rowling might be, though.

So when the Brother asked me about writing, my brain had a small geomagnetic storm. I gave him a bloviated answer that meandered somewhere between the history of the written word and a full quotation of Strunk and White's unabridged Elements of Style. I could have been so much more efficient. What advice do I have for aspiring writers — Masonic or not?

Write.

That's it: write. Write until the letters wear off your keyboard. Write until your body seizes into a ball from writer's cramp. Write until the cows come home. When the cows come home, keep writing. Write until you finish the article, book, trilogy or whatever; and when you're done, write some more.

"Writers write," as they say.

So, you want to be a Masonic writer? Here's your first assignment: write. (You probably guessed that's what it would be, didn't you). Go to your next Masonic function and keep your eyes open. Something interesting will happen — guaranteed. You'll talk to a Brother who has an interesting story. Something unusual will happen in the meeting. A Brother will receive his 50-year jewel. You'll find out how the Lodge helped with a charity or you may discover an unusual buildup of carpet lint. Go home, sit down and write about it. Getting your material published is probably a lot easier than you think. We'll talk about that some other time. Meanwhile…

Congratulations. You are a Masonic writer.

~SLH

Bro. Steve Harrison, 33° is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft & Freemasons at Oak Island. Both are available on amazon.com.

Measured Expectations - A Review of Michael R. Poll's New Book

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer


One of the greatest duties I’ve been called for as a writer is to be a book reviewer. Not only does it afford me the opportunity to count my reading time as “work”, but it exposes me to multiple great works that I might otherwise never have discovered. Such is the case with “Measured Expectations: The Challenges of Today’s Freemasonry” by Michael R. Poll, which I only learned of when I was asked to review it.

I have enjoyed Brother Poll’s other works greatly, and specifically his Masonic edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order” has proven an invaluable reference during my time as Worshipful Master. If you have ever read any of his books on philosophy or esotericism, you should have a rudimentary idea of what to expect here.

This book (as with many of Brother Poll’s other books) isn’t necessarily intended to be read start to finish, although you are definitely welcome to do so. Instead, each chapter serves as a short stand alone education piece, suitable for either private reflection or for a supplement to your lodge’s education program. As such, it becomes very difficult to review this as a “book”, and we must instead look at it as a collection of papers sharing the same basic theme.

With any collection such as this, there will be some works that are stronger than others, and some that are more meaningful to you in your current journey than the rest. If I had my way, every single Mason would read the first paper, titled “A Young Man Joins A Masonic Lodge,” before their annual elections. I believe this one paper to be of such high importance to understanding the current problems in Freemasonry that I think it should be distributed as far as possible, and this paper alone is worth the purchase price of the book.

Another paper that I found fascinating had to do with the symbolism and history of the double headed eagle. I would love to see the ideas in this chapter expanded on, as it could almost be a book to itself. My only frustration is that it was much too short, and Brother Poll had to stop the article before really delving deeply into the ideas he brought up.

The remainder of the papers in the book delve into subjects such as music, the history and role of ritual, understanding the culture of different lodges, and a brief examination of the modern Scottish Rite. Conspicuously absent is any discussion of the York Rite; I’m not certain if Brother Poll does not find it an interesting topic, or if he doesn’t feel qualified to discuss it, however I would have loved to see his take on the modern York Rite in the same manner he discusses the Scottish Rite.

“Measured Expectations” is necessarily repetitive at times; as a collection of papers, some themes are touched on in multiple different papers, and each time it is from the standpoint that you did not read any of the previous papers. This isn’t a bad thing, since the intention is to use each chapter by itself, however it is something to be aware of if you choose to read it start to finish as I did.

The intention of this book is to help brothers who are newer to Masonic education find a foot in the door, and it exceeds expectations for that. The topics presented and writing style are all simple enough for a newer Mason (or one who is just finding an interest in learning more) to gain significant insight from, without boring the more experienced Mason. If this book makes you curious to start doing more in-depth research on your own, Brother Poll should consider himself highly successful.

~AT

WB. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at adam@wcypodcast.com. He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!