"Well, what now?", one of my instructors asked me.
This particular topic of discussion is a difficult one to attend to at this particular time in Craft Masonry. It seems that on the sidelines sit all of the WW2 Masons that came in, because they wanted to have some sort of social connection similar to what they had in the service they retired from. There is nothing in the least wrong with this. As I've said on other occasions one of the things that struck me so viscerally was the rather deep feeling of Brotherhood I gained upon being Entered into the lodge. There is nothing like it..."this of ours." These Brothers grew up in a time where their particular religions and spirituality came first, and nothing else was to be broached on the topics that may step over that heavy rope.
At the same time, there is the question of why when Masons are Raised they never end up coming back to lodge after that momentous event. The question truly begs: why? I believe it is due to what was lost when our dear fraternity was given over to rote memory, mere socialization and charity. As far as I'm aware, prior to this influx of members there is a "brand" of Masonry that was practiced which educated, developed and helped the Mason to "become a better man." And this "brand" of Masonry included just that -- education.
This sort of education included research papers, discussion, and contemplation of the ritual, symbols and lectures given us in the Three Degrees of Masonry. These meetings were rather solemn events, with a deeply contemplative tone which has been -- please forgive me here -- lost to the blue lodge today. It is my own belief, and indeed understanding (as I practiced many of the contemplative traditions of the East) that were such an environment cultivated and practiced now, many of the Masons that didn't return after being Raised would more than gladly sit in lodge four times a month or more. Their expectations while simply a petitioner would have been satisfied, and they would have become -- given the proper conditions -- better men.
What now, indeed, Brethren? Do you have a part in bringing these rich traditions back to your local blue lodge, or will you continue to suffer the endless pancake breakfasts and stated meetings dedicated solely to paying those bills that come around every. single. month. Oh, these are surely important, please don't get me wrong. However, at a period in time where you don't see even 3% of your lodge membership show up for stated meetings, what is it we're moving toward exactly? I have asked the Worshipful Master of my own lodge to allow me to start a group for Masonic education.