by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Rob Walk Jr.
Brethren, we must humble ourselves. If we do not, then we shall risk the disapproval of our Past Masters. The Brothers of the past six decades have kept the doors open for us to practice this Great Craft, and without them we could not possibly have seen the "Light" of day. I was Raised on February 18th of 2014 -- my Masonic birthday. Prior to this I had been researching the fraternity since I was 20 years old -- about seven years ago now. I had resources open to my profane eyes at that time, which are available for everyone who is interested right now. Books like Freemasonry for Dummies, blogs like this one among a great many others, and videos on YouTube which expounded the exoteric meanings of some of the working tools, etc. So, I had some small idea what the square and compass meant before I even petitioned the fraternity. As I looked through these resources, I began to see that the fraternity was deeply esoteric, and taught, through initiation, some of the mystical teachings of eastern contemplative traditions. So, at the age of 25, with the approval of my wife and family, I decided to petition the lodge that I am so incredibly proud of today.
Much to my chagrin, after being Raised, I found that Stated Meetings were nothing but reading the minutes and paying the bills "as usual." I truly believed that there would be papers presented, ideas discussed and great revelations about humanity and spirituality realized within those very walls! Now, I was not completely wrong. There is a facet of these Stated Meetings that I cherish deeply, and that is the feeling of Brotherhood that is to be found *nowhere* else. It is truly something found only here within "this of ours." All the same, many meetings passed between the time I was Entered and continue through now where not a single piece of Masonic education was presented! For this reason I looked outside of the walls of the Masonic hall. My first educational symposium was the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge, where presentations were made by two very prolific Freemasons -- Brother Mark Stavish and Worshipful Brother Shawn Eyer. Both were amazing lectures; however, Bro. Stavish presented a piece on the need to "start the revolution" (my words) within Freemasonry that is so direly needed. Many new Entered Apprentices knock on our doors expecting to be educated and amazed by what it is that is happening within our halls. They don't get the experience, ritual or education that they expected when they came in. The attendants at the Academy were told to go back to their lodges and present this rather "morbid" information. So, we did, and I have.
Last month I asked my Worshipful Master if we could start a Masonic Education Committee within Jephthah Lodge. I knew that this would make Jephthah even more special than it already was -- as we are seen as the best ritualists in Baltimore County, from what I understand. It would give us a squarer edge, a sharper edge, which would bring Brethren to our halls to learn about Masonry what hasn't been presented in this region heretofore. I was more or less met with a "I'll look into it," and "it should be a Masonic Square Club," and "we've never done that before" coming out many of our Brothers' mouths. Coming up with this first wall of resistance as I have I realized something: stay humble. When we present this information to our lodges -- that we aren't being all that we can be -- many older Brothers feel as though they are being attacked. I can assure you that they are not! I have a deep, sincere respect for these Past Masters who have presided in the East over the many years that our lodges have stood so tall within our communities. They have a wisdom and understanding of the inner workings of Freemasonry in America that the younger generation does not have. So, when they shake their heads at our best intentions, have no fear. They are only looking out for us as to what is in our best interest. What must be presented to them, however, is the fact that the ten Brothers who come to our Stated Meetings twice a month are 10 out of 600. Why did these Brethren stop coming to lodge? I present to you that it is indeed because of those missing pieces, those holes in the wall that were so glaring at us as we Entered the lodge via the anteroom.
So please, put down your prideful swords and have a piece of humble pie in honor of the Brethren who have held the doors open for us for this very long three, four or five generations until we came in. There is indeed something to be respected here. Our time is fast-approaching, albeit not as quickly as we'd like. This past weekend the First Annual Pleiades Masonic Symposium was held in Westchester, Illinois. Speaking were some very prominent Masonic Scholars whom you have heard of before. Some Modern Famous Freemasons: Bro. Anthony Mongelli, author of The Craftsman's Symbology; Bro. Charles Harper, Sr, author of Freemasonry in Black and White; W. Bro. Robert Herd, author of The Initiatic Experience; and Bro. Omar Ali. This is the very first of something like this in the area, and something that I personally traveled some thirteen hours to witness. It was well-attended, well-spoken, well-presented and a sight to behold. This, and other educational symposiums like it, are just the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled, and be prepared to be shone the Light, my Brothers. All the while, stay humble and respect your elders.
Bro. Robert Walk Jr. is the creator and sole writer forOn Freemasonry and Humble Pie: a Wordpress blog dedicated to his experiences and journey from being a petitioner, to Initiation, Passing, and to being Raised. A dialysis technician being his main work, he enjoys writing, rock climbing, drumming and craft beer in his free time. He is a Master Mason at Jephthah Lodge No. 222, A.F.&A.M. in Essex, MD.
Bro. Rob, appreciate your frankness in this article, even as an 'elder' (just turned 60). Having said that, I think you did all the right things. I hear many younger brothers complain about what they are not getting, yet make no effort to bring change. You did, and I am sorely disappointed in my older brothers for stifling your initiative. You did nothing more than ask for time- I didn't hear you demand or request they provide presentations or anything other than let you start.ReplyDelete
There needs to be change on both the young, and old mason's parts. The old need to get out of the 'we never did that before' mindset to bring about institutional change for the better. You can't become a better man unless you define 'better' as discussing a new recipe for baked beans at the next fund-raiser!
And for our younger members, I urge caution and patience. In this time of instant gratification and communication, the tendency to carry our 'bitches" to social media is almost getting to the point of being a Masonic offense. Bring your words of counsel (change) to the ear of your lodge, and Grand Lodge leadership, NOT over the internet for all the see the dirty underbelly of our fraternity. Realize that with age comes wisdom, but also realize that many support the goal of making each lodge meeting a time of enlightenment for all.
Thank you very, very much, Bro. Singleton. I appreciate your comments deeply, and will "watch my mouth" on social media. Yes, it is much needed, and NOT for everyone to see.Delete
Brother Rob, I also found Brother Stavish's presentation to be very timely and inspiring. With his urging, I hope others, like you, took the message back to their lodges to have more Masonic Light( the teachings & lessons within the degree work) presented in our meetings. The material is available from many resources for presentations within the lodge & when instructing candidates. The biggest problem I have seen is trying to find someone willing to put the time & effort into presenting it. The brothers who taught me have returned to whence they came. We need men willing to pickup & carry the torch. With the enthusiasm and desire I see in you and other recently raised Master Masons, it makes me very happy to those of willing to take on this task. Like Brother Steve, I'll be 60 this year & have been a member of the fraternity for 35 years now. I'm looking forward to the revival & renaissance of Freemasonry through you, the next generation of our " Beloved Fraternity" !!ReplyDelete